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Object 477A Nota MBT

The Object 477A or “Nota” is a Ukrainian project of a next-generation tank was developed by the Kharkiv-based Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau in the period in 1993–2000. In 2014 Military experts of Ukraine intended to propose to the authorities to declassify the super-tank Molot ["Hammer"]. This combat vehicle at different times had several designations: "Rebel", "Boxer" and "Hammer". The first prototype of this machine was built more than a quarter of a century ago and for the entire time of its existence was considered the most guarded, first Soviet, and then Ukrainian military secret. And it is not a new concept of Ukrainian military designers.

It should be noted that at the moment there is no official data on the appearance and characteristics of the tanks developed within the framework of the Boxer-Note project. There are a couple of photos of the tank from Kharkov, posted on one of the foreign military-historical forums. The only reliable source on the subject are the diaries of Yuri Apukhtin, one of the developers of a promising tank, published in 2009.

Closed and forgotten projects of military equipment can be remembered for various reasons. One of them is the longing for bygone times and the desire to return to its former power. Moreover, such memories often resemble the most ordinary dreams, divorced from life. This is what the current discussions about the resumption of the development of the promising Object 477A1 tank look like. This project was abandoned many years ago, but there are still people who want to continue development and even bring the promising car to the series and the army. This time, the Ukrainian specialist in armored vehicles Serhiy Zgurets recalled the rather old project "Object 477A1", also known by the cipher "Nota". Not so long ago, he published his thoughts on the further development of the Ukrainian armored program. In his opinion, having completed the production of the main tanks "Oplot-T" for Thailand, the industry must master the assembly of completely new equipment. S. Zgurets proposes to produce not only "Oplot-M" vehicles for his own army, but also promising models with increased characteristics.

Object 477A Molot

Object 477 (known as Molot ["Hammer"], Buntar ["Rebel"] , Bokser ["Boxer"], and Nota ["Note"]) was a Soviet and Ukrainian experimental main battle tank with a turret without a crew. Developed at HKBM. OO Morozova (main development), the Design Bureau of Kharkov Mechanical Engineering, the gun was developed by CNDI "Petrel", and was manufactured at the Design Bureau (KB-3) of the Kirov plant in Russia.

The history of the project began in the early 1980s, when the Kharkiv Design Bureau on its own initiative began work on a promising tank with a current gun at the time in the 152-mm 2A73. Subsequently, state funding was received under this program. However, the early product did not work - the tank, according to the developers, should be literally stuffed with electronics and have a thermal imager, but the Soviet industry due to the chronic backlog could not give them. As a result, in 1987, the first prototype was rolled out without a sighting complex and a machine gun (which could not be brought to mind). As a result, in 1989-1990, work continued, in 1992, state tests of the experimental batch of machines were planned.

In 1990, the GBTU of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR considered the technical proposals of the three Soviet design bureaus for the implementation of the program of creating a promising tank of the future. The projects were represented by: HKBM (facility 477), KB LKZ (facility 299) and UKBTM (facility 187). Among them, object 477 Molot was chosen as the most promising. In 1992-1993, the first prototype of object 477 was created. It was not mass-produced. Naturally, the collapse of the Soviet Union put a bold cross on this program, and all developments stopped.

Special secrecy covered the work of Soviet tank builders, because the tank was fundamentally new. The first prototype of this machine was built more than a quarter of a century ago and for the entire time of its existence was considered the most guarded, first Soviet, and then Ukrainian military secret. As has been repeatedly mentioned, during the entire existence of this machine, even the inferior snapshot of this machine has not been made public. This development was classified as secret. And if the whole world knew about the Oplot tank, the majority of the inhabitants of Ukraine knew little about the Molot. Due to the fact that part of the materials on the tank that was created got to the British, there was a change in the code of the DCR, index of work and adjustment of TTZ.

Of course, before the appearance of the "Hammer", both in the Soviet Union and abroad, there were development of tanks of various weight categories with an uninhabited turret, but in Kharkov they began to create a machine that would make it possible to carry out a qualitative separation from Western competitors. The most unusual thing was that the tank was armed with a powerful 152-mm cannon. The shell fired from it did not give any chance of surviving not only modern Western vehicles, such as the Leopard-2 and M-1, but also promising tanks. The original automatic loading system made it possible to fire with a phenomenal rate of fire up to 14 rounds per minute. For the first time, a tank information control system and an on-board computer were to be installed on the "Molot" on domestic vehicles. And, theoretically, this tank in terms of command control had to meet the best world standards.

