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Old 10-27-2022, 06:57 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Default Soviet Missile Tanks

Rather than clutter the Best That Never Was thread with all of these, I'm starting a new thread instead. These are the weird and wacky world of 1950s-60s Soviet technology trying to replace large-caliber gun tanks with guided (mostly) missiles.

The first vehicle is Object 757, which was built in 1958 or 1959 on a modified T-10M (IS-10) chassis with a launcher for the KL-8 Sprut missile. The Sprut was a 1.7-meter long, 130mm diameter missile that used radio guidance to get within range of its infrared seeker, at which point the seeker took over terminal guidance. In addition to the missile launcher, it had a 14.5mm PKVT and 7.62mm SMGT. The Sprut missile was incredibly slow, not terribly effective, and the guidance system never really worked well. The DIFF targeting difficulty should probably be closer to IMP, but this is a "what if it worked as planned" design. Also note the vehicle cannot shoot-and-scoot, because infrared light from the tank's spotlight reflecting off the target is what the missile (hopefully) homes in on. And finally, because the missile uses radio and IR guidance in series, it's vulnerable to jamming, smoke, and flares.

Object 757
Fire Control: 0
Armament: KL-8 Sprut ATGM, PKVT, SGMT
Ammunition: 18 missiles, 700x14.5mm, 1500x7.62mm
Fuel Type: D, A
Veh Wt: 44 tonnes
Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Mnt: 15
Night Vision: Active IR (G)
Tr Mov: 182/127
Com Mov: 30/21
Fuel Cap: 600
Fuel Cons: 300
Config: Veh
Susp: T:6
TF: 120, TS: 25, TR: 20
HF: 90, HS: 22, HR: 19

KL-8 Sprut
Missile caliber: 130mm
Guidance: Radio MCLOS initial, IR terminal
Missile speed: 180
Reload 2, HEAT warhead, Min Range 500, Max Range 5000, Damage C14 B26, Pen 71C, Difficulty DIFF

Within a few years of the missile's development, a more effective warhead would likely have been developed with Damage C17 B29 and Pen 97C.
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Old 10-27-2022, 09:32 PM
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This is gonna be a good ride.

Were the Soviet missile tank projects influences on the American thinking that led to the M60A2 and M551?

- C.
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Old 10-27-2022, 10:27 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
This is gonna be a good ride.

Were the Soviet missile tank projects influences on the American thinking that led to the M60A2 and M551?

- C.
I don't think so, because the development of the Shillelagh started at pretty much the same time as Object 757 was being developed, with the original designs being submitted to the US Army in June 1959. Both sides seem to have been driven by the development of shaped-charge technology in the 1940s and the realization that armor was developing to the point where KE penetrators would need very large, heavy guns in order to be effective at any range beyond a knife fight. Shaped charges needed a large diameter but not a high velocity to penetrate armor, so a low velocity launch was acceptable. However, since that made it inaccurate at long range, guidance became a priority, hence guided missiles being looked at in lieu of simpler unguided rockets.
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Old 10-29-2022, 07:29 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Our next vehicle is Object 282, another late-1950s tank destroyer, where a decent bit is known about the vehicle but the missile is rather more speculative because NII-48 never actually finished making one. The Salamandra (Salamander) was intended to be a 1.55 meter long missile with a 170mm warhead diameter, with a SACLOS guidance system that used radio signals and a small radar system to maneuver the missile to the gunner's aiming point, rather than the manual guidance with automatic terminal attack of the Sprut.

Like Object 757, Object 282 is said to have been built onto a lightened T-10M chassis. This is almost certainly not the same chassis, since Object 757 will reappear in a few years. It mounted a 1000 horsepower engine, which gave it a quite high power to weight ratio. A pair of pop-up launchers were fitted in the rear corners where the original tank had fuel containers. The right-hand launcher was a rail, while the left-hand launcher was a tube, as part of the test was seeing which launch system performed better. I haven't found any mention of secondary armament, which is plausible if this was solely a technology test bed with no intent to enter serial production.

Road speed was claimed to be 55 km/h, which was used with the P/W ratio to estimate off-road speed. Fuel capacity and consumption are estimates (I used the base fuel number for the T-10M from Paul's site, excluding the additional fuel). The missile's maximum range is the program goal and damage is based on a TL-6 HEAT warhead of 170mm, with everything else being a guess.

