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The first page in the history of domestic tank construction was written over seventy years ago, on August 31, 1920, when the first-born Russian tank emerged from the Krasnoye Sormovo plant and was subjected to test runs, launching this essential branch of the defense industry.
Paradoxes are frequent in history. The tank had been invented as a combat weapon by Russian engineers well before 1920. However, its subsequent development did not follow.
Tank construction necessitated the advancement of science, special metallurgy, motor engineering, which was a privilege of developed countries, but Russia was not such a country at that time.
     Although a pioneer in inventing the tank, Russia lagged behind Western countries in tank construction at the start. England and France employed tanks against German troops in offensive operations during World War I. The first-born Russian tank, frankly speaking, was an improved prototype of a captured French Reno tank.
     The tank weighed seven tons and was armed with the naval Gochkis gun and manned with two crew members. During test runs the tank developed a speed of 8.5 km/h, levelled the ruins of a building and negotiated a barrier half a meter high.
     In this way the Russian tank construction originated. However, this fact enables the contemporaries to understand tremendous developments since this modest start.
     People are right to say: "A man is famous for his deeds". Fitter Mikhail Koshkin was one of the first people to organize tank production at the Krasnoye Sormovo plant. He also did his best in the production of the first combat armored vehicles. Who could foresee that this young worker, who had come from Vyatka to Nizhni Novgorod, possessed exceptional "design intuition" and that after twenty years Koshkin would, together with A.A. Morozov, develop the best tank of World War II, T-34 and would be honored as a Hero of Socialist Labor and win the State Prize.
     According to English writer D. Ordgill, the "T-34 was not the inspiration of a genius but the result of common sense. Its advent was due to people who could have seen the battlefield in the middle of the 20th century better than anyone in the West."
     There is no more severest trial for the designers creation than wars. Our planet has seen quite enough.
     Tank construction and tank battles are exceptional chapters in the chronicle of World War II against Hitlerism and their contribution to the victory is of paramount importance. Anyone who remembers those years can readily imagine what would have happened to Russia and the world as a whole, if we had not set up, based on the industry, powerful tank construction centers in Leningrad, Kharkov, Nizhni Tagil, Nizhni Novgorod, Chelyabinsk and had not involved such men of design gifts as M. Koshkin, A. Morozov (designers of T-34) and Zh. Kotin (KV and IS heavy tanks).
     Remember the July-August 1943, the battle of Kursk and its remarkable daySour victory in the greatest tank battle on the Prohorovka field. In this battle tanks fought Nwall-against-wallO: one power had to crush the other. On July 12, 1,200 tanks and self-propelled guns participated from both sides on a relatively small patch of land. The enemy lost 400 tanks in one day alone.T-72
     The vaunted Panthers and Tigers, tanks created by German designers specially for the battle of Kursk, could not hold out against the Koshkin and Morozov T-34s and KotinOs heavy tanks.
     "...And Russian tanks were everywhere! We stumbled on them at every step, "evidenced German sergeant major Gyupso who was taken prisoner on July 12, 1943 in the battle near Prokhorovka. "Clanks of caterpillar tracks alone made one sick at heart and they seemed to crush you at once. No, our nerves could not stand such amount of fire and metal. When we saw the Russian tanks we were lost as soldiers..."
The tradition of creating state-of-the-art models of armored material was maintained by our designers during the post-war years. The Kharkov design bureau headed by A.A. Morozov, developed and produced unique tanks designated T-54 and T-55. They were the first in the world to mount an NBC system and snorkel system for deep wading.
     A revolution in tank design was marked by the advent of the T-64 tank created by the A.A. Morozov design bureau in the late 1960s. The tank was the first to employ missile-gun armament (even now no foreign tank can boast such weapons) and automatic gun load.
     Further tank development was undertaken in the city on the Neva River, where the design bureau headed by N.S. Popov created a tank with a gas turbine engine, designated T-80U. In Nizhni Tagil, General Designer V.N. Venedictov developed the T-72. These tanks are still considered the world's best models.
     In 1970s, an infantry combat vehicle designated BMP-1 (General designer P.P. Isakov) was developed at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. This vehicle was further modified and produced at the Kurgan Engineering Plant where the world's best prototypes BMP-2 and BMP-3 (General Designer N.A. Blagonravov), were created. A whole generation of armored personnel carriers, including the BTR-80 (General Designer A.G. Mosyagin), was brought to a commercial level at the Gorky Automotive Plant.T-80U powered by GAS-Turbine engine
     At present one should name our best scientists and designers, organizers of the production of tank weapons and systems: V.I. Golubev, E.N.Nudelman, A.G. Shipunov, V.P. Gryazev, V.V. Nekrasov, B.S. Galushchak, P.V. Zyl, A.I. Goyev, N.K. Ryazantsev, V.I. Butov, B.G. Yegorov, S.P. Izotov, A.A. Sarkisov.
