Object 279: the most unusual UFO-like tank
Nuclear weapons posed new challenges for tank designers. In a new type of war, tanks will not have to overcome the enemy’s anti-tank defenses, but rather operate in the “nuclear desert” formed at the location of this enemy. In this case, the tank must withstand the shock wave of a nuclear explosion, its light, incendiary and radioactive effects.“Object 279” is an example of an “extreme” approach to design, when all the others are sacrificed to one technical indicator of a combat vehicle (in this case, resistance to a shock wave of a nuclear explosion). Length with gun forward: 10, 238 mm, width: 3400 mm, height: 2475 mm, speed: 55 km / h, cruising range: 250 km, fording depth: 1.2 m.
Flying Saucer for Nuclear War
The Museum of Armored Arms and Equipment in Kubinka has an unusual exhibit - the Soviet heavy tank "Object 279", similar to a flying saucer, only on tracks and with a tower. Like most other experimental heavy tanks, it was not adopted by the Soviet army and remained in a single copy.
Based on the tactical and technical requirements (TTT) developed by the GBTU of the Soviet Army, in 1957 in the Design Bureau of the Kirov Plant under the leadership of L.S. Troyanov developed a draft of a new heavy tank for operations in the conditions of a general nuclear war. This single example of a unique combat vehicle had four tracks and many other original design solutions.
The 2DG8-M 16-cylinder diesel engine with a horizontal arrangement of cylinders developed a power of 1000 hp. at 2400 rpm (the DG-1000 engine with a capacity of 950 hp could be installed). The motor was equipped with a hydromechanical transmission. The undercarriage included a hydropneumatic suspension and a one-of-a-kind caterpillar mover, which included four tracks with a closed metal hinge, which sharply increased the tank's resistance to anti-tank mines. Each two-track drive unit included six dual track rollers and three support rollers. This design ensured high cross-country ability and prevented the tank from landing on the bottom (tracks covered almost its entire surface). But the undercarriage was too complicated to operate.
The first prototype was made by LKZ in 1959, two more were scheduled for 1960, but their assembly was never completed: a decision was made to abandon heavy and super-heavy armored vehicles as a class - they were replaced by the so-called main battle tanks.
One of the reasons hindering the development of tank building is the insufficient volume of the hull and turret under the armor. The dimensions of the tank are severely limited: width - railway dimensions, length - requirements for maneuverability, height - conditions of stealth in battle.
The internal reserved volume of the tank is completely filled with weapons, mechanisms, units, ammunition, fuel and crew. Designers are fighting for every extra ammunition and a liter of fuel. In addition, the modern tank is overgrown with additional systems: fire extinguishing, radiation, mine protection and other types of protection, devices for overcoming water barriers and self-entrapment, smoke fumes and laser countermeasures. Many elements are carried out and not protected - for example, surveillance devices. The classic chassis design and control system do not significantly increase cross-country ability and average road speed.
Today, the simplest and most effective way to increase the combat qualities of a tank, which allows you to break the current deadlock, is to abandon the usual layout.
The hull of the tank was welded from four cast blocks, the tower - cast. Frontal and side armor of the hull and turret did not penetrate with 122 mm armor-piercing and 90 mm cumulative shells in the firing sector of 3600, i.e., from all sides! The thickness of the frontal armor of the hull was twice as large compared to the serial T-10M tank. The anti-cumulative screens complemented the contours of the curved design of the molded case to an elongated ellipsoid and gave it the form of a “flying saucer”. “Object 279” had the smallest volume reserved (11.47 m3) among all the heavy tanks of that time.
He was armed with a powerful 130 mm M-65 cannon with a semi-automatic loading mechanism and equipped with a mechanized warhead. A 14.5 mm KPVT machine gun was paired with a cannon. The tank was equipped with 2-plane weapon stabilizer “Thunderstorm”, TPD-2C rangefinder sight, semi-automatic guidance system, IR night vision devices. The ammunition of the armored car included 24 rounds for the gun and 300 rounds for the machine gun. The crew of the tank consisted of four people: commander, gunner, loader (automatic loader has not yet been developed) and driver.
By sacrificing one of the geometric parameters of the tank — its limited length — it is possible to sharply increase the useful reserved volume to accommodate an additional set of ammunition, fuel, and increase the number of crew members. This idea was guided by designers who proposed the use of an articulated body, each part of which has its own tracked chassis. Such a dual tank design was developed by Nodwell in the early 1950s. She showed herself especially well in amphibious cars, dramatically improving their cross-country ability.
With almost the same dimensions as the T-72 (whose hull length is 7.56 m), the articulated tank has a significantly larger reserved volume. The ability to make turns in two ways eliminates the long-base articulated tracked vehicle from a significant drawback - low agility. Such a machine can perform step (lag) movement. Tests have confirmed the high survivability of the chassis, which provides movement and controllability in the event of breakage or loss of up to three tracks (!).
An articulated system (it is also called a two-link or twin) is widely used as a tracked all-terrain vehicle. In Canada, very successful examples of such pairs have been developed. In Sweden, BV206 machines were created, in our Fatherland - DT-10P at the Ishimbaevsky plant. Attempts were made to create a combat vehicle. In the early 1980s, Swedish experts created and tested prototypes of the light articulated tank UDEX XX20. This machine consists of two sections pivotally connected to each other with an active caterpillar mover. The main armament is the German Bofors 120 mm smoothbore gun with a muzzle brake mounted in a swinging swivel gun carriage and carried over the hull, which houses a crew of three people. In the second car are a diesel engine, a gun loader and fuel. With a total combat weight of more than 20 tons, this tank developed speeds of up to 60 km / h during tests on snowy terrain.
The tank sections are interconnected by two telescopic hydraulic cylinders, with the help of which the mutual position of the sections can vary in horizontal and vertical planes. Thanks to this constructive solution, the tank is able to overcome various obstacles, including high vertical walls, by lifting the bow of the front section. When transporting sections are easily disconnected.
According to the designers, using the principle of articulation of sections, it will be possible to create a relatively light and with a small silhouette tank with powerful weapons and high traffic. On the basis of the articulated tank, a self-propelled installation armed with an ATGM and a 40-mm cannon and an armored personnel carrier in which the crew and the landing party (2 + 8 people) will not be in the front, but in the rear (second) section - on its roof can also be created It is planned to install a 25 mm automatic cannon.
Famous American project light tank articulated scheme, armed with a large-caliber gun. In the Armored Academy. Malinowski also carried out work to justify a kind of “push-pushing” - an articulated tracked combat vehicle. But the matter did not go further than compiling a scientific report.
Heirs of ideas
Variants of armored "chariots" arranged in a two-link scheme are offered regularly. Most often, the front link looks like a regular tank, and the second is performed as an infantry fighting vehicle for transporting infantry with a full set of anti-personnel weapons or mount an anti-tank or anti-aircraft complex on it.
The ideas are very promising, but, as always, the question rests on money. In addition, in military circles, views on the tactics of combat use of such “push-pulls” have not yet been established. And if it is not clear how to write TTT on them, then no one will order their development.
But in any case, no matter what layout was adopted, it would be impossible to successfully solve combat missions in the foreseeable future without tanks as vehicles of the echelon of the front line.The article "Carapace Caterpillar and Armored Vehicle" was published in the journal Popular Mechanics (No. 11, November 2008).