The tank was made of multilayer combined armor using built-in dynamic protection of the new generation. The tank is also equipped with a complex of active protection and optoelectronic suppression of the "Curtain". Combined armor in its characteristics provided protection equivalent to at least 1200 mm of homogeneous armor from armor-piercing sub-caliber shells (excluding dynamic protection) and equivalent to at least 1800 mm of homogeneous armor from cumulative ammunition (excluding dynamic protection).

The tank is equipped with a two-stroke 6TD F engine , which in the future was to be replaced by its forced version 6TD-3, with a capacity of 1500 hp. The running gear of the car consisted of 7 support rollers on each side. Object 490, Object 477, Object 477A, ??Object 477A1, Object 477A2, Object 477B, Object 477B were machines with two-stroke diesels and a running gear with elements borrowed from T-64, machines with gas turbine engines on the T-80 platform, various hybrids, for example, on one of the experimental samples in the chassis combined rollers from the T-64 and caterpillars from the T-72.

The joint work of Russian and Ukrainian engineers led to the appearance of ten prototypes, which were tested both in Ukraine and in Russia. The main advantage of the 477A was the uninhabited turret. She had a small volume, which was occupied by the barrel box. Such a silhouette of the turret was hardly noticeable, and therefore more difficult to get into it.

“In the military industry there is such a term: "we have worked out a technical solution,” Russian military historian Alexei Leonkov explained. "That is, there was an idea, it was implemented in metal. Then they tested it and made a conclusion. In this case, such a turret does not bring the desired effect. The main problem is reloading. Because of this, the project was abandoned in the Union. But can this really stop the Ukrainians, who are preoccupied with profit and propaganda? They did not find anything better how to create a virtual dummy in 3D graphics, passing it off as a real project, for which, allegedly, ten samples were made! And who saw them?"

It all came down, of course, to the backwardness of Soviet electronics industry. This disease significantly complicated the work of the designers of the fire control system. On the tank, the commander and gunner-operator planned to install sights with seven channels, including thermal, television and radar. Targets identified on the battlefield were to be accompanied by a special automated device. However, according to the people who took part in the development of the fire control system, many of the components of the sights were very raw and required significant rework.

About a dozen prototypes were collected, which differed in configuration and various design features, and a plant for the construction of serial equipment was also created at the plant. Most of these tanks remained in Kharkiv, while several were transferred to Russia for study at their own test ranges. Tests showed that reloading became the main problem of the Object 477 tank. In a small turret, it was difficult to make a full-fledged automatic loader. To do this, it was necessary to increase the size of the turret, and this is a completely different tank.

Russia then decided to abandon the project in favor of its own developments and stopped funding. This decision put an end to the history of a promising project for the second time. But this did not stop the Ukrainian designers. Ukraine could not continue to work on its own, so the project had to be frozen. For some time they tried to find a foreign investor, but to no avail. They continued to improve the project, adding the index 1.477A1 according to the drawings received a new aiming system equipped with a thermal imaging channel, a coaxial 7.62 machine gun and a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. As well as a complex of dynamic protection and optoelectronic suppression "Shtora".

One prototype is stored in the village of Klugino-Bashkirivka (Kharkiv region).

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Nota MBT

The development of Soviet engineers who worked on the creation of the 477A project in the mid-1980s was taken as the basis for "Nota". The tank received the designation "477A1" and the name "Nota". Despite the sharp decline in pace, work continued. The customer for the new project was the Russian Ministry of Defense. The main developer was KMDB. The surge of interest in the topic of the tank dates back to the mid-1990s, when Kharkiv designers were offered to work for the Russian Ministry of Defense. The existing "Object 477A" was proposed to be modified using certain systems. In this form, the tank received the designation "477A1" and a new proper name "Note". The most important feature of the tank was the original half-mounted placement of the gun. Instead of the traditional tower on the chassis of the hull there was a dome of reduced size with a large central unit, inside which were the breech of the gun and automatic loader.

At the same time, ammunition casettes ["drum shops}, or rather, even three, became an important feature. In the center of the combat unit was a consumable drum for 10 shots. At the sides were two more, 12 shells each. There were also means for reloading ammunition from replenishment drums into consumables, as well as for sending shots into the gun chamber. The proposed design of the loading machine had certain shortcomings, but was simple, and also allowed to make the first shot in just 4 seconds.

Kharkiv laid in the project "Note" a unique for its time weapons control system, which included sights with different optical and thermal channels, developed on-board computer, satellite navigation system, target recognition, etc. A new tracking machine was developed goals, the possibility of supplementing optical devices with a radar station was studied.

