Black Eagle (tank)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (May 2015)
|Чёрный Орёл "Black Eagle"|
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|Length||~ 7.0 m|
|125 mm 2A46 gun - 152 mm possible|
7.62 mm PKT Machine gun
GTD-1400 (ГТД-1400), gas turbine|
1400 hp[vague] (1030 kW or 1040 kW)
|Ground clearance||451 mm|
The Black Eagle tank (Russian: Чёрный Орёл, Čërnyj Orël, or Object 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 has been cancelled, with all production and development halted.
The company that was developing the tank, Omsktransmash, has gone bankrupt, and its designs and projects have been absorbed into Uralvagonzavod and state owned services. Uralvagonzavod was developing the T-95 in competition to the Black Eagle, and now owns the rights to both projects, but the Russian government has withdrawn all support and funding for the project.
Development started during the 1980s, when the design bureau of the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) developed a new design based on 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 was based on a lengthened T-80U hull, with an extra pair of road wheels and a brand new turret. It appeared to have had very thick front armour and new-generation Kaktus explosive reactive armour on the hull and turret. The turret had 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 had 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, the German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2, French Leclerc and several other modern western tanks. The prototype had a 125 mm tank gun, but it was stated that it may have accommodated a larger 152 mm gun (compared to the 120 and 125 mm-calibre guns of main battle tanks in service). There was debate about whether the Black Eagle would incorporate the Drozd or Arena (countermeasure).
The Black Eagle project was formally cancelled in 2001. Development of the Black Eagle was stopped due to financial problems, questions about the reliability of the design and, most importantly, the terrible performance of the T-80, upon which it was modeled, in the first Chechen war. The T-80 performed so poorly that after the conflict General-Lieutenant A. Galkin, the head of the Armor Directorate, convinced the Minister of Defence 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 planned to adopt a new Uralvagonzavod tank after 2010, possibly designated T-95. However, development of the T-95 tank was also cancelled, in May 2010. Colonel 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." It was announced that some technical solutions developed for the Black Eagle tank will be incorporated into the Armata Universal Combat Platform which is currently in production.
- Конструкторское бюро "Омсктрансмаша" станет филиалом "Уралвагонзавода" - Экскаватор РУ
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- 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 Defense Weekly, July 30, 2008, p. 6.
- Neglecting the Navy could threaten Russia's sovereignty | Features & Opinion | RIA Novosti
- "Russian military denies existence of new 'super-tank'". RIANOVOSTI. 2009-09-13.
- "The new Russian main battle tank protype Armata will be completed by 2013 1702122 - Army Recognition". Armyrecognition.com. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
- 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.
- Vasiliy Fofanov's Modern Russian Armour - click "Black Eagle MBT" in the links in the left-hand frame.