T-95 (Objekt 775) main battle tank
Notes: This MBT project was undertaken by the JSC Uralvagonzavod organization in Nizhiny Tagil, Russia. Currently a manufacturer of railroad cars and liquid storage systems, it was looking to regain the MBT preeminence it held when it built the T-34 during WWII.
This design was apparently, to some degree or another, in competition with the Objekt 640 “Black Eagle” design, which is less advanced but much cheaper and less technologically-risky.
The designation “T-95” is not official to either NATO or the Russian army; it dates back to a 1995 news article where the existence of a new tank design was theorized. The Russian Federation army denied the design existed until 2000. It was publicly discussed in an official setting for the first time in 2005.
The weight, originally estimated at 50 tons, is now generally accepted to have been 55 tons. The low-profile turret is unmanned, with the crew contained in an armored capsule below.
At first there was disagreement as to whether the main gun would be 135mm or 152mm; it is now universally accepted to have been a smoothbore 152mm gun/ATGM launcher, with 40 rounds carried. The gun is autoloaded as with all Soviet/Russian tanks since WWII. The barrel would have had a thermal sleeve, fume extractor, and droop indicator, and be NBC-sealed at the breech. The ATGM would seemingly need to be a new design, as the AT-8 “Songster” and AT-11 “Sniper” would be too small unless some kind of bore liner is incorporated.
The armour was described as “a classified ceramic-fibre” which may either be interpreted as a ceramics/composites mix or (less likely) a ceramic-woven synthetics spall design. The Arena active armour system is carried above the turret. Relikt (or Kaktus, as seen on the Black Eagle) ERA bricks would also have been fitted.
The T-95 is said to have had 360-degree EO capability, with LLTV, IR, and night vision capability for the gunner. A Type 1G46 laser rangefinder would have been fitted. Several Russian reports state that the T-95 would have a short range gunnery radar and ESM. The Ainet system would be carried; this remotely detonates HE-Frag rounds above the intended target. Defensively, the TShU-1-7 Shtora-1 system would be carried; this disrupts the guidance of ATGMs such as TOW or MILAN.
The T-95 had a three man crew which in itself is typical of East Bloc MBTs, however the composition in the T-95’s case may be unique. A combo of commander/gunner/driver would be normal, but some reports stated that in the T-95, the commander’s and gunner’s roles were to be merged and the third crewman was an electronics operator. Other accounts state that there is a driver and two co-commanders/gunners who can each duplicate the other’s tasks. According to one Russian report, the crewman’s helmets were to be of a high tech design incorporating features such as virtual reality glasses for the driver, helmet-controlled turret slewing for the gunner, etc. This makes sense to some degree as the “crew capsule” concept would preclude traditional viewports and visual gunsights.
A diesel-electric power plant was planned; selected perhaps in disgust with the turbine-powered T-80’s fuel consumption rate in Chechnya. This arrangement would also provide optimal electricity for the T-95’s electronics.
A concept for a tank like this originated with the Kirov Vehicle Design Bureau in Leningrad about 1986 or 1987. After the collapse of the USSR, the project was re-allocated to JSC Uralvagonzavod. When the project began in the 1980s, it was planned for an in-service date of 1994. This was later pushed back to 1995, then 2000, then 2009, and then 2010. In July 2008, the Rosoboronzakaz (Russian agency for issuing state contracts) reiterated the 2010 date. However back in 2005, LtGen Lkadislav Polonsky had told a Kubinka newspaper that the T-95 (which he referred to as “the 5th generation tank”) would enter service in eight years which would be 2013. This would seem to agree with other Russian statements that the T-80 and all earlier designs would be out of Russian service between 2015-2025.
According to the “Russian Arms” website, a developmental vehicle was used for proof-of-concept testing in the mid-2000s. In 2009, a blurry photograph of the supposed prototype was shown, however it could have been just about anything.
Inside the Russian Federation army, enthusiasm for this project was somewhat lukewarm. During the 2008 South Ossetia war, T-72s (upgraded with Kontakt-5 ERA and the Katherine The Great EO gunsight) performed excellently. The Russian army estimates that the chances of meeting modern MBTs like the M-1 Abrams are low, whereas the odds of another Chechnya or South Ossetia-style conflict are much greater. In those instances, cheap, reliable, and already-proven tanks are more valuable.
On 5 April 2010, The Russian Federation’s Deputy Defense Minister, Vladimir Popovkin, announced that the T-95 had been cancelled and that further Russian tank development would concentrate on modernizations of the T-90 design instead. The BMPT tank repair vehicle, which was expected to complement the T-95 in service, was cancelled the same day.