Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

This tank can be considered a symbol of the nuclear war that never happened. Its construction is optimal for opposing to shock waves, four-crawler track undercarriage – to move in the conditions of a nuclear winter…

Heavy tank “Object 279” was unique and had no competitors. It had an unusual ellipsoidal shape protecting the tank from overturning if hit by a shock wave of a nuclear explosion.

Let’s have a closer look at the vehicle.

Unique Nuclear War TankUnique Nuclear War Tank

Object 279 became of the models to replace T-10 tank. It was designed in 1957 by the Kirov factory  according to the requirements of the Soviet Army. It was intended for defence penetration and combat actions in barely passable localities.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

The tank had a cast body with differentiated armoring.

Being assembled from four cast elements, the body was covered with a slat armor along the perimeter that made it look ellipsoidal. Under armor hull volume was reduced to the maximum (11, 47m3), the armor thickness was absolutely unique – the front armor was 192 mm thick, the side one – up to 182 mm. The cast turret had a round armor 305 mm thick excluding the hull back.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

The tank was armed with a 130 mm weapon M-65 and a 14,55 gun (ецутен-four shots and 300 cartriges for the gun). The combat fire rate 5-7 shots per minute was provided by the team-work of the loading and cartrige semi-automatic devices.

The fire control system was provided with a stereoscopic rangefinder sight with visual field stabilization, a biplanar electrohydraulic stabilizer “Groza” and a full set of night vision devices.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Tank power package was made in two versions – diesel DG-1000, 950 hp at 2500 RPM and 2DG-8M – 1000 hp at 2400 RPM. Both engines are four-stroke, 16-cylinder, H-type ones. Tank transmission was unsual too, it was hydromechanical and has a planetary three-speed gearbox (automated gear change).

Unique Nuclear War Tank

But the most interesting component of the tank, that drew the eye first, was its four-crawler undercarriage.

The chassis was mounted on two longitudinal hollow beams that served as fuel tanks. Such construction provided a good cross-country ability on deep snow and saturated terrain.

The tank could easily overcome vertical obstacles, the average ground pressure was equal to 0,6 kgf/cm2 (close to the one typical for a light tank).

Unique Nuclear War Tank

In respect to one track mover the chassis consisted of six track rollers, three carrier rollers, one track adjusting wheel and a drive sprocket. Tha tank had an individual hydropneumatic adjustable suspension. Clearance was not important – the tank could overcome vertical obstacles without any risk to stuck with its bottom on them.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

The contact pressure factor was low too – only 0,6 kgf/m2, so the tank could move along deep snow and swampy areas. The disadvantages of the undercarriage were a poor maneuverability and increased resistance to motion. It was difficult to repair due to the complicate construction and inaccessibility of the inner pair of caterpillars.

Experimental prototype of the tank was made in 1959 and started to be tested but quite soon they realized that so expensive vehicle had no chances for serial production.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

A crew of the tank consisted of four persons, three of them – a commander, a gunlayer and a loader – were in the turret. The mechanic-driver had its place in the front part of the body, in the center where the hatch was located.

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Object 279 can be seen today in the Museum of Armored Vehicles in Kubinka (Moscow region).

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank

Unique Nuclear War Tank


35 thoughts on “Unique Nuclear War Tank”

  1. There is an expression that sometimes is/was used between Russian or Soviet engineers: this is an example of smashing victory of the engineering over the common sense 🙂

    A very interesting machine with great ideas that is so useless in practice. So I am not surprised that there never were any analogs for this machine anywhere in the world.

  2. Just imagine how much money was wasted on this crap in the time when most of the people of the Soviet Union did not have enough food or normal clothes

    • That is very true. I bet that builders of this battle tank were living in shared apartments, one or two rooms for one family. They had no cars and they traveled by crowded buses. They had poor clothes, food and appliances. And they were ready to fight for communism with all other world.

      • I see a couple of 5-year-old trolls having fun here again. Tanks like this were designed for the same purpose as elsewhere in the world, from Switzerland to Pakistan, – that is, to catch up with the most developed countries and increase the defensive potentialities of the Soviet Union. Soviet tank designers like Alexander Morozov were regularly awarded with numerous medals, money bonuses and the honorary title of “Hero of Socialist Labour”, were elected as deputies of the Supreme Soviet and had certain privileges – a car with driver, a second home, etc. It goes without saying that top-ranking spacecraft designers like Sergei Korolev, who had closer ties with the government, could have almost everything they wanted.

        • Alexander Morozov perhaps had car with driver and a second home. But the common people were living in barracks and had one street toilet for dozen families.

          • In case you don’t know, this tank was developed years after the death of Stalin, during the construction boom of the Khrushchev era, when “the common people” lived in apartment buildings or country houses, and old communal apartments (let alone the last remaining “barracks”, built as temporary housing before the 1960s) were being replaced with private ones. It was a time when mass production of household goods, TV sets, radios, refrigerators and furniture, reception and use of technical innovations among the common people, energy development, housing construction and living standards were all on their way up. Of course an extremely large and densely populated country that came through a civil war, a world war and democides in 1917-1953 lagged behind in terms of living standards, but it was not that backward as you expect it to be.