Object 282
Fire Control: 0
Armament: Salamandra ATGM
Ammunition: 16 missiles (some sources say 20-24)
Fuel Type: D, A
Veh Wt: 44 tonnes
Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver)
Mnt: 15
Night Vision: Active IR (G)
Tr Mov: 154/123
Com Mov: 25/20
Fuel Cap: 600
Fuel Cons: 400
Config: Veh
Susp: T:6
HF: 90, HS: 22, HR: 19

Salamandra
Missile caliber: 170mm
Guidance: Radio SACLOS
Missile speed: 300 (? - estimate because missile was never completed)
Reload 2, HEAT warhead, Min Range 500, Max Range 3000, Damage C24 B34, Pen 95C, Difficulty DIFF
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Old 10-30-2022, 11:26 AM
LoneCollector1987 LoneCollector1987 is offline
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Where they able to fire more than one missile at a time?

(I ask because last night I rewatched an episode of Robotech and then its missile time, you know 1.000 missiles - and at least one will hit.)
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Old 10-30-2022, 08:18 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneCollector1987 View Post
Where they able to fire more than one missile at a time?

(I ask because last night I rewatched an episode of Robotech and then its missile time, you know 1.000 missiles - and at least one will hit.)
I haven't seen anything about that, but I suspect the answer is no. Since it was a SACLOS system using radar to detect the missile and radio commands to steer it to the target, having two missiles in the air at the same time would mean sending the same command to both missiles and I'm not sure how good the sensors were, so it might not be able to tell the missiles apart. The only reason it had two launchers was because the Soviets wanted to test a rail system against a tube system, and the T-10M chassis had enough space to fit both on one vehicle.
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Old 10-31-2022, 05:49 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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Multi-missile sprays aren't a thing (yet) with ATGM systems. As Vespers War already stated, SACLOS (and MACLOS of course, too) systems don't support this. You would either need multiple transmitters or wires to guide multiple missiles, or support commanding several missiles at once in a different way, e. g. frequency hopping, digital commands with each missile owning a different address etc.

Fire and forget missiles make this easier, but you still need to make sure all missiles know their intended target. Otherwise, you might waste multiple missiles on the same target with other targets "going empty".

Also, until so far, ATGM designers focussed on getting target acquisition right as this basically meant safe kills. Why shoot twice or more often, if one hit guarantees the kill? Only with (hard-kill) active protection systems on targets might saturation attacks prove an effective and efficient vector.

With the borders between ATGM, armed drones and loitering munitions or even active mines blurring, swarm/saturating attacks will become a thing. This has already started. For T2K that's still scifi, though.
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Old 11-01-2022, 10:44 AM
LoneCollector1987 LoneCollector1987 is offline
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Thanks for your answers.

You see, I had a nagging thought and remembered something and looked it up:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/AWG-9
The AN/AWG-9 and AN/APG-71 radars are all-weather, multi-mode X band pulse-Doppler radar systems used in the F-14 Tomcat, and also tested on TA-3B.[1] It is a very long-range air-to-air system with the capability of guiding several AIM-54 Phoenix or AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles at the same time using its track while scan mode.

So, the AirForce can employ multiple missiles in the air at the same time, while ground forces cannot.
Ok, on the other hand, the Air Force has no trees, hills, etc in 5000 meter height. ;-)
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Old 11-01-2022, 02:10 PM
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Default Getting their wires crossed

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Originally Posted by LoneCollector1987 View Post
Ok, on the other hand, the Air Force has no trees, hills, etc in 5000 meter height. ;-)
Or wires. Most T2k-era ATGMs were wire guided- I imagine that would also preclude or at least further complicate volley fire. If wires of multiple missiles were to get tangled during the missiles' flight to the target, it could interfere with or cut the command input from the user, causing missiles to miss.

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Old 11-01-2022, 06:46 PM
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In addition to air-to-air radars generally having less concern about clutter, the AWG-9's also about a decade newer than the anti-tank systems described so far. IIRC, development started in 1968 and the first prototype was turned on in 1970. The APG-71 was a 1980s upgrade to fully digital systems for the radar.