Project "Nota", being a further development of "Boxer" / "Hammer", retained a number of fundamentally new ideas and solutions for tank building. So, the hull was proposed to be built according to the traditional scheme, but with the placement of the entire crew under the protection of the sides and roof. Accordingly, a tower was used with maximum automation of control processes and preparation for a shot. The frontal part of the hull received modular booking with a total thickness of about 1 m. The sides were protected by a complex of five different means. Provided for the use of dynamic and active protection.

It should be noted that obtaining the highest technical and combat characteristics led to an excessive increase in mass. To keep this parameter at an acceptable level, some of the steel parts had to be replaced with titanium ones - light but expensive. And even after that "Hammer" and "Nota" barely fit into the mass requirements. Directly behind the frontal armor inside the hull were placed the control compartment (at the left side) and one of the fuel tanks (on the right). The central compartment of the hull was given over to the fighting compartment, which accommodated two crew members and automatic loading. The feed was traditionally given for power units.

A characteristic feature of the "Note" and its predecessors was an elongated seven-wheel chassis. On each side there were seven road wheels with individual torsion bar suspension and hydraulic shock absorbers. The presence of the seventh pair of rollers made it possible to compensate for the increase in the size of the hull.

A crew of three was supposed to drive the combat vehicle. In front of the hull there was a driver. In the fighting compartment, next to the automatic loader, were the gunner and the commander. All crew members had their own hatches in the roof of the hull and the dome of the tower, equipped with viewing devices. All tanks of the "477" family were distinguished by their large dimensions, and the "Object 477A1" was no exception. The length of the vehicle with the cannon in front exceeded 10.5 m, the height was about 2.5 m. The width was limited by the requirements of railway transport. For comparison, the main tanks of the previous generation had a length of less than 9.5 m with a height of up to 2.3 m.The mass of the armored vehicle came close to the maximum permissible 50 tons.

Work on the Object 477A1 tank continued until the beginning of the 2000s. Then Russia decided to abandon this project. Probably, this decision was due to the desire to concentrate all efforts on the development of their own enterprises, such as "Object 195" or "Object 640". The refusal of the Russian side actually put an end to the history of a promising project. Ukraine could not continue work on its own, and therefore the project had to be frozen.

The tank with high performance is proposed to be rebuilt in accordance with current requirements and technological capabilities. Thus, the 152-mm gun should be replaced with a 140 mm caliber system developed in NATO countries. The onboard equipment must be rebuilt using modern element base. The machine may need modern control electronics, optoelectronic systems, protective equipment, etc. Where to get them in the current situation is a question without an acceptable answer. The Ukrainian industry is able to provide some of the required components, but they may have to be modified in accordance with the requirements of "Nota".

Nota MBTOnly a single piece of computer graphics is available for the Nota. The most visible difference between the two projects is the addition of the Oplot-stype reactive armor ring aroudn the turret. Another visible difference is the use of six road wheelsk, versus the seven road whelels on the earlier Object 477 design. The frontal armor glacis on the Object 477 was raised above the tread fenders, whereas on the Nota the glacis is lower than the fender tops. There are a number of other minor differences in the configuratio of sensors on the turret. The main problem, however, is the image is of the T-64BM Bulat, and had been widely circulated online as such.

Only in 2015, Kharkiv residents began to actively promote the issue of bringing the "Notes" into order in order to expand serial production and adopt the Ukrainian army. Apparently, some funding was found, as they even wanted to show the model at the parade in honor of Independence Day in 2016, then, according to some reports, moved to the 2018 parade.

All this was embodied in a 3-D model, which was called the "Armata" killer, the "Nota" tank. The Nota will be equipped with a 152 mm caliber cannon. According to Berezutsky, the 152mm caliber was more liked by specialists from Saudi Arabia, who "became interested in the tank and expressed their intention to purchase it." He also said that "Nota" will become the basis for Ukrainian tank production, which will also interest the European buyer. That is, again the same reports that could be heard about Oplot. The only difference is that the T-62, planned for alteration, actually exists at the sites of the Kharkov Armored Plant. That "Nota", this is just a 3-D model, which was passed off as a real tank.

