The maneuvering capabilities of the enemy in the northern part of Norrland were of great interest to our defense planning. Testing these opportunities on the example of T-80U, in the area of our defensive positions, confirmed the worst fears - the cars overcame both off-road and deep snow.
On the last working day before Christmas 1990, a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a fax from the Swedish Embassy in Bonn arrived at the office of the Swedish Defense Service (Försvarets materielverk, FMV). It was a list of weapons and military equipment of East Germany, put up for sale, with a volume of about a hundred pages.
In November, in Paris, 22 countries of NATO and the former Warsaw Treaty concluded the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). In the area of the Treaty (from the Atlantic to the Urals), the parties established such arms restrictions that by the end of 1995 more than 10000 were to be destroyed tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery systems. Germany quickly put up for sale the technology of the former GDR. Sweden did not participate in the CFE Treaty, and therefore could buy some of this arsenal.
On FMV, on duty, on the last day before Christmas, was the head of the technical research department, Lieutenant Colonel Karl-Gustav Svantesson. Fax, for the most part, listed what he had theoretically studied over the past 15 years, while being trained at the army headquarters and serving as intelligence chief at the headquarters of the unit. It was necessary to use the opportunity to study our main threat - the Soviet Union, which had ceased to exist only a year later.
Obviously, the main interest was the tank T-72, but what other armored vehicles to choose to study? Army intelligence offered MT-LB, whose capabilities were relatively poorly known, but interesting, as the armored personnel carrier played a prominent role in the threat scenario in the north of Norrland. FMV sent a request to the government, which in the spring of 1991 of the year made a decision on the procurement for study purposes. The Swedish application (the amount allocated by the government) was significantly less than the amount that the German Ministry of Finance set as the lower limit. As a result of negotiations, Sweden managed to defend the initial volume of purchases, while the German Ministry of Defense had to cover the difference in the form of payment for the results of the Swedish tests. NATO was interested in the patency of the machines around the Arctic Circle.
FMV executives had to improvise, given the unusual purchase and certain turbulence in Germany at that time.
In the fall of 1991, the Swedish delegation purchased five T-72 and five MT-LBs in Germany. From left to right: Division Chief Rolf Enblom, Major Jan Fosberg, Lieutenant Colonel Svanteson, Major Karl Scaremire (Karl Skaremyr, on-site T-72), Engineer Anders Berg, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Estlund (Jan Östlund) and unit manager Paul Holmberg. Karl Scaremire represented the army, and the rest - FMV.
Major Jan Fosberg of the armored vehicles department (stridsfordonsbyrån) was responsible for the delivery of the samples, as well as the planning of their inspections and tests. He was well versed in the Warsaw Pact military equipment, spoke German fluently and had the exceptional ability to build connections and use them to achieve the objectives of the project.
Test and Test Results
T-72 and MT-LB showed a cross in the north of Norrland that exceeded all expectations (or fears). The tests became a turning point for reassessing the threat of northern Scandinavia. The calculation of the impassability of the landscape for armored vehicles of the Warsaw Pact was greatly exaggerated. Also, tests confirmed what many have long noted: the army needs an armored personnel carrier of the type MT-LB, which can provide protection to the now completely unprotected infantry units.
T-72 and MT-LB without preparation overcome the Viton River during the tests for patency in the north of Norrland.
Unexpected information about enemy armored vehicles
The crew of the tank T-72 M1 consists of three people. Gun caliber 125 mm has a separate automatic loading. The car weighs about 44 tons and using the 12-cylinder engine rated at 780 l. with. reaches speeds up to 65 km / h. Tests for patency showed that the ability of the tank to overcome deep snow and swampy places were underestimated.
The T-72 tank demonstrates “self-pulling” in a swamp near the Kalixlinjen defensive line. The log is hooked to the tracks by the caterpillars, tightened under the tank as they rotate, and serves as an additional lug. In the stowed position, a self-pulling log is usually attached to the stern of the tank.