     The domestic school of tank construction and our armor products have gained prestige all over the world. The Russian tanks and armored vehicles rival and even surpass their foreign prototypes.
     Our domestic tank construction is 75 years old. Although it is not a long period historically, a great deal has been achieved. The Russian school of tank construction was created. Thousands of gifted scientists, engineers, designers, technologists and organizers were educated and trained following new traditions. On the initiative of the State Committee for Defense Industries, Special Engineering and Metallurgy joint stock company and Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation this jubilee was widely and uncommonly celebrated on August 31, 1995.
     On a sunny summer day the Kubinka proving ground in the suburb of Moscow, where the Military Science and Research Institute and Museum of Armored Materiel and Weapons are located, saw a colorful festival.
     A grand rally was presided over by the Industry and Defense Ministry leaders, heads of Defense Ministry departments, general and chief designers of tanks and separate systems, directors of enterprises.
     The former Chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Defense Industries, Victor Glukhikh made a speech and congratulated the tank constructors and tankmen, and read out a message of welcome from President Yeltsin addressed to the designers, workers and employees of the tank industry, veterans of tank construction and tankmen: "...I sincerely congratulate the designers, workers and employees, veterans of the tank industry, tankmen on the important event-the 75th anniversary of the domestic tank construction. During this time it followed a long and hard path, from light tanks and armored cars to up-to-date tanks, infantry combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers-well-protected, driven by powerful engines and equipped with missile and gun armament.
     Our tank constructors performed great services for the Motherland during the Great Patriotic War.
     Outstanding equipment, unsurpassed in many aspects, such as the T-34, KV and IS tanks were created by the efforts of gifted designers M.I. Koshkin, A.A. Morozov, Zh.Ya. Kotin, L.N. Dukhov and others and the hard labor of engineers and workers.
     This formidable weapon constituted a tremendous contribution to the Great Victory.
     Now the armored equipment meets modern requirements. As the world practice shows, it is unequal in terms of many characteristics, fitted with unique systems and capable of operating in the most adverse conditions. The State will continue to maintain the Russian tank industry at high potential and engineering level..."
     Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, M.P. Kolesnikov, a tankman by training himself, made a speech and emphasized that the tanks remained as before the main striking power of the Armed Forces. Former Ministry of Defence Industry, P.V. Finogenov, recalled the contribution of the tank constructors to the Victory over fascism and greeted the present generation of tank developers.
     General Designer of the T-80U tank N.S. Popov told of the prospects and new developments of his design bureau.
     Director General of the Uralvagonzavod Association, V.S. Seryakov, expressed concern for the tendency to lag in the industry.
     All those present at the Kubinka festival saw the models of armor equipment of various years, both domestic and foreign, displayed in the Military Historical Museum. The proving ground witnessed a show involving firing from up-to-date tanks, negotiation of water obstacles, etc.
     The Kubinka festival will be remembered by the participants for a long time.
     This day is dear to the people who linked their life with the creation and implementation of such powerful combat weapons.
     It is a good tradition for the Industry and General Armor Department to work in close cooperation to create new equipment and ensure its high characteristics and performance.
     The design bureaus and research institutes of the Industry and Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation possess great potential for further development of the armor materiel, which will permit domestic standards to be superior to their foreign prototypes during the current decade.
     The tanks were, are and will remain the armor shield of the State. Their development must always be in the foreground.
     In parallel with the development of modern weapons, the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Defense Industries cooperates closely with the Special Engineering and Metallurgy joint stock company in implementing a number of conversion programs involving those included in the Federal program of conversion of the defense industry for 1995-1997. Currently, the Special Engineering and Metallurgy Joint Stock Company is increasingly interested in effective conversion projects, including the creation of a range of unique equipment for deep-penetrated hydraulic seam fracture in oil and gas wells. This approach provides for an increase in the oil recovery of inefficient wells twofold or threefold.
The Special Engineering and Metallurgy Joint Stock Company is open to cooperation with foreign investors and partners and joint efforts to create technical means for the fuel and power complex, produce consumer goods and implement other programs.

