The vehicle became the embodiment of the ideas of the Kharkov designers involved in the "Rebel" project, which became a continuation of the large-scale program launched in the early 1970s to create a new generation main battle tank. Their development could really outstrip the world tank building for years to come. Engineers proposed two options for the layout: "Object 490" assumed a crew of two, housed in a low-profile turret, and "Object 490A" was designed for three people.
The first version became innovative in many ways. Its main principle was the division of the case into compartments isolated from each other. In front was a fuel compartment with partitions and armor protection from the most common means of destruction of armored vehicles at that time. The designers proceeded from the fact that damage to this compartment in combat or partial loss of fuel would not result in a loss of the vehicle's combat capability.
In the center of the tank was the crew compartment. It was protected by the main combined armor and shielded armor of the propellant bow assembly. The ammunition load was isolated - there was an armored barrier between the turret autoloader and the fighting compartment, preventing the tank from being hit. And yet, in the case of detonation of charges in the roof of the hull compartment and in the bottom of the turret machine compartment, "knockout plates" were provided.
The tank was armed with a 125-millimeter gun of increased power 2A66. The sighting complex was supposed to consist of two panoramic sights. At the same time, the night panoramic sight was placed separately and transmitted information to the crew remotely. The structure of the "Object 490" provided a significant increase in combat performance with a small weight and dimensions. However, the advantages of the low silhouette of the vehicle were overlapped by the disadvantages: a low line of sight and the ability to stick the gun into the ground. Largely because of this, the developers settled on the option with a crew of three - "Object 490A" - the tank had a higher hull profile and a cannon.
The driver was located on the left side, and on the right was a 1290 liter fuel tank. The commander's workplace was located in the fighting compartment above the gunner to the left of the gun. Embarkation and disembarkation from the vehicle took place through a hatch in the turret.
In addition to the main weapon, the tank was equipped with two coaxial 7.62 mm machine guns and a remote-controlled 12.7 mm machine gun. To monitor the situation and duplicate fire control, the commander had a panarom sight. The gunner's day sight was located on the left side of the turret, and the thermal imaging sight was located on the right side of the turret. The image was transmitted to the gunner's screen remotely. The view was provided using fiber-optic devices installed along the perimeter of the turret.
In Object 490A, the ammunition load was also isolated and located on the right side of the fighting compartment.
The tank had a high level of armor and a minimal number of weakened zones. Side and roof protection was combined. In the frontal projections, it was supposed to install dynamic protection. According to some reports, the vehicle's armor consisted of ten layers of metal and ceramics, which provided quite reliable protection against armor-piercing sub-caliber and cumulative ammunition. All this undoubtedly affected the mass of the tank - it reached 48-50 tons.
The dynamics with such a weight should have been provided by a 6TD engine with a capacity of one thousand horsepower. The motor compartment was unified in terms of basic dimensions for the installation of a diesel engine product “ 495” (6TD) and a gas turbine product “29G” (both with power 1250 hp). Considered the use of the engine product 495 with electromechanical or hydro mechanical transmission. The main engine version was 1250 hp variant 6TD. The option of installing a gas turbine engine, the 29G product with a hydro-volumetric turning mechanism, which in the mid-80s for some time began to be considered as the main engine for serial and advanced tanks, was also worked out. The final decision on the choice of the engine for the prospective came only in the late 1980s, the collapse of the USSR prevented the implementation of the plan.
In 1982, it was decided to focus on a tank with a crew of three. The tank had an extended cannon, the driver was located on the left side of the tank, to the right of him there was an internal supply of fuel with a volume 1290 liters, the commander was located in the fighting compartment above the gunner to the left of the gun. Landing and leaving the tank was ensured through a hatch in the turret. In addition to the main armament, the tank was equipped with two coaxial machine guns of the caliber 7.62mm and remote controlled 12.7 mm machine gun. The commander had a panaromic sight for observation and duplication of fire control, the gunner's day sight was located on the left side of the turret, the thermal imaging sight was placed on the right side of the gun, the image was transmitted to the gunner's screen remotely. The crew was provided with a view using fiber-optic devices located along the perimeter of the tower. Ammunition was placed isolated on the right side of the tank's fighting compartment. The tank was characterized by a high level of armor, with a minimum number of weakened zones. Armoring of the sides and roof of the tower - combined. In 1983, a full-size mock-up of the tank was made to test the layout and placement of equipment. In 1984, a prototype tank began to be tested.
