|Чёрный Орёл "Black Eagle"|
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|Weight||~ 48.5 tonnes|
|Length||~ 7.0 m|
|Armour||Kontakt-5 ERA |
|125 mm 2A46 gun - 152 mm possible|
|7.62 mm PKT Machine gun|
12.7 mm "Kord" (Корд) anti-air machine gun
|Engine||GTD-1400 (ГТД-1400), gas turbine|
(1030 kW or 1040 kW)
The Black Eagle tank (Russian: Чёрный Орёл, Chyornyh Oryol, or Obyekt 640) was a presumed prototype main battle tank produced in the Russian Federation. It was thought to have been developed by the KBTM design bureau in Omsk in the late 1990s. A production version of this tank has never been publicly demonstrated. The Black Eagle tank has been cancelled, and all production and development halted. The company that was developing the tank, Omsk Transmash, has subsequently gone bankrupt.
Development[edit | edit source]
Development started during the 1980s, when the design bureau of the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) developed a new design based upon the stretched T-80U chassis. Later, when the bureau closed, the documentation was transferred to KBTM in Omsk.
A mock-up of the Black Eagle was first demonstrated at the VTTV arms exposition in Omsk, in September 1997, making a single brief pass, far from the reviewing stands. The tank appeared to be a standard T-80U hull, topped by a very large turret and gun, obscured by camouflage netting and canvas. The turret later turned out to be a crude mock-up.
An early prototype was shown at an arms exposition in Siberia, in June 1999. This tank had an elongated hull with seven pairs of road wheels instead of the T-80's six, and a turret still mostly obscured by camouflage netting.
The tank is based on a lengthened T-80U hull, with an extra pair of road wheels and a brand new turret. It appears to have very thick front armour and new-generation Kaktus explosive reactive armour on the hull and turret. The turret has a very large, box-shaped turret bustle instead of the traditional dome shape of previous Soviet and Russian main battle tanks. According to Russian reports, the Black Eagle design has abandoned the carousel-style autoloader in the fighting compartment for an autoloader mounted in the large western-style turret bustle, which incorporates a blow-out armoured ammunition compartment for crew safety, like the U.S. M1 Abrams tank. The prototype has a 125 mm tank gun, but it has been stated that it may accommodate a larger 152 mm gun (compared to the 120 and 125 mm-calibre guns of main battle tanks in service). There is debate about whether the Black Eagle will incorporate the Drozd or Arena Active Protection System.
Halted[edit | edit source]
Recent information seems to suggest that the Black Eagle program has been halted. Development of the Black Eagle was halted due to the terrible performance of the T-80, upon which the tank was modelled, in the second Chechen war. The T-80 performed so poorly that General-Lieutenant A. Galkin, the head of the Armor Directorate, convinced the Minister of Defence after the conflict to never again procure tanks with gas-turbine engines. This included the Black Eagle, which was promptly cancelled. The manufacturers, Omsk Transmash, attempted to appeal the decision, but were unable to pursue the appeal after filing for bankruptcy in 2002. As of July 2008, the Russian army plans to adopt a new Uralvagonzavod tank after 2010, possibly to be designated T-95. However, development of the T-95 tank was also cancelled, in May 2010.
Col. Vladimir Voitov, head of research at the Main Directorate of the Armored Troops, denied the existence of the tank in an interview with the Echo Moskvy radio in September 2009. "There was no such project...and those 20-year-old pictures show a mock-up of a futuristic tank which remained just a product of someone's imagination," ... "the turret of the vehicle did not have anything inside."
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Zaloga 2000, p 4.
- Mikhail Zakharchuk, 'Uroki Chechenskogo krizisa' (Lessons of the Chechen crisis), Armeyskiy sbornik, April 1995
- Christopher F. Foss, “Russia's New MBT Tipped to Sport a 152 mm Gun”, Jane's Defence Weekly, July 30, 2008, p. 6.
- "Russian military denies existence of new 'super-tank'". RIANOVOSTI. 13/09/2009. http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20090913/156108570.html.
References[edit | edit source]
- Jim Warford (1998). “The Resurrection of Russian Armor: Surprises from Siberia”, in Armor vol. 108, no. 5, pp 30–33. Fort Knox, KY: US Army Armor Center. ISSN 0004-2420.
- Steven Zaloga and David Markov (2000). Russia's T-80U Main Battle Tank, pp 4, 42–44. Hong Kong: Concord. ISBN 962-361-656-2.
[edit | edit source]
- Vasiliy Fofanov's Modern Russian Armour - click "Black Eagle MBT" in the links in the left-hand frame.
- Black Eagle MBT - at Eugene Yanko in association with Omsk VTTV Arms Exhibition and Military Parade JSC
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