            • Moscow Desire, in case you don’t know, about a quarter of russian schools still have street toilets. And Stalin’s barracks are still alive. A lot of them you can find here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVd6ZvlfEvQ

              • Andrew, I already know that there is an extremely small and decreasing number of Stalin’s barracks that are still in residential use in Russia – I actually visited one during my stay in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, – as well as that there is a decreasing number of old schools with “street toilets” located in rural areas. This, however, does not cancel the fact that the vast majority of people in Russia live either in apartment buildings or country houses. And if you find it confusing that a country produces new weapons instead of spending its money entirely on housing construction, then I suggest that you take a look at Brazil: it has a large number of favelas in urban areas and a relatively high poverty rate but still designs and builds its own armoured vehicles, military aircrafts, rocket launchers, machine guns, assault rifles, anti-tank weapons, pistols and has one of the largest ammunition manufacturers in the world. Even Pakistan and India, despite their poor economic status, build their own weapons, have their own space agencies and launch their satellites.

                • What is Brazil to me? I’m living in Russia and I don’t need any weapon. May be only AK-47 for myself, but that is prohibited. At Putin’s time Russia got about 3.5 trillions of petrodollars. And Russians are still living in Stalin’s barracks. Yakutsk city, “diamond capital” of Russia, has a lot of them. What a shame!

                  • What does Putin’s Russia has to do with this old tank, anyway? As I have pointed out, all countries capable of building their own weapons are trying to build them in order to increase their defensive posture. As for the number of the remaining barracks, it is extremely small and decreasing – today, Russia builds more housing than it did in the 1980s and is eradicating the last remaining 2,8% of old and dilapidated houses inherited from the early Soviet times.

                    • What does Putin’s Russia has to do with 3.5 trillions of petrodollars, you meant? Putin’s posture isn’t defensive, it is offensive. Putin had 15 years and 3.5 trillions of petrodollars, but barracks still remain. While at the same time Putin has 20 palaces and mansions. And he has many expensive toys as Armata battle tank or Bulava rocket or T-50 fighter.

                    • Please, stop jumping from one subject to another; this thread is about the Soviet tank of 1957, not your perception of Russia or the last remaining barracks in Siberia. As for the rest of your message, I’ll reply shortly: Putin himself admitted in 2013 that the resettlement of people from the emergency housing is way too slow and urged the government to hasten the pace of work. I’m not denying that there is a problem with it or that this process needs to be significantly accelerated. “Putin’s posture” is defensive and aimed at improving the strategic security of your country – he is merely doing a minimal job of supporting Russia’s allies when they are mistreated by hostile, anti-Russian political regimes and has secured the access to the Black Sea. New weapons are not supposed to be toys – they help Russia to prevent its aging military equipment from becoming obsolete and help your country to have military parity with its potential foes, who are way more active in foreign policy and whose military expenditures are much higher than yours. But all that is a subject for a different essay.

          • No, you are not correct. I lived overseas in high school with my family, my father worked in the North Sea on semi submersible oil rigs. I took an Easter holiday trip to USSR with my class in school. While USSR was very different than the USA it was not so very different from a lot of Europe at that time. The apartment buildings were HUGE and there were mile after mile after mile of them in Leningrad and Moscow. I am sure the living was not luxurious but it was not a street toilet for a dozen families either. The Russian students we met at the two schools we visited were well fed although the variety of food may have been missing from their diet. Sure there were problems with distribution and I am sure it was not a great life but you should try to understand it instead of making it some weird story that is not based in the facts.

            • Jeff, there was big difference between large cities (like Moscow and Leningrad) and all other country. Fresh 2010 official stats: 25% russian families (35 millions people) have street toilets. 47 millions have no hot water supply. 29 millions have no cold water supply. More at http://www.trud.ru/article/04-12-2012/1285905_u_kazhdoj_chetvertoj_rossijskoj_semji_tualet_vo_dvore.html

  3. You make the mistake of thinking the money was burned up somehow. All of the funds went for material and labor, and that goes to the public through the factories. they pay the money out for labor and material, none of the money is in the tank

    • Yes those who labored to produce this tank received money,
      but they could not buy anything for these money, since tanks
      are not sold in groceries and you cannot eat or wear them

  4. I think if the shockwave is strong enough to flip a 40+ tons vehicle, then you’re close enough for steel to melt.

  5. A million dollar tank get sunk in the lake, how many rubles are in that tank? Not one single one as all of the rubles were given to the suppliers of the material and the labor. Unless you believe that the tank was full of paper rubles and they sank with the tank

    • They will receive the same amount of paper rubles, but they will be able to buy fewer useful items for these paper rubles, since they spent their time not on producing something that they can consume.

  6. A worker laying cement on a parking lot, gets paid for something that lies on the ground and produces nothing except parking space. the worker can spend his salary or payment for everything but parking as he does not have a car.
    Are their rubles worth less then the people who earn rubles producing consumer goods?

    the USA spent billions of dollars to put a man on the moon, and , today, there are no dollars on the moon! Where did the dollars go?

