Illustrations, as well as signatures to them, are presented by A. Khlopotov.
-Sergey Alexandrovich, in your opinion, will the “Armata”, which will be presented at a closed show in Nizhny Tagil, be a revolution in tank design? Or will we again "beat the tails" and catch up with the West?
-I ended my service at the Automobile Armored Office in 2003. By this time the type of Russian armored vehicles was created. At the exit was a T-95 tank on the theme “Improving -88”. At the exit was a group of light armored tracked vehicles of the BMP type of various modifications. At the exit was a group of armored personnel carriers: the BTR "Rostok" and the upgraded BTR-70 and BTR-60. And, it would seem, everything went to the finish line. We showed the public new tanks "Black Eagle" and "Golden Eagle".
-Yes, "Berkut", at the Omsk plant. These were the prototypes that I started to create a competitive spirit, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to divert attention from the main work “Improvement -88”, which was conducted on “Uralvagonzavod”.
And at the Kharkov Tank Plant they developed new Boxer and Hammer machines. There was a rendered high-caliber gun 152 mm, chassis as on the T-64, boxer engine with a capacity of one and a half thousand horsepower. True, the crew was placed in the usual way. But in the Kharkov machine there were former disadvantages of the T-64. Very complex loading mechanism, tight layout.
The disadvantage of our tanks was that shells were placed in the center of the machine, in the automatic loader. It turned out the least protected place: 60 mm side armor and the center of the target. After all, the enemy always marks the center of the car. This was clearly manifested in Chechnya, when our RPG-7, at close range, beat the center and detonation of ammunition, complete destruction of the tank and the death of the crew. It just blows it to pieces.
Tank "Object-195" on the test site
Therefore, it was decided to enter a completely new type of design, which was implemented on the "Improvement-88". The prospective T-95 tank had portable armament and a separate crew capsule located in front of the hull. All processes, including the control of the course and the organization of the shooting, were automated.
The radar detected enemy targets at a distance of 10 km. The range of the missile, as a means of high-precision destruction, more than 5 km. Shooting a gun at a distance of 3 thousand meters using "technical vision".
The machine was a very powerful structure. And most importantly, she had a very high stock of engine power. In spite of the fact that the weight was within 52-58 tons, on the move, during 10 seconds, it reached a speed of up to 70 km / h. So was competently designed suspension and chassis.
- There were seven rollers?
- Seven rollers. The course was smooth and the suspension ratio is very high. The suspension was so soft that from the shot it went like on water. We had to make changes to the design of the shock absorbers to remove these vibrations. Very comfortable position was the driver's mechanic - the floor is recumbent. Management push-button, easier than the American "Abrams". I myself, personally, drove T-95 for three hours through a snowy forest, trying to plant, get a push in the ass, and I did not succeed.
Our cars have always had problems with ergonomics and comfort. And in the T-95- there was a very high level of comfort. The crew was placed linearly. Shoulder to shoulder. On the left is the driver mechanic. In the middle is the commander, and to the right is the gunner of the gun. The commander and driver mechanic could replace each other.
-And not close to them? Enough space?
- Enough, how! Machine width - 2 centimeters 30. They sat on the couch. And between the elbows there was still a distance of 20 centimeters. Ergonomic chairs, well, management does not require any physical strength. All on joysticks. I did not see such comfort as in this car, not in one car of the world. I drove the Abrams and the driving feeling of the T-95 was more comfortable than from the Abrams and Leopard.
In this case, the fire power of this machine was very high. I will not talk about the rocket, it was unique. A piercing projectile punched (...) cm of homogeneous armor.
Experimental installation of 152-mm gun 2А83 on the gun of the B-4 howitzer. Polygon STIM
Of course, the car is expensive. Only highly qualified specialists could work on it. It was assumed that this should be contract. Although, could teach and the draft. There was a very high quality on-board machine, which completely determined the state of all components and assemblies using 60 parameters. And immediately issued a warning. Any malfunction, and on the screen of the mechanic - the driver pops up a note saying that this and that should be done.
- Was the whole crew in a capsule? Probably, behind such armor, the tankers felt invulnerable?
-They were in a capsule that was mounted in an armored case. The capsule separated the crew from the compartment where the ammunition was. And it gave a special sense of security. The French conducted special studies and found that the effectiveness of the crew in heavy vehicles is three times higher than in light armored vehicles. Because in a heavy car the crew feels invulnerable.
“But it’s not enough to save the crew, you still need to protect the ammunition.
-Ammunition security was also very high. Moreover, there extinguishing panels were provided. If something was happening - the kick panel was knocked out, but since there were no people there, it could be afforded, and it saved the car. She could be restored.
But with such a "ship" caliber there should have been a small ammunition?
The ammunition on the T-95 was 40 ammunition, just like on conventional machines.
-And the engine? In such a large tank and the engine must be very powerful.
-H-shaped engine. Of course, there it was possible to provide for the placement of both the gas turbine and boxer engines. But we decided to refine our X-shaped diesel. Power and a half thousand horsepower. There was a problem with the fuel supply, problems in relation to heat load. But these issues were resolved by our Chelyabinsk plant. The 15 engines were released, and the operating time was within 1000 hours.