The most interesting was, perhaps, the analysis of the security of the tank. T-72М1 was a modernized version of the Russian tank, which was in service with the 1973 year. The T-72M1 was created in 1982 and had improved reservations. The upper frontal part was reinforced with a 16 mm high strength steel sheet. Tower defense has been enhanced with a special filler. It was a cast from something like quartz sand. Its durability was not much higher than ordinary steel armor. She did not give an impressive increase in security, compared with a simple increase in the thickness of the reservation.
Comparison with past assumptions
To assess the security and effectiveness of the T-72 tank (which received the code designation Hotstrv IV), FMV conducted research and development in its time, the results of which served as the basis for assessments made by the Research Institute for Defense Studies (Försvarets forskningsanstalt, FOA) using computer simulations and test attacks. Now it was very interesting to compare the actual data with the results of these past estimates.
It turned out that the ballistic protection of both the turret and the hull were underestimated (equivalent thickness was 550 mm instead of 480). Also, there were discrepancies in the placement of ESD elements, and a much larger, compared to the model, size of the fuel pump. When the updated data was re-passed through computer simulation, the differences in the total probability of damage (utslagningssannolikheten) were only a few percent.
In addition, it turned out that the regular armor-piercing sabot projectile has a greater initial velocity than previously thought. During the calculations, the size of the corresponding powder charge was incorrectly estimated.
MT-LB had a good passability in snow and mud. In the upper illustration, the MT-LB is in its original version, tested in the winter of the year 1992. At the bottom - MT-LBU.
It turned out that T-72 has a well-thought-out protection against atomic, chemical and biological weapons. Most of the automation was electromechanical (on the relay), which made it insensitive to radiation. The level of resistance to electromagnetic impulse was high (the wiring was shielded). On the inside of the armor was mounted coating thickness of 20-50 mm, which protects against gamma rays. This coating also proved to be an effective protection against secondary fragments in the event of damage by small-gauge cumulative projectiles. Both the total number of fragments and the angle of their cone decreased. The low profile of the tank reduced the likelihood of its overturning shock wave. An interesting feature was the spring-loaded air intake flaps that protected the filters from damage by an explosion.
Also measurements of the infrared radiation of the tank were made. From the front angle it was low, but the exhaust pipe on the left side gave a clear infrared signal. The tank could install a smoke screen by injecting fuel into the engine exhaust tract, or using smoke grenades. Such a veil gave a good masking in the visible part of the spectrum, but had a very limited effect on the infrared radiation of the heated parts.
A container containing an electromagnet that created a false magnetic silhouette of a tank in front of its hull was installed on one of the vehicles arriving in Sweden on the front armor sheet, which could lead to premature demolition of mines reacting to a magnetic field.
The results of the evaluation of ergonomics brought no surprises. The small size of the hull left the crew a very limited space (especially the driver). The commander's observation devices in the near zone had a very limited side view, the position of the shooter was close, but quite acceptable. In addition, the level of noise and vibration in the tank was very high. With the help of a simple modification, it was possible to get a driver's seat for comfort that was not inferior to the Ikv 91.
We came to the conclusion that the car was better than its reputation in the West, but, like all Russian tanks, it was designed to attack, and not to war with defensive positions.
MT-LB becomes Pansarbandvagn 401
Already in the fall of 1992, the government decided to purchase 800 MT-LB in Germany. The armored vehicles department was overloaded with work on the installation series of the Strf 90 Combat Vehicle, on the purchase of a new tank, on the repair and modernization of the Pbv 302 Armored personnel carrier. Therefore, a small group was organized under the leadership of Major Fosberg, who completed this procurement project, the largest, if you count in units of technology. The very purchase of cars with all the accessories required considerable effort, as the condition of the cars themselves, and spare parts for them, was very vague. In view of this, the group required an inventory, which was also not easy, since the army supply system in East Germany had a completely different structure than in Sweden. Among other things, the vehicles had to be repaired and upgraded according to the specifications of the Pbv 401 armored personnel carrier in order to meet Swedish safety and maintenance requirements. Repairs and upgrades were made by SIVG (which in 1994 changed its name to Neubrandenburger Fahrzeugwerk).
Research and testing techniques have shown that it is very reliable, and provides a high level of protection for its mass. The photo shows a rescue version of the tracked carrier.