Object 490A (Topol)At the initial stage, two layout options were considered as promising: Mazurenko's item 490 with a crew of three placed in a low-profile turret and with a crew of three - driver on the left, commander above the gunner in a low-profile turret to the left of the gun. V.R. Kovalyukh's Object 490A was variant of a promising tank with a crew of 2 people. In 1981, the development of a promising tank received the code of the military-industrial complex "Topol". E.A. Morozov assumed the use of a hydropneumatic suspension. In addition to solving the main task - increasing average speeds by improving the smoothness indicator, it makes it possible to control the tank's clearance, which increases its maneuverability and survivability in battle. In addition, the controlled hydropneumatic suspension by changing the trim of the machine allows you to increase the gun aiming angles in the vertical plane. The tank's crew consisted of two people, housed in the turret. Traffic control was supposed to be done using a stereoscopic television system installed in the bow of the hull. An important principle implemented in this version is the conditional division of the entire machine into compartments isolated from each other. The layout of the tank: the first is the fuel compartment, separated by partitions with the minimum permissible level of armor protection against the most massive means of destruction of the tank. Damage to this compartment and partial loss of fuel in battle will not result in the tank losing its combat capability. Behind it, in the center of the tank, there is a crew compartment protected by the main combined armor and shielded by the armor of the bow hull assembly and fuel. The ammunition in the tank was isolated from the crew. To neutralize high pressures arising in the event of detonation of charges, in the roof of the compartment of the hull and in the bottom of the compartment of the turret automatic loader, "kick plates" are provided. Between the turret automatic loader and the fighting compartment of the tank, there was a combined armored barrier that prevented the defeat of the tank when the ammunition was destroyed. Tank armament was 125 mm cannon of increased power 2A66. The sighting system was supposed to consist of two panoramic sights without a night channel, the night pan-aramic sight was placed independently with remote transmission of information from it to the crew. The tank with a new layout and a crew of two people ensured a significant increase in combat performance with a small weight and overall dimensions. At the same time, the transition to a two-man crew was not sufficiently developed, especially in the aspect of the command tank. The low silhouette of the tank, along with the advantages, also had disadvantages - a low line of sight and the ability to stick the gun into the ground. 25-26 March 1982 the Council of Chief Designers met to select a variant of the Poplar * product; almost all the first persons were present. We considered two options, the majority was in favor of Kovalyukh's option. EA Morozov reported poorly and it was felt that his version was crude. At the end, Shomin spoke and said that in his heart he was for two people, but the issue of controlling a tank was practically insoluble, so he could not go for this option. We accepted Kovalyukh's version. Two prototypes of 490A were made, only one prototype of the "Object 490A" was fully developed, the second model was never completed. Work on the product was discontinued in 1984 after it was decided to install a 152 mm cannon on the promising tank.
The final design of a tank with 152 mm gun with rounds with charges of a variable form was developed in 1984-85, but was not made in metal with the adoption of a final decision on the transition to a new type of autoloader because of delays with charges of a variable form. Thus, the layout of the future tank underwent regular changes, as a result of which the tank Object “ 477” known under designation of research work “Boxer” and “Molot” [Hummer] was created, the layout of which was approved in 1985. From the diaries of Yu. M. Apukhtin: 05/12/85. Shomin finally approved the layout. Kovalyukh achieved that the design of the automatic loader is not ring-shaped, but with a closed circuit with replenishing from the hull storage behind the combat compartments. Let's see what happens.
One of the missed opportunities was the design of the tank object “ 490” with a three men crew. The tank had a classic layout, ammunition and fuel was completely isolated from the crew. The automatic loader was located in a turret niche and had a simple scheme similar to many modern developments (“Leclerc” etc). The restrictions on the length of the rounds were not so tight as in other projects.
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