Nizhny Tagil New Main Battle Tank
A new MBT was developed by V. Potkin's design team in Nizhny Tagil, at the
Uralvagonzavod Plant where all the latest Russian tanks except the T-80 were manufactured.
Is this what it looks like?
This vehicle is intended to become the new Russian MBT and was planned to enter
service in 1994, but due to lack of financing it is still on the testing grounds (according to
some reports it has cleared the testing phase around March 1999). As a result, the Russian Army
is stuck with the obsolete designs of T-64/T-72/T-80/T-90 line for much longer than it wishes.
The MBT doesn't yet have any lofty name and hides behind some obscure "ob'ekt"
designation. In March 2000 the Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, while visiting Nizhny Tagil, said that Russia now "has a new T-95 tank" referring to the MBT being discussed here. It is unclear if this means that the vehicle is finally fielded (as only a fielded vehicle may get T-95 designation), or he just used the term that is sufficiently known in the West to avoid getting into details.
I could find very little about this vehicle, because it is all classified
data. Here is the precious little I could gather, thanks mostly to Col. Viktor Mourakhovsky.
- Crew protection on the tank will be emphasized to a far greater degree than ever
before in Russian tank designs. The level of crew protection should ensure its survival
when the tank is hit by any anti-tank munitions from any aspect or angle, thanks to the
crew placement in a unitary armored pod inside the hull.
- A unique drivetrain suspension system is being tested on this tank that to a
certain extent extinguishes the hull vibrations and stabilizes its position.
- The tank still remains in Class 50 (i.e. it weighs 50 tons) and it shall have an even
smaller silhouette than the modern Russian MBTs.
- The gun will be a 152mm smoothbore tank gun/ATGM launcher. The development of this
system started as far back as end of the fifties for the heavy tanks (originally a rifled gun, probably M-69). The project was revived in the eighties and the gun was significantly redesigned. Even with ordinary powders a very high initial velocity of an APFSDS projectile is achieved. I could not, unfortunately, learn how the caliber increase is going to influence ammunition allowance and rate of fire.
- This gun shall be located in an unmanned gun pod on top of the hull with no crew access
to it. This is likely to increase survivability and lower the silhouette even further.
- The fire control system will be multi-channel (optical + thermal + IR + laser + radar).
- The carousel autoloader goes away.
- According to plans the crew will consist of a 3 man combat structure and one mechanic
(not unlike the air force crew structure), who will be responsible for vehicle maintenance and
will reside in a battalion service and repair company.
I hope that the veil of secrecy will lift a bit and I will learn more details
about this MBT.
Until that time, here is an older page on which I was collecting various tidbits of information about this tank in 1998. Since some newspapers were already quick to use the information on that page as a description of T-95, I would like to specifically stress that the information there is obsolete.
This page is © 1998-2000
with contributions by Viktor Mourakhovsky