    1. Focused shell

       The most commonly used ammunition allowance of modern tanks comprises two types of armor-piercing shells: HVAP and HEAT fragmentation or HVAP and high-explosive squash head (HESH). Once a HEAT-F or HESH shell has been fired, the fragmentation and blast effects are secondary and collateral. It may well augment the armor-piercing effect to the detriment of other tank missions.
           Explanations are offered in different original concepts of the tank as a weapons system. According to one such concept, the main tank mission is to fight enemy tanks presenting a major threat (to realize the "fight the equal" principle), while the tank defense against ground and air antitank weapons is considered the responsibility of a covering party, e.i., accompanying infantry combat vehicles and self-propelled air defense mounts.

        When confronted by hit-and-run maneuver tank battle, especially on rugged, smoked and dust-laden terrain, the dominant factor is played by the readiness to fire instantly as soon as an enemy tank appears. To this end, the tank gun must be kept loaded, and any shell of the ammunition load must provide high armor-piercing effect. The idea of ammunition allowance comprising two types of armor-piercing shells is based on this principle.
         However, military experience disproves this concept. For example, the tank losses during the fourth Arab-Israel war in 1973 broke down as follows: over 50 percent destroyed by antitank guided missiles, 28 percent by aircraft, light antitank grenade launchers, tank-killing mines, and only 22 percent by tank fire.
         Under another concept the tank constitutes a self-contained weapons system capable of accomplishing independently all combat missions, including self-defense against tank destroyers. This problem cannot be solved by using available standard impact-fuzed shells, as the fragmentation effect on single targets during flat trajectory fire by these shells indicates very poor coordination between the impact point f (x, y) and kill probability curve G (x, y).

    2. Focused fragmentation shell of Diehl company

         The dispersion pattern, with a ratio of longer axes of approximately 50:1 at a distance of 2 km, is extended along the line of fire, while the bursting effect area is perpendicular to this line. As a result, the fire pattern and the bursting effect area only coincide over a very small section.
         To find a way out, a multipurpose tank-gun shell of versatile application boasting a killing pattern extended along the shell path has been developed and patented by the Bauman State University Special Engineering Research Institute (Russian Lcns No. 2018779, M. cl. F42 V 13/48, published on August 30, 1994).
         The shell produces simultaneously two fragmentation patterns: axial (focused) pattern of submunitions and radial (circular) pattern of split fragments.     The shell comprises an explosive charge and a nose unit containing submunitions made from steel or heavy tungsten-based alloys in a form allowing for their dense stowage in the nose unit, for instance hexahedral prisms. Dense stowage retains the shape of submunitions during blast propulsion and consequently reduces the losses of explosive charge energy for submunition deformation. Owing to the base detonation of the explosive charge, the submunition unit is propelled by incident blast wave, thereby increasing the propulsion velocity. The velocity of the submunition unit ejection from the shell body depends on the weight and other design parameters and ranges from 300 to 500 m/s, with the initial resultant velocity of the subminitions ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 m/s at a shell velocity of 800 m/s. A light head cap provided with a point contact-sensing device and filled with polyurethane foam does not impede the submunition unit ejection.

    3. Focused fragmentation mortar shell of Diehl company

    Explosion of a 125mm focused fragmentation shell at a distance of 30 m from a target produces a killing circle 5 m in diameter. With the submunition unit and the submunition weighing 2.5 kg and 5 g, respectively, and a submunition total number of 500, the average density in the killing zone will be 25 pcs/m2 which is quite sufficient to reliably defeat any targets with a steel equivalent of up to 6 mm. A 15-20 g rise in the submunition weight will increase the steel equivalent of penetrated target up to 10 mm. It will be sufficient to defeat light armor targets. The effect of a dense submunition beam on the tank front armor will destroy all external vision devices and cause full blinding of the tank.
         Time setting (time of flight to a set-forward point of burst) is introduced in the base or nose command receiver through a contact or noncontact line. To rule out errors, the shell velocity is measured by the noncontact method and the resultant value is introduced into the computation of time setting. The latter is subsequently fed to the time fuze via a laser beam (or by any other noncontact method). The tank fire control system must incorporate a laser rangefinder, shell velocity meter, ballistic computer and automatic time fuze setting device. Such systems have been developed and adopted for service.
         This engagement method is an obvious asset related to the fire control system accuracy. When a time-fuze HE fragmentation shell is exploded in the effective killing zone, the total error (root-mean-square deviation) of fire control must not exceed 0.001 s (this accuracy level is highly improbable in near future). For a focused shell blasted at the point of prediction, a total error of up to 0.01 s will be acceptable.

    4. Axially acted projectile of FFV company

         The time fuze is fitted with a percussion mechanism of three settings enabling the shell to produce fragmentation-compression, fragmentation-blast and piercing-blast effect. Instantaneous fragmentation is effected by the nose contact device connected electrically to the base fuze. The command, determining the type of action, is fed through the nose or base command receiver.
         Numerous computations and simulation of the shell action corroborated its high ability to protect the tank against all types of tank destroyers, including the crews of antitank grenade launchers provided with individual armor protection means and positioned in trenches and shelters, fixed and self-propelled antitank missile systems, antitank guns, antitank helicopters and attack aircraft. The use of focused fragmentation shells by active close-in tank defense system is promising. Replacing the 30F19 HE fragmentation projectile in the tank ammunition load with a multipurpose focused fragmentation shell will give the tank an opportunity to survive in modern combat.
         According to license publications, the development of focused fragmentation projectiles is underway in foreign states (Lcns 4524696 USA, Lcns 0101795 Europe, Lcns 4882296 USA, Lcns 3703773A1 FRG, Lcns 367869 Sweden and others). Examples can be found in the development of the tank focused fragmentation projectile and focused mortar shell of the Diehl company and P-type axially acted fragmentation projectile of the Swedish FFV company.


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