    • People produce not only goods but also services, both can be useful or not. The larger the proportion of people who produce useful services and goods, the better the society lives, the stronger the economy. The worker who is laying cement on the parking lot (probably asphalt or concrete, not cement) is providing a useful service, since his service is increacing efficiency of the operation of the business or the individual to whom this parking lot belongs (say, more people can use their cars to arrive to this location, saving their time, thus being more efficient).
      Yes USA spent millions of dollars on space programs and most of these money were wasted. I.e. these money could have been spent on something more useful. There are howerver several excuses. Some of these expenses had unpredicted byproducts in the form of new discoveries and new technologies like GPS that are used now and incerase operational efficiency of the economy. Tanks on the other hand do not increase efficiency of the economy and cannot be consumed thus they are pure waste of limited resources (resources are always limited). USSR collapsed because it had very inefficient economy – too many people were making useless crap like this tank.

  7. People have strange ideas. build a tank for $1,000,000 they actually think the money disappeared into the tank. All that is in the tank is electronics and metal, all of which were produced by workers who go paid for their work.
    Build a home for 41,000,000, all that is in the house is the materials and the labor, which were all paid for their work.
    The tank sits and cost nothing unless used. The government pays to store it, and maintain it.

    the house is sold, the purchase price goes to the seller, and the buyer gets to pay taxes , insurance , and maintenance on an on-going basis until it disappears and is scrapped.and the taxes go to maintain the tank!

    Which left the most money in the hands of the worker?

    Why is it better to buy the house for the economy?

  8. To me it looks like many people here arguing about the “wrong price” of such developments. Yes, the workers got paid for this development. But what benefits did this brought to the country? I mean, they tested it and then very soon it just became a “museum item”. For that price of development you could build some train locomotives, x-ray machines or homes that could be very useful for many people.

    Sure, sometimes you need to do some “throw away” prototypes to test some ideas or technologies. But to me it appear that it was clear from very beginning that this was bad idea. In many WWII movies including Russian/Soviet they were spelling out many times that German Tiger tank had a flaw – the complex chassis that was hard to maintain due to multiple overlapping wheels. And in this tank they hide a second set of tracks inside of the tank!
    I guess it happened like always in Soviets. Some “proud” and influential general decided to push his “genius” idea. Then a factory decided to accept this development because you get money from government to spend. It was common practice those times to burn all money that was given by government. If you would save some money one year (this was very very encourage by the government) then this would mean that the next year you would get a smaller amount of money for your developments. This is because you were supposed each year to perform better than the last year (used money vs. the amount of delivered good) – the communist party’s great ideas behind the soviet plan economy.

    • To me it seems that kids like you and the other infants “arguing about the “wrong price” of such developments” should grow up and pay a certain price for their education instead of spamming this and other pages with presumptuous, naïve and ignorant comments that have little to do with reality and add nothing to our knowledge of the subject. Every country that builds armoured vehicles has produced a number of experimental weapons that were considered to be too complicated for mass production or proven to be not effective enough. The United States, for example, built two prototypes of the 100-ton T28 Super Heavy Tank that never went into service but nonetheless served as a good experience for the tank designers that created them.

      “I guess it happened like always in Soviets. Some “proud” and influential general decided to push his “genius” idea”

      It shows how little you know about the Soviets; such things didn’t “always happen” in their country, actually. The new “idea” allowed this tank to be driven quicker through deep snow and wetlands, where other tanks could not venture, easily fight on cross country terrain and have an average ground pressure of only 0.6 kg / cm². To put it in a nutshell, the idea of having a four-track running gear had both advantages and disadvantages, but as usual you have no idea about that. I guess it happened like always: some “proud” and ignorant kid decided to share his “genius” idea and disguise himself like an expert in the field, but ultimately failed. What you little men should really care about is the amount of energy and time you waste on worthless world salad comments here and on other websites, not how much money was spent on building this tank.

      • The only person who is pretending to be expert is you. The others expressed their opinion, but I did not hear any of them saying that they are experts. So welcome to the sandbox to one more kid – that is you 🙂

        And I think I know quite well Soviets from my own first hand experience having witness both the official “idealistic” side and the reality of the Soviet life, both good and bad things of those times. But that is only my opinion and I have the right to express it and also to be wrong. If you do not like that – that is only your problem.

        • Darius, categorical judgements, offensive behaviour, pro-government viewpoint – these are sure signs of state propaganda staffer. You can never outargue him.

        • Oh darling, thanks for taking me to your playground, but I’m afraid I’m a bit too old for that sort of things. 🙂 What I “do not like” is when youngsters are criticizing what they have little knowledge about, that’s all.

          • Darius, ad hominem arguments, categorical judgements, false and utterly stupid claims, ignorance, anti-government viewpoint – these are sure signs of a anti-Russian propaganda staffer nicknamed “Andrew”. You can never outargue him.

  9. very different, good design if you don’t have to do the work on it. in the field, impossible, in the well equipped shop, no problem.much like american equipment.. theory-good reality,pain in the ass….

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