The missile tank craze was a fairly brief one, running from 1958 to 1968, with the eventual solution being the gun-launched missile as introduced by Kobra/Songster in 1976. The combination MCLOS/IR KL-8 Sprut is going to be a one-off. Everything else from here on out is either SACLOS with radio guidance or unguided. The Soviets never went for a wire-guided ATGM on a tank, probably because reloading would have been a nightmare.
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Old 11-03-2022, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Or wires. Most T2k-era ATGMs were wire guided- I imagine that would also preclude or at least further complicate volley fire. If wires of multiple missiles were to get tangled during the missiles' flight to the target, it could interfere with or cut the command input from the user, causing missiles to miss.

-
That's a practical limitation, yes. But early SACLOS missile control units weren't even technically capable to have a connection with several missiles at the same time. It was always "connect the missile, respectively the wire spool, to the command unit, fire, guide, reload". Shared connections almost certainly need a digital guidance system and digital missiles, so they can be controlled separately.

Also, target acquisition of a F-14 was done by the radar. A TOW has a nice optic, but the gunner does the target acquisition. So, as long as there is only one gunner and one optic, there will be only one target that he could aim, track and guide the missile into.
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Old 11-03-2022, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vespers War View Post
The Soviets never went for a wire-guided ATGM on a tank, probably because reloading would have been a nightmare.
Reloading is not a problem, just a hassle. What kills the concept is that these wires are extremely fragile. So launching them out of barrel almost certainly means they would snap. With the spool or connection made to something that would have to stay in the tank, there would be almost no way for the wires not to connect to the barrel front once the tank moves, rotates the turret or elevates or depresses the barrel. Especially, when one considers the stabilization of gun systems of this earlier era.

So, suddenly one has a tank that cannot move for 5-10 seconds. It can also not reload or shoot, since the wires are still connected to the gun system somehow (e. g. a spool winding of wire sits in the breach). Eere the point Vespers War made becomes relevant. That's not only absurdly dangerous, it's also completely against Soviet doctrine.

The Soviets emphasized large scale armored formations, driving forward constantly with later tanks mopping up remaining enemy vehicles and emplacements not destroyed by previous waves. Soviet C2 also was notoriously bad, so a tank stopping for its missile to be guided properly into an enemy tank would not only be a sitting duck, unable to shoot onto a target presenting itself or gearing up for a shot. Such a stopped tank would also break formation, disturb command and control of its formation and thus wave, creating an obstacle for later waves and would later need to rejoin its original wave.

An IR guidance system a better idea, as is radio guidance, which is used by the AT-8 Songster (9K112 Kobra). However, what seems to be most precise is a laser guidance system, as the later developed AT-11 Sniper (9M119 Svir/Refleks) uses. Still, all these SACLOS methods need to keep the gunner, looking, and quite often the barrel pointing, in direction of the target. So these weapons are rarely used on the offense. For such usage, fire-and-forget missiles are needed.
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Old 11-07-2022, 05:29 PM
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To help illustrate why missile tanks were a thing, here's what the British thought they needed to defeat the IS-3. They believed the front armor on the IS-3 would be immune to the rifled 120mm on the M103 and the Conqueror (it wasn't, but they thought it would be). Thus, they went big. No, bigger. No, even bigger than that - they took the Conqueror hull and slapped on the 7.2" howitzer to make a 183mm tank gun. The gun was only outfitted with HESH ammunition in two-piece format, with a 72.5 kilogram shell and 33 kilogram propellant charge. While the tank version was never built, the FV4005 tank destroyer tested the gun, but before the tank version could be manufactured the introduction of the Malkara ATGM with its 203mm HESH warhead launched from Humber Hornets made it clear the entire concept would rapidly become obsolete.

FV215
Fire Control: +1
Stabilization: None
Armament: 183mm L4, M2 roof mount, M1919 coaxial
Ammo: 20x183mm, 950x12.7mm, 6000x7.62mm
Fuel Type: G, A
Veh Wt: 66 tonnes
Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, 2 loaders, driver)
Mnt: 22
Night Vision: Headlights
Tr Mov: 90/54
Com Mov: 15/9
Fuel Cap: 1137
Fuel Cons: 500
Config: Veh
Susp: T:6
HF: 75
HS: 15Sp
HR: 10
TF: 76
TS: 5
TR: 5

183mm L4
Rld: 4 Rng: 325
HESH: C:54 B:37, Pen 34C
Note: reload is with 2 loaders. With 1, double reload time to 8.
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Old 11-15-2022, 09:50 PM
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Once it became apparent that Object 282 would not be receiving any Salamander missiles, the question became what to do with the dual-launcher platform. It was decided to use the vehicle's two launchers to test two different anti-tank rockets. Not missiles. Unguided rockets. The Soviets very optimistically expected to take out enemy tanks at ten kilometers with unguided rockets. The only official statement I've seen is that the fire control system was inadequate. Given that hitting a target with an unguided projectile at ten kilometers would be a near-miracle today, I'm pretty sure that fire control system was doing its early 1960s best, and that its best was nowhere near good enough.