More technology from the east
Since the number of MT-LBs was insufficient to satisfy the army’s need for lightly armored personnel carriers, the ground forces leadership suggested that the BMP-1 could be used for this purpose. FMV was quite skeptical due to a number of uncertainties. The gun required modernization for security reasons. Due to the age and design, the ammunition also required refinement or modernization. The command, however, insisted on the need for transporters, and was ready to abandon the functioning gun.
In view of this, FMV received an order to order the BMP-1 for evaluation and testing. Five cars were purchased. Their tests were conducted simultaneously in different parts of the country. And in June, 1994, the Government decides on full-scale procurement. The state of technology turned out to be very different. Bonn ordered the warehouses, headed by former colonels of the GDR army, to place all the property that could be used for civilian purposes in covered warehouses. To comply with this order, military equipment very often had to be placed under the open sky, due to which many vehicles were flooded with water and corroded.
For the modernization of the Swedish requirements announced a competition. The best was the offer of the Czech company VOP 026 from Sternberg. She was eager to show what meets the western requirements. The company was ISO certified by English Loyd, and met other requirements imposed by FMV. Although the choice of car from the very beginning looked doubtful, thanks to the good work of FMV in contract maintenance, the result of the modernization turned out to be better than one could imagine.
BMP-1 were repaired and modified by the Czech company VOP 26. Many cars were in poor condition, but went through a high-end upgrade to Pbv 501, which was proudly displayed at the exhibition. The Swedish FMV representative Gert Karlson (Gert Karlsson) is surrounded by the company's translator Vladimir Kvapilova (Vladimira Kvapilova) and the head of the development department, Jiri Teichman.
The Government’s decision to purchase the BMP-1 also included the acquisition of the 32 Tank Bridge Layers BLG 60. And in this case, FMV criticized such a decision. The bridge laying machine was created on the basis of the T-55 tank, and required a system of service and spare parts that was completely unique to Sweden.
The carrying capacity of bridges and their condition has not been documented. The stress tests carried out at the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan) in Stockholm showed that the bridge withstands 85 tons. This left a very small margin for the Strv 122 tank, which weighs more than 60 tons. Usually, bridges are subject to the requirements of a double margin of strength relative to the weight of the equipment for which they are intended. During the fatigue tests, the bridge collapsed after the 996 driveways of a machine weighing 65 tons. Thus, none of the tests were satisfactory. If a decision was made to procure BLG 60, their use should have been limited to strict safety requirements. Positive in this context was that the unfolding of the bridge was very fast and simple, and the cost of adopting the machine into service was unprecedentedly low. In fact, Sweden paid only for the update conducted by Neubrandenburger Fahrzeugwerk. The bridgelayer received the Swedish designation Brobv 971.
In total, 501 machines were upgraded to Pbv 350. However, they served in the Swedish army for only two years as a training tool. In 2000, an order was issued to deactivate them.
Stated above stories given in light of the changing role of the commanders of the armed forces and the FMV in 1993-1994. Previously, FMV, subordinate to the Government, was responsible for the purchase and maintenance of military equipment, and the leadership of the armed forces were involved in consultations. In the above cases, the roles have completely changed: the ground forces appealed to the Government for a purchase, which transferred it, in the form of an instruction for execution, to FMV. FMV managers were informed that all responsibility would also be transferred to the customer (in this case, to the ground forces).
T-80 - candidate for the Swedish tanks
During current work with candidates for the role of the new Swedish tank, in the spring of 1992, the political leadership received a proposal to consider the Russian T-80 for this role. The armored vehicles department of the FMV prepared a question, and established contacts with the Russian seller, Obronexport.
At that time there were difficult times in Russia, and it was difficult to get in touch and get information both from Russian official structures and from companies. The Embassy of Sweden in Moscow managed, with the help of the Russian authorities, to coordinate the visit of the Swedish delegation. However, the agenda remained obscure until the departure to Moscow.
First Swedish delegation at procurement negotiations in Russia
At Sheremetyevo airport, the delegation was awaited by a VIP reception, and an escort with flashing lights to the center of Moscow, where a meeting was held as part of the Council on military-technical cooperation with foreign countries. Representatives of the Oboronprom and several other organizations took part in the Council.
In the course of the shooting at the Kubinka tank test site, all types of ammunition were demonstrated, including a guided missile launched through the barrel.
The next day, the delegation visited Kubinka, located in 60 kilometers west of Moscow, where they were met by the commander of a tank division, General Zuralov (Zuralov). A tank T-80U was demonstrated at the Kubinka range, an option with a gas turbine engine produced in Omsk.
The Russian hosts were completely open: the delegations allowed them to photograph all the details of the tank, did not hide anything during the presentation, and when answering questions. The demonstration ended with a guided missile firing at a distance of 4 kilometers. The goal was successfully hit.
The Swedes were surprised by the openness of the Russians, which allowed them to study and photograph all the details of the T-80U. In the photo - gunner's sight. Bottom left is the AGABA night sight screen.
It was also allowed to examine in detail the ammunition. From left to right: a throwing device and an anti-tank guided missile 9М119 launched from the barrel, a charge and a cumulative projectile, an armor-piercing projectile and a corresponding charge.
A trip to Siberia
A big surprise for the delegation was the proposal to fly to Omsk, to the south of Western Siberia, the next day. The delegations provided the government aircraft with executive class saloon, equipped with a table, a sofa and armchairs.
After a three-hour flight, the delegation landed in Omsk, where it was met by the deputy director of the plant, a man of short stature (about 1 m), but very large competence. According to Soviet tradition, the director was located in Moscow, and we were expecting a few more surprises.
On the way to Omsk on board Russian VIP-aircraft. Above: Svanteson delegation leader. Below: Arms Expert Anders Berg, Trade Advisor John O Dahlstein, Military Attache, First Stage Colonel Karl-Evert Englund, both from the Swedish Embassy in Moscow
Omsk is a closed city in the center of Siberia
Omsk was only recently opened to the public, after many years of total closeness due to the military industry - enterprises for the production of tanks and missiles. In view of this, there were few hotels in the city, and the delegation was lodged in a closed sanatorium, where they arranged a dinner and a very representative reception.
Farming in the area provides a high level of agricultural production. Also, nature is rich in forests, oil and metal, so Omsk is the economic center of Western Siberia. Guests found here some amazing connections with Sweden. The city began to emerge around the redoubts, arranged at the beginning of the 18-th century. Their design and construction involved artillery lieutenant engineer, a Swede Calander, who was captured in Russian prisoners at Poltava in the 1709 year. Participated in the construction of the future Omsk and other Swedish officers. Before the revolution, the Consulate of Sweden was located in Omsk, and Swedish milk processing technologies were imported here. Until now, manual separators from Alfa Laval can be found in the villages. It was a strange coincidence that Omsk Drama Theater presented the Russian premiere of Strindberg’s “Tribad Night” play in the same year (1992).
Theory, inspection and test drive
The next day, experts in various fields of technology made a detailed report. The presentation was held at a high technical level, interspersed with patriotic phrases about the overall mission of the tank. Kondovaya Soviet rhetoric was striking, especially among older speakers. The young translator, who received his linguistic education as an officer-translator of the GRU, translated very carefully, but noted that he himself did not like this slang.
The owners were surprised by the fact that the Swedes did not have in their composition a special driver to test the driving characteristics of the tank. Check in, however, took place. He went to the factory site, which was relatively smooth and easy to overcome. The Russians described it as difficult, and limited the maximum speed - 60 km / h. The car was easy to drive and developed a very good acceleration. The suspension, however, turned out to be more rigid than Western tanks, which was probably the reason for the specified speed limit. Ergonomics was generally good, but there was less room inside than in Western tanks.
The next surprise was a visit to the plant. It was obvious that production had stopped. However, the entire staff was in the workplace. At the entrance to each workshop, the delegation was met by a dedicated master who spoke about his technological section. Each machine was an operator, in front of which lay a "blue" with a drawing of the manufactured part. Everyone was in clean work clothes, everything was cleaned and sparkled, but it was as quiet as in a grave.
After an intense day, there was a meeting with the management of the company, which has already prepared contracts - "How many tanks does the Swedish Kingdom want to buy?" The delegation had to explain the procedure for concluding major contracts, adopted in Sweden, by FMV. Their important point was that the purchased equipment should be tested in Sweden by Swedish staff.
Upon returning to Moscow, another meeting took place with Oboronexport and the General Directorate for Cooperation and Cooperation (GUSK). In addition to testing the T-80 in Sweden, other products and technologies for joint development, such as active armor for tanks, were discussed.
Tank T-80 becomes one of the alternatives for Sweden
Sweden needed new tanks for tank and mechanized brigades. There was a certain consensus that for tank brigades to choose the best of the cars offered on the market, and for mechanized brigades, in order to save, to buy something simpler.
The main candidates for a tank for tank brigades were: an improved version of the German Leopard 2, the American M1A2 Abrams, and the French Leclerc. At the same time, both Germans and Americans could offer as a tank for mechanized brigades machines of the same type, but of previous modifications, and used ones. The French had no such option. Thus, if Leclerc were chosen as the main tank, the T-80 could have become a tank version for mechanized brigades.
To coordinate all the work on the mechanized brigades, a working group was formed headed by leading specialist Håkan Hallgren.
Project manager, senior specialist Håkan Halgren at a training course at the Academy of Armored Forces in Moscow.
During the spring of 1993, several more trips to Moscow took place, the result of which was the signing of an agreement between FMV and the Russian authorities to lease a T-80 tank for testing in Sweden.
For three weeks in August-September 1994, tank officers, and some members of the working group who were supposed to lead the tests, were trained in Moscow. From left to right: Karl Skaremyr (Karl Skaremyr), lead researcher at the Tank School; Per Hallin, FMV Communications Specialist (sambandsinstallation); Ove Jansson, Tank School; Peder Borg, Tank School; Rune Gustafsson, representative of Oboronexport in Sweden; Jan Svensson, Tank School; Hans Friedén, FMV Weapons Specialist; Jerry Viskary FMV; Karl-Gustav Bartol (KG Bartoll), Tank School; Anders Sandmark FMV; Håkan Halgren, FMV Project Manager; Mats Juleen (Mats Juhlin), FMV; Lars-Eric Svensson (Lars-Erik Svensson), Tank School; Rolf Enblom FMV Service Specialist
The most "cool" tank of the enemy arrives in Sweden
When, in 1993, in Sweden, for the tests before the purchasing decision for the mechanized brigades, two copies of the famous Russian T-80U tank arrived, for many it was an unusual impression.
T-80U had a crew of three. He was armed with an 125mm gun with automatic loading and separate shots. The car weighing in 46 tons was equipped with a gas turbine engine with an output of 1250 l. with. and developed the speed of 70 km / h. The T-80U was tested from October 1993 to January 1994, primarily at the Armored Vehicle Center in Skövde.
In January 1994, the Government decided that the Leopard 2 would become the main battle tank in Sweden. For mechanized brigades in Germany were rented, at a low price, used Leopards 2А4. In view of this, the tests of T-80U were stopped, and in March they were sent back to Russia. Most of the tests, which were not performed due to the suspension of tests, included checking the ballistic protection of the tank with shelling, checking the accuracy of the main cannon, and operational analysis.
The results were very useful and interesting:
Trials have become a significant event even at the international level. After all, it was the first time that Russian heavy weapons were demonstrated in the West.
Many were disappointed that the tests had to be stopped before all the capabilities of the machine for attack and defense were studied. The project manager attempted to oppose the cessation of testing, but realized that the decision was made at the highest level when the FMV Ground Forces Supply Officer, Major General Perkut Green said: "Hokan, there are times when you need to respond" General! "
Svenskt Pansar - 90 år av svensk stridsfordonsutveckling
© Rickard O. Lindström, Carl-Gustaf Svantesson och Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Biblioteks Förlag, 2009
© Rickard O. Lindström, Carl-Gustaf Svantesson och Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Biblioteks Förlag, 2009