Many have noted the unusual appearance of the T-95. Unlike other Russian tanks, it was very tall.
-Our military can not get rid of the idea that the machine should be squat. But that was when there were no guided projectiles. And now. If a guided projectile flies on a mass of metal or on heat, it will find an equal target, even if it lies on the ground.
-It is believed that at that level of electronics, the problem of “technical vision” could not be completely resolved.
- Of course, there would be some problems when operating the machine. Take the T-80. Now T-80 is an absolutely reliable machine. And at first, everyone was from her, as she was unreliable. And on the T-95 there could be such problems. But I am clearly confident that, thanks to the rapid development of technology, these shortcomings would be eliminated.
- The main thing is that a completely new version of the design was found. You said that T-64 was different from T-62, just like T-55 was different from T-34, and T-34 was different from BT-7. And the T-95, it was a new high-quality technical race.
“And how did the Ministry of Defense handle this revolutionary tank?”
-It was planned, in 2005, to complete state tests and put it into a series. In the first year they had to make 100 machines, then 300 machines. This is ahead of the development of the world tank building years on 15. Two years ago, at an exhibition in Paris, I saw the layout of the Leopard, in which German designers tried to somehow replicate the T-95 to accommodate the crew, ammunition and the gun and the elements of technical vision. But it was just a layout.
-And we already had a new generation car in metal.
-And we have two samples of T-95 already departed 15 thousand. Km. And the gun has already made 287 shots. The tank was ready. It was necessary to create a third option, conduct a full-scale revision, based on the first and second samples, and on the third option, conduct state tests, make some changes and launch the series. And we would have the best tank in the world.
- But what happened? Why abandoned the finished T-95 and opened a new work on "Armata"?
- What happened is difficult to explain. I was at one of the meetings of the military-industrial commission, when the customers spoke, and Nikolay Yershov was the head of the Main Automobile and Armored Directorate, I told them that in order to finish this car, one more tank had to be made, to spend about 500 mln. rubles,
Well, this is not fantastic money.
- Yes, they stayed, this money. The creation of T-95 was not allocated a lot, total 2.2 billion rubles. And when I left, we had 700 million left. 400 million to make a third car and 300- for state tests.
But, I was objected that the machine is structurally too complicated and it will not be mastered and will be very expensive. And I said: “Yes, it is expensive and complicated, but now you will not spend 700 millions of rubles, but much more, simplify the specifications and make the car. Which class will be lower. " So I said: "You will make a bastard."
What is now being done with “Armata” - I do not know. But I think chief designer Andrei Terlikov will try to drag all the best from the T-95 into Armat.
-Walked that for display in Nizhny Tagil, they would take apart the T-90 MS "Tagil" and put a new combat module on its six-base base.
Yes, there should be no problems with the case. After all, the experience gained enormous. I came to the head of the cupola in 1996 year. This car was in draft design stage. I declared myself the leader of this project. He began to personally hold the advice of chief designers. There was little money. The stomach was empty, and the head worked well. But when there was more money, the head began to work worse.
“And now, on an empty stomach, the Ural designers made the T-95 and made a revolution in tank building, and the heavy universal tracked platform“ Armata ”will be such a breakthrough?
-I do not know this. I cannot blame Armata, but I will not exaggerate the importance of this development.
Likely view of a promising T-14 tank based on the Armata TGUP
-It is known that on the "Armata" will not be installed 152 mm, and 125 mm gun. Why do you think the designers went for the deliberate reduction of firepower?
- The reason is the difficulty of manufacturing large-caliber tank guns. The first 152 mm cannon exploded on the 86 shot. We could not understand the reasons for a long time. It turns out that internally the pressure increased to 7 500 atmospheres, while other tanks had 3000. The aggressiveness of the powder and the initial speed are very high. And we began to change the thickness of the walls of the trunk, that would change the amplitude of oscillations of metal. And came out on 280 shots. And the projectile of this caliber is a very complex product. And so, apparently decided to take the old proven design.
Former GABTU chief Alexander Galkin warned: “If you give up on the 152 mm gun, the whole idea will fail!”. After all, the Americans, in stock is 140 mm tank gun. They will simply modernize and install a new weapon on the Abrams. The 125 mm gun makes this machine (“Armata”) uncompetitive on the battlefield under any circumstances. And the 152 mm gun must be on a new car necessarily!
- Does the designers take a step back when creating “Armatu”?
-Creating T-95, we went to a new class of car. Unfortunately, it is lost. The paradox is that “Armata” will need to be dragged by characteristics to the level of “Improvement-88”. But the enemy is not in place.
-Do you think “Armat” will be worse than T-95?
-Well, of course, it will be worse than "Perfection-88". I think so. But the new just does not come. It was necessary to squeeze all the will into a fist and bring the T-95 to mind. In the 2005 year, we could actually begin to release a new tank. It is now -2013 year. Eight years have passed!
“And yet, why didn't the T-95 be adopted?” Why put an end to the already finished best tank in the world? Why undertook a new, dubious development work? Could it be money? After all, KB lives by development?
- Forgive me, Lord! It seems to me that there are only personal motives. I wanted Ershov to become an outstanding tanker. I warned him: "You will be kicked out in a year!" And so it happened.