The two rockets tested on the updated Object 282T were the 132mm TRS-132 and the TRS-152, which (surprise!) was 152mm. The test vehicle had two drum magazines, one on the right with 6 TRS-152 and one on the left with 8 TRS-132. There were also 5 and 7 rockets of each type respectively stored under the turret as reloads. The vehicle could also be fitted to carry just one type of rocket, with either 22 TRS-152 or 30 TRS-132 - some sources mention a centrally-mounted launch rail for this, but I've never seen a photograph or drawing of that, so it may have just been a concept.

The basic vehicle stats are the same as the previously-posted Object 282, but replace the missile launcher with the following weapons:

TRS-132
DF Range 300, C14 B27, Pen 72C, Indirect Fire 7000

TRS-152
DF Range 400, C19 B31, Pen 84C, Indirect Fire 10000

The DF ranges are semi-wild guesses loosely based on Paul's Artillery Rockets page. Indirect Fire range is the intended maximum range. Damage and penetration are at TL-6 (1950) levels. At TL-7 (1970), the TRS-132 would be C17 B29, Pen 99C and the TRS-152 C23 B33, Pen 115C.

Honestly, if given HE warheads instead of HEAT, these probably wouldn't have been terrible rocket artillery platforms. They'd be heavy and expensive, but able to stay with tank units on the assault. As anti-tank systems they suffer from using unguided projectiles for long-range attacks.
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Old 11-20-2022, 07:12 PM
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Now we get to my favorite of the missile tanks and the reason I started this thread, Object 287. The Soviets finally gave up on modifying old heavy tanks, and built this on the hull of a T-64. Removing the gun turret and replacing it with an extremely low-profile rotating platform cut the weight to 36.5 tonnes. The main armament was a pop-up launcher for 9M15 Taifun missiles, with 15 of the missiles on board. Secondary armament was a pair of 73mm 2A25 Molniya low-pressure launchers, which have been described as very similar to the BMP-1ís 2A28 Grom, possibly with shorter barrels (Iíve used Paulís stats for the Grom with a slightly reduced range for the Molniya below). Each launcher had 16 rounds available in a pair of 8-round drums. Finally, each Molniya had a coaxial PKT machine gun, with 1500 rounds each. The missile launcher is vertically stabilized, to allow at least some sort of firing on the move. The tank was not accepted due to poor performance Ė out of 45 test firings of Taifun, only 16 hit their target, with 8 misses, 18 failures of the system, and 3 unrecorded results.

The one key thing that makes me like this one is they finally accepted the fact that ATGMs would have a minimum effective range and the missile tank would need something to protect itself in a knife fight. The twin Molniya launchers probably arenít the most mass-effective way to get that protection, but itís an attempt to address the problem.

Fire Control: +1
Armament: 9M15 Taifun pop-up launcher, 2x 73mm Molniya, 2x PKT
Ammo: 15x140mm missile, 32x73mm, 3000x7.62mm
Fuel Type: G, A
Veh Wt: 36.5 tonnes
Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Mnt: 18
Night Vision: Passive IR (D, G, C)
Tr Mov: 198/139
Com Mov: 31/21
Fuel Cap: 1000
Fuel Cons: 400
Config: Veh
Susp: T:6
TF: 69Sp
TS: 22Sp
TR: 12
HF: 86Sp
HS: 18Sp
HR: 10


9M15 Taifun
Missile caliber: 140mm
Guidance: Radio MCLOS
Missile speed: 250
Reload 2, HEAT warhead, Min Range 500, Max Range 4000*, Damage C19 B31, Pen 105C, Difficulty DIFF
*Max range at night is 1500 due to gunner night-vision limitations

2A25 Molniya
Rld 1, Range 225
HE C:8 B:20, Pen 4C
HEAT C:5 B:15, Pen 51C
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