For well-known reasons, at present, the special attention of specialists and the general public is attracting further development tanks. Announcement News about plans to create one or another project becomes a cause for excitement, and the appearance of a new model can become a real sensation. In recent months, one of the main issues for discussion in the field of armored vehicles is the latest Ukrainian project of the Tirex main tank.
The existence of the new project “Tirex” (T-Rex, short for Tyrannosaurus rex) became known in early April of this year. The Ukrainian edition of Defense Express reported on ongoing work to create a promising main battle tank, which is a deep modernization of one of the existing machines. In the framework of the new project, it is proposed to use some new ideas for Ukrainian tank building that will allow to solve a number of major problems. The development of the project is carried out by the engineering group “Azov”, some of whose employees previously worked at leading defense industry enterprises.
Tireks fighting vehicle is positioned as a “transitional tank”. The creators of the project assume that the creation and construction of such a machine will help to re-equip the armored forces of Ukraine with new equipment with sufficiently high characteristics, which will be able to perform the assigned tasks before the appearance of tanks with higher characteristics. At the same time, in the new project it is planned to use some ideas and solutions aimed at achieving significant superiority over the existing equipment.
It is argued that the new project T-Rex has several main objectives. Two of them require immediate solutions for a number of objective reasons, while the third is related to the long-term prospects and future of the army. The first task of the project concerns the rearmament of troops. The authors of the new project believe that the existing armored vehicles - first of all, the main tank of the BM “Oplot” - cannot ensure the renewal of the fleet of combat vehicles due to unacceptably low production rates. As a result, the new Tirex tank should become a replacement for the Oplot in terms of characteristics, and also significantly surpass it in terms of production volumes. All this should lead to the renewal of the material part of the troops.
The second task of the new project concerns the main parameters of the perspective armored vehicle. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the new Tirex should surpass existing tanks, such as Bulat. It is planned to provide advantages in mobility, in fighting qualities at night, etc. at a comparable cost of production. For this, in particular, it is proposed to use new approaches to production for Ukrainian industry, which will compensate for the use of relatively expensive fire control equipment, etc.
The third objective of the project, declared by its developers, is associated with the further development of technology. In the future, on the basis of the new tank, it is planned to develop a full-fledged universal platform, on the basis of which armored vehicles of various classes can be built. Chassis with existing powerplant, chassis, etc., among other things, can be used as the basis for new heavy-duty infantry fighting vehicles. However, while such tasks are attributed to the long term.
According to representatives of the engineering group "Azov", the new T-Rex project does not imply the development of a radically new armored vehicle. Its main task is the deep modernization of the existing T-64 tank with a significant increase in performance. Revolutionary new ideas are supposed to be implemented in the framework of subsequent projects of similar technology. In the meantime, designers are engaged in determining the prospects of an existing project. For example, they found that the current production capabilities of the Ukrainian industry will allow upgrading the T-10 tanks per month to the 64 project, according to the Tirex project.
It is also alleged that the assembly of a prototype of a new tank will take about six months. Six months after receiving the T-64 tank, the developer organization promises to provide a ready-made prototype Tireksa. Information about the possible transfer of the tank for restructuring the new project is not yet available.
The new Ukrainian project implies a major upgrade of existing tanks through the use of a number of new components. The result of this, according to the authors of the project, should be the optimal combination of characteristics and cost of equipment. In addition, it is possible to reduce the time required for the construction of new tanks, due to the lack of the need to assemble new chassis.
The basis of the Tirex tank is the modified T-64 tank chassis, receiving some new components and assemblies. On the published schemes, it is clear that the body of the base machine must receive a new superstructure, the forehead and sides of which, in addition to their own armor, are closed by dynamic protection systems. Due to the use of such an add-on, the overall contours and proportions of the tank should change significantly. In addition, the rear part of the superstructure should form a pair of large boxes and leave the roof of the engine compartment in a niche.
As follows from the published materials, enhancing the protection of the existing corps is one of the main tasks of the new project. The diagrams show that the frontal and side parts of the tank must be equipped with numerous dynamic protection units. The same means of enhancing protection can be installed on the tower. To use the proposed complex "Doublet" and "Knife" Ukrainian development. For obvious reasons, the aft of the hull, where the engine compartment is located, should be equipped with lattice screens instead of dynamic protection. Interestingly, in later images, the body feed is also equipped with dynamic protection.
It is likely that the use of the hull superstructure is due to the proposed rearrangement of its internal volumes. Behind the inclined frontal parts of the body should be located habitable compartment. The crew of three (driver, commander and gunner) is proposed to be placed in a single armored capsule, providing additional protection against various threats, as well as separating the tank crew from the combat compartment with ammunition.
In the central part of the Tireks it is proposed to install a tower of the original design. A common feature of many projects of promising tanks, most of them unrealized, is the use of an uninhabited tower with an automated combat compartment. The authors of the new Ukrainian project also propose the use of such a system, given its obvious advantages.
The tower of a prospective tank must be equipped with a reservation of a complex multifaceted structure with a multitude of inclined parts and additional dynamic protection. In the central part of the combat module is placed the main gun, the units of which, apparently, occupy most of the tower. It is proposed to mount a remote-controlled combat module with a large-caliber machine gun on the roof of the aft turret niche. Around the perimeter of the tower, on the cheekbones, sides and aft, several smoke grenade launchers should be placed. The aft part of the tower, shown in the published drawings, receives cutting screens that are also capable of serving as a basket for the property.
The new tank, apparently, must be equipped with a smooth-bore tank gun launcher caliber 125 mm. Such a system will be able to use the full range of compatible ammunition, including combat missiles. In view of the removal of the crew from the combat compartment, the weapon is proposed to be equipped with fully automated guidance and loading systems. So, in a substage basket of the combat module there should be a rotary conveyor with trays for placing projectiles, and it is proposed to match the automatic feed and dismissal of ammunition with the breech of the gun.
Information about the power plant and chassis armored "Tireks" is missing, but it can be assumed that they should be based on the existing design of the T-64 tank. Thus, the chassis can do without any modifications, and one of the new engines of the Ukrainian development can become the basis of the power plant. It is assumed that due to some similar improvements the new tank will differ from the base one with higher mobility.
The most important feature of the T-Rex project is the use of the crew’s armored capsule, which places special demands on the instrumentation of the armored vehicle. To control the situation, driving, searching and attacking targets, as well as to solve a number of other tasks, the crew needs appropriate systems. Thus, the combat module must be equipped with sighting devices with the possibility of transmitting the video signal to the screens in the crew capsule. In addition, appropriate equipment is required for crew jobs. To improve the overall fighting qualities, it is also necessary to apply a new fire control system.
In the proposed form, the Tireks main battle tank should have a length of 6,57 m (9,225 m with a cannon), a width of 3,56 m and a height on the roof of the 2,5 tower m. The combat weight is determined at the level of 39 t. Running characteristics are not specified, but it is stated that they will be higher than the base T-64.
Published data on the Tirex project, as well as images of a promising tank, remind us of the latest Russian development, the T-14 armored vehicle based on the Armata platform. In the new Ukrainian project it is proposed to use a number of ideas and solutions already embodied in the metal in the form of a number of prototypes of a Russian tank. Given the time difference between the two projects, there may be some suspicion. On the other hand, one should not forget that such ideas appeared and were worked out several decades ago, but until recently they could not claim practical application.
As a basis for the new tank, it is proposed to use the available machines of the T-64 family. A similar approach to the creation of new armored vehicles was already used by the Ukrainian military industry and led to the emergence of several projects. In addition, there was a mass production of such equipment with the subsequent delivery to the troops. In practice, it was confirmed that the use of new devices of various types allows to a certain extent to improve the characteristics of existing tanks.
There are certain questions about the possibility of implementing those or other ideas proposed in the Tirex project. So, to create a uninhabited fighting compartment with a remote control from the crew’s armored capsule, it is required to develop and integrate a variety of electronic systems into the design of the tank. The ability to perform such a task can be a cause for serious doubt. At the same time, the development of automatic charging is unlikely to face serious difficulties: similar systems were developed half a century ago for T-64 tanks.
A separate serious issue is the arming of the new tank. As follows from the available materials, the T-Rex should carry an 125-mm smooth-bore weapon. The production of 2А46 guns, which are the standard armament of Soviet and Russian main tanks, is still conducted in Russia, but such systems are not supplied to Ukraine. In the late nineties, the Ukrainian industry tried to create its own version of such a gun called KBA-3. A number of design problems were successfully solved, but the resource of new products left much to be desired. Even improved prototypes can not withstand more than 250-260 shots sabot projectiles. For comparison, the chrome-plated barrel of 2А46М guns of later modifications withstands 1200 conditional shots.
Such a situation could seriously affect the combat capability of promising tanks. Insufficient barrels life will require their regular replacement, which will increase the cost of operation, and will also have some other negative consequences. The solution to this problem in the context of the release of new weapons at the moment looks extremely difficult, if at all possible. The use of existing tools with the remaining resources, dismantled from other tanks, also does not look like an acceptable solution. Thus, in the foreseeable future, the Tireks tank will not be able to get the main armament with high performance characteristics.
As practice shows, the Ukrainian industry is able to rebuild T-64 tanks for new projects with some improvement in their characteristics. Nevertheless, the new project “Tirex” implies a significant change in the design of the basic machine and the use of the mass of new components and assemblies. It is obvious that the use of new devices, primarily electronics, requires the development or, at a minimum, the procurement of such tools. However, as far as we know, no breakthroughs in the Ukrainian industry in this area are yet expected, and foreign developers are unlikely to be interested in possible cooperation with it.
As a result, a promising project can now face a lot of problems that hinder not only the production of finished equipment, but also hinder the completion of the design. At the current design stage, the authors of “Tirex” need not only to formulate the main tasks and identify common ways to solve them, but also to perform a lot of other work on the selection of components, assembly of units, etc. Without all this, the project can hardly have real prospects. In this case, however, the completion of the development could already face certain problems.
The general state of the Ukrainian military industry, weakened by the country's economic problems, the lack of a mass of important developments and a number of other factors of a technical, technological, administrative and corruption nature can lead to the fact that the T-Rex project, and with it the other developments of the Azov engineering group will remain on paper. At the same time, it cannot be excluded that this organization will still be able to build a prototype of an armored vehicle, or at least a full-scale model. However, the mass serial restructuring of existing tanks T-64 can not speak.
According to reports, at present, the T-64 T-X main battle tank project exists in the form of a set of design documentation, as well as several demonstration images. A prototype of a new armored vehicle does not yet exist, and there is no information about its assembly. It is reported that the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has shown interest in the development of the "Azov" group, but so far it has not led to any real action to support the new projects.
As a result, at the moment the Tirex project raises a lot of questions, most of which remain unanswered. In addition, these questions lead us to doubt the possibility of completing the development, construction of an experienced tank, and, moreover, the start of a full-scale serial assembly of new technology. The T-Rex project risks remaining “on paper” and in the form of several schematic drawings. Too many objective factors prevent him from reaching the assembly shop and in fact puts an end to his prospects.
On the materials of the sites:
The project of the main battle tank "Tireks" (Ukraine)
- Ryabov Kirill
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