Created: 6/1/1984

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Soviet Tank Programs





A. Role of Tank in Soviet Concept of Land


Tanks and Nuclear War.

Technical, Tactical, Organizational, and Operational

The Future Role of Tank




It. Soviet Tank


First Postwar Tanknd

Second Postwarnd

II 14

6 IS




3 23

Soviet Medium Tank m

Tank Modernization

Armament and Fire 23


Future Soviet Tank 23

The Challenge of Future Antitank

Initial Soviet

Future Soviet Tank Development

Which Option Will the Soviets

Future Development Options and TechnologyTransfer and the Challenge to Tank


C Tank


Expansion and Modernization ol


Chelyabinsk Tractor

KiWkov Tank

Nizhniy Tagil Tank and Railroad Car Manufacturing

Omsk Tank


The Soviet Tank Force: Present and




Soviet Forces in the Far

The Strategic'

The Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact Tank Force: Present and


Eaport of Soviet and Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact


ANNEX A: Trends in Soviet Tank Gun


. tragi


Tbc Soviets continue to regard the lank as the most important element of their army's conventional combined-arms team. They rely on the tank lo provide mobile, protected Drepower for decisive,offensive operationsay that no other currently available weapon system can. The tank will almost certainly continue to be the primary weapon in the Soviet combined-arms inventory for tbe rest of this century, although we expect that the Soviets will have to make continuous technical, tactical, and organizational adjustments to make it possible for tlie tank toiable weapon on both the nuclear and the conventional battlefields. These adjustments appear to be already in progress

Current Programs

In an effort to ensure that their army will always be equipped with sufficient numbers of tanks capable of participating effectively in rapid-paced offensive operations, especially against NATO forces, the Soviets haveostly armored vehicle research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDTotE) establishment that includes thousands of scientists, engineers, technicians, and managers and Involves the employees of numerous defense-industrial minis tries and even many civilian ministries. Most recently, this establishment has developed three major new tank models that are currently being fielded with tank troops: product-improved versions of4ndhehe first Soviet tank capable of firing tank gun ammunition and antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) through its main gun tube.hich appears to incorporate features of both42 series, also can fire ATCMs through its main gun tube in adthtion to conventional ammumtiort Moreover,0 is the first Soviet tank to be propelledas turbine engine.

All three of these tanks are formidable fighting vehicles that areof defeating any currently fielded NATO tank at normal battle ranges. They are not invulnerable to US antitank weapons, however.

That Klnwiimuiprrcand undw Ihr auspw of UWnteUiftnc* OtBoar Ux Cetenl


and probably could be