According to Leonkov, this "show-off" has been going on since 2014, when Kiev took the direction of joining NATO. The country's political leadership has announced that they will produce weapons that can withstand Russian weapons. To which Moscow demonstrated a brand new "Armata", in which elements from a joint project were present. Since then, numerous "Hammers", "Oplot", "Oplot-T" began to appear from the Ukrainian side. And now a new tank "Nota". “Not a single project has yet been brought to at least the stage of mass production. But at the same time, the whole world saw how the tank structure in Ukraine died completely,” Leonkov said.

On 28 November 2020, on the air of the "Line of Defense" program, broadcast on Ukrainian TV, an armored vehicle specialist Sergei Berezutsky said that the tank industry of Ukraine has launched the production of another "fighter" of the Russian T-14 tank, codenamed "Nota" According to Berezutsky, the Saudi Arabian military has already become interested in the Ukrainian vehicle, impressed by "impressive armor and a powerful cannon."

Now the same is repeated with a new project. The Ukrainian expert says that the entire body of the tank has powerful armor, and the frontal part is “rolled up” into an armored module, one meter thick. Reactive armor on the tank is located in a circle. The engine has a capacity of 1500 horsepower and is a gas turbine. The mass does not exceed fifty tons. The crew will consist of three people, and it will be located outside the turret, which, like the T-14, is uninhabited.

But as Leonkov told in an interview given to the MK newspaper, several dozen of such "killers" of the Russian Armata have already been presented around the world. "Nota" became the second in a row in Ukraine. The title of "first" was previously awarded to another tank, a deeply modernized Soviet T-62, which was renamed "Oplot". The Oplot was planned to be equipped with a NATO caliber cannon. It was assumed that the tank would be interested in Western European countries. But, however, everything remained at the level of assumptions.

According to Leonkov, all that Ukrainian tank builders are capable of is to make repairs on the basis of those spare parts that were left in abundance on unnecessary tanks. And the work itself raises quesitons about the quality of the workforce. Tanks break down right on the battlefield, as evidenced by the abandoned T-62 and T-72B1 due to technical malfunctions in the Ethiopian civil war. The situation is no better in the ATO zone, where cars have no less breakdowns than in Africa. But here at least there are no problems with spare parts.

As for the Ukrainian 152 mm barrels, the Ukrainians tried to establish their own production of guns for the T-64. After Ukraine broke off all relations with Russia, guns became an inaccessible luxury for Ukrainian tank builders. They have always been produced by the Russian side. But this did not stop the Ukrainians from producing several of their trunks. Here, however, the resource of such a weapon was three times less, and some exploded during test shooting. On this, production was turned off.

Leonkov said "This, it seems to me, is akin to suicide - it is life-threatening to shoot from such a gun. Add to this the lack of adequate ammunition production in Ukraine. Almost all of it remained on the territory of Russia. As a result, we get naked and very crudely tailored propaganda, cheek puffing, behind which there is nothing. Is that the appeal - "give us money, we will quickly master it", - summed up the expert.

The Russian expert recalls: the projects not only did not budge, but over the past six years the tank building itself in Ukraine has completely died. "All that they can afford today is the remaining tank factories - current repairs and support for the fleet that they have left. And even then it is often very bad - large losses of tanks due to poor quality of repairs and details speaks volumes about this. What kind of production of new tanks is there? Therefore, the next statement that they will make a super tank and the killer of the "Armata" is pure propaganda. Ukraine now has no technical ability to create something new. Plus, there are few experienced engineering and design personnel.

During the entire period of independence, Ukraine, having a closed cycle of tank production, has not been able to "roll out" a completely new model. All that was - "Strongholds" (including in the Thai version), "Bulat", T-72AG, E and so on - just one or another modification of Soviet equipment - T-64, T-72 and T-80. And this suited everyone quite well - the state sold out the fleet of allegedly unnecessary Armed Forces T-72 at a frantic pace, a few armored plants were engaged in pre-sale overhauls of this equipment. And the people of Kharkiv were developing various modernization options in the hope that they would be allowed to enter the Eastern European market - after all, at first the "young Europeans" talked a lot about converting equipment to NATO standards.

It should be noted that Ukraine may face serious problems in trying to establish serial production of the tank. Thus, with proper funding, "ZiM" will lead to the path of 6TD3, HCBM adapts the design, especially since all the documentation remained in Kharkov. But who will undertake to create a gun control system - is unclear. After all, it is obvious that it will have to be done "from scratch" on a new element base. And this is a very serious task, which could not be solved in the USSR, when the project employed a huge number of companies from all over the country. Another problem may be the creation of a team - because even when throwing a lot of money into the project to create a backbone is quite difficult, especially with the current salaries at the enterprises of "Ukroboronprom".

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