Tank, which we did not wait: The last myth of the defense industry
This year, Russia stood at the tank crossroads. The military leadership, through the mouths of its representatives of the highest rank, announced that it not only puts an end to the existing project of a new generation tank, but also stops the purchase of existing models of vehicles. A new tank, of course, will be. But not now.
The motives of the Ministry of Defense are very succinctly marked, but generally understandable. 1 July this year, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Anatoly Serdyukov said: “We met with the designers, who presented us their projects. Sixty percent of this is old work, so we have so far refused these offers. ”
Today, the army wants to spend money on products of the modern level - up to the rejection of domestic weapons and the purchase of foreign. The purchase of the UDC “Mistral” and even the ideas put forward (as it was said later, in a polemical enthusiasm) about purchasing German “Leopards” instead of T-90 completely fall into this outline. Also, the military is not satisfied with the high price of new models of armored vehicles offered by the Russian military industrial complex.
Cramped in old frames
We asked Vasily Kirillovich Kopytko, Major General of the Reserve, Doctor of Military Sciences, Professor, Chief Researcher of the Research Center of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Defense Ministry to comment on the situation. “Of course, a new tank is needed,” he explains, “but we must understand that its creation will require huge funds. If we talk about the course on the modernization of the existing fleet, the problem is that the modernization potential of the T-72 tank is almost exhausted. The existing modifications of the T-90 are in fact the very limit to which the seventy-second could be developed. Of course, some important improvements can be made: for example, to improve the fire control system, to equip the machine with a friend-to-others identification system, which is not yet on our tanks. We need a good night vision system - and now the latest T-90 modifications have French-made thermal cameras. You can improve communication equipment, put the GLONASS device ... But there are basic flaws that cannot be eliminated within the existing models. One of them, for example, is that the crew is in the fighting compartment along with the ammunition, which drastically reduces the chance of survival if a vehicle is damaged. Another drawback of our tanks is their small size. On the one hand, this is good - less weight, less chance of hitting. But the reverse side of these advantages was the very difficult conditions for the crew, especially felt in the long marches and long hostilities. ”
The current confrontation between the Ministry of Defense and the military industrial complex dates back to Soviet times, when the military industrial complex acted largely as an independent force and the army was forced to adopt not the equipment that was ordered to it, but the one that the military industrial complex offered. Today, the military would like to change the situation and make the defense industry fulfill their orders, rather than trying to sell them something that was created according to their own understanding and often based on outdated technologies. The struggle between the army and the military industrial complex led, in particular, to the fact that the secret object “195”, which caused such great interest in the publish, the T-95 tank, will probably remain forever in the form of drawings and prototypes.
What could he be
The project "Improvement-88", also known as "Object-195", also known as the main battle tank T-95, was developed under the cover of high secrecy in Nizhny Tagil UKBTM, and even after the topic was closed, representatives of our main tank forge, Uralvagonzavod, flatly refuse discuss the details of this project, and indeed everything related to the tank theme. Probably, because in 2015, the appearance of a new tank on the Armata universal tracked platform is planned and it is supposed to use the best practices of both the T-95 and another secret project of the promising Black Eagle tank. However, some information and even not very high-quality photos of prototypes became available to the general public.
The main innovation of the promising tank was the modularity of the design, in which the tower turned out to be uninhabited and free of ammunition, while the ammunition was entirely inside the hull. To protect the three-person crew from a dangerous neighborhood with ammunition and a sealed fuel tank, tank crews were supposed to be placed inside an armored capsule installed in the nose of the hull. As the main armament of the tank, it was decided to use a smooth-bore cannon of caliber 152 mm, also provided for the installation of an additional automatic 30-mm cannon.
The swiftness and maneuverability of the tank should have been provided by an X-shaped diesel engine with an 1500 horsepower, coupled with a hydromechanical transmission. New adaptive suspension improves the smoothness of the combat vehicle.
The fire control system was supposed to be built on the basis of multi-channel - information had to be received simultaneously via optical, thermal imaging, radar channels and synthesized. Paying tribute to the “network-centricity” that is vital today, the machine was intended to be built into the ACS of the tactical control echelon, which could significantly improve the interaction of armored vehicles, infantry and aviation as part of ground forces.
Project T-95 went much further drawings. 15 July 2010 of the year at the exhibition "Defense and Defense" held a demonstration of the prototype of the promising MBT T-95 for a specially selected circle of people. How impressed were those present история he is silent, but as it turned out, the T-95 is not something that the army is willing to spend money on.
Ok dear little
“Although the project is closed,” says Vasily Kopytko, “but the basic ideas put in it are correct. Surely in the future tank of the next generation - it will be called “Armata” or otherwise - these ideas will be embodied. In past times - the times of huge tank armies, it was required that the tank was simple, but unpretentious in repair and maintenance and suitable for mass replication. The best example of such a tank is our T-34. Now we are faced with other realities, in which it is more correct to create not “what is simpler”, but very good tanks. Let them be expensive, let them be a little, but let them be. In such tanks, it is important to have an optimal combination of combat effectiveness with means of protection against ATGM, anti-tank grenade launchers and strikes from the upper hemisphere, which is especially important in connection with the development of anti-tank air-based weapons. "
Reach the front edge
Some are inclined to associate the current tank crossroads not only with economic and technological conditions, but also with some crisis in understanding the role of tanks in future battles. In the epoch of “contactless war”, many people see a picture of military operations in which tanks will be destroyed by effective anti-tank weapons from the ground and from the air even before they reach the leading edge. As one of the proofs of this reasoning, a large number of Soviet-made armored vehicles, lost by Iraqi troops during the second American-Iraq war, are cited. On the eve of the final closure of the T-95 project, expert articles appeared in print that predicted a promising Russian tank had a sweet future on a modern battlefield. The types of modern ammunition that are believed to easily cope with the armor and dynamic protection of the T-95 were listed. Has the shell finally defeated the armor?
Vasily Kopytko categorically disagrees with the fact that in the modern war the role of the tank is reduced to a convenient target: “What is a“ contactless war ”? This is not a very correct term denoting a situation where one adversary strikes without entering the opposition zone of another. This was the case in Iraq, when, for example, attack helicopters could strike ATGMs at tanks from a distance of 5000 – 6000 m, while remaining invulnerable. But this is not the fault of the tanks: the reason for such an easy shooting is the lack or absence of air defense. Whatever means of protection a tank may possess, it cannot be regarded as an autonomous means of warfare - it must necessarily act in conjunction with infantry, air defense systems, and front aircraft. There is, for example, the well-known development of "Uralvagonzavod" - BMPT (tank support combat vehicle). We can recall the ill-fated assault on Grozny, when federal troops lost many tanks on the streets of the city. But these vehicles were left without infantry support, and they became easy prey for militants hiding in the surrounding buildings. Blame in this situation, again, not the tanks, but the people who used them illiterately and ineptly. But another example is the hostilities of a multinational coalition in Afghanistan. It would seem that a small war without a solid front line. Here, the expanse of lightly armed special forces. However, the Canadian contingent recently requested tanks in support. Be that as it may, with modern weapons there are no means that would provide more reliable protection for people than tanks. The main tasks of tanks in modern conditions will largely remain the same: the defeat of the enemy, armored vehicles, fortified positions, defensive structures. Now in the press there is a widespread opinion that a modern tank should only defend itself. I categorically disagree with this - he must be good both in defense and in offensive, and, if necessary, in a counter battle. ”
Do not rely on the weak
In fact, the fate of the development of tank building in Russia depends largely on what kind of conflicts we are preparing for. Do we need a high-tech tank at the level of the best world standards, if we bear in mind, for example, the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008 of the year? After all, the existing tank park was enough for victory in the conflict of such a level and scale of the Russian army. “We should not expect that we will always fight a weak adversary,” responds Vasily Kopytko. - Equipment and weapons must be developed with the expectation that they will have to fight at least with equals. Now we often hear opinions about the high combat capabilities of the American army, which is compared with ours and, naturally, not in our favor. But it must be understood that America is also demonstrating its power on the weak, on those who can be shot at, like at the testing ground, with virtually no risk of being hit back. How the same technique will operate with serious resistance is a big question. ”
Let the future judge whether those who "rejected" T-95 were right or wrong. But it is truly disturbing that the history of the promising machine, developed in Nizhny Tagil, painfully resembles other stories that are so characteristic of post-Soviet Russia. I remember the tank "Black Eagle", designed in Omsk transport engineering design bureau and served at one time as a world-class achievement, and the Clipper spacecraft, whose mock-up was carried by air showers for several years before it was announced that it would never fly, and promises to make a passenger plane from scratch, which - once! - and shut up for the belt of the creation of the world air grandees. Almost always another megaproject, which is advertised as a domestic breakthrough into the future, has either zero or more modest output than promised. And this again leads to a sad thought: to implement large-scale and innovative engineering projects in the new Russia, alas, have not yet learned.
The project of the main battle tank T-95 It was created in the Ural KB of the mechanical engineering under the cover of high secrecy, so that information about its intended appearance was scant and controversial. Based on this data, 3D designer Dmitry Sayapin created a computer model T-95, with images of which we illustrated this article
New tank T-99, or the unified heavy platform “Armata”, “Uralvagonzavod” is going to release by the year 2015. This new version of the Russian generation 4 tank is said to inherit the best achievements of the Black Eagle and T-95 projects, but it will be easier and cheaper at the same time.
Black Orel (Russia) Previously, hopes for the creation of a promising tank in Russia were associated with the development of the Omsk transport engineering design bureau, the 640 Object (in the press it was often referred to as the Black Eagle tank). The concept of this machine is somewhat similar to the idea of the T-95, in any case, the gun turret there was also thought uninhabited (in a combat position). The crew was placed inside the hull divided into three longitudinal hermetic compartments, with the latter being placed under the fuel tanks, and the control compartment was located in the central one. The project was developed in 1990-x, now it is remembered in connection with the promising "Armata"
FV4034 Challenger 2 (UK) The main British battle tank Challenger 2 entered service in the 1998 year. In the 2000-x, within the framework of the survivability program (CLIP), the L30A1 rifle cannon on the 120 mm was replaced by the Rheinmetall L55 smooth-bore gun on all tanks on all tanks. In the entire history in battle only two Challengers were lost, another one was shot down by friendly fire.
Abrams (USA) The latest modification of the main battle tank of the US Army is called M1A2SEP (2000 year). Recently, the so-called City Tank Survival Kit (TUSK) was developed for the Abrams, which is connected with the need to protect the combat vehicle in urban operations; in particular, added additional anti-cumulative screens
Leopard 2 (Germany) The last modification is called Leopard 2A7 +, it was presented to the public a year ago at Eurosatory-2010. The tank was reinforced with modular armor, circular RPG protection, and measures were taken to increase the crew’s situational awareness. The new modification may be involved in high-intensity conflicts, but it is also adapted to combat in the city.
Leclerc (France) The French main battle tank Leclerc (in service with 1992 of the year) gained fame as a very high-tech machine thanks to a computerized fire control system. Unlike most Western tanks and the example of Russian, Leclerc is equipped with an automatic loader.
BMPT - tank support combat vehicle - another Uralvagonzavod project. The BMPT is intended for the effective suppression of enemy personnel, equipped with grenade launchers, anti-tank complexes, and small weapons. On the armament of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation the car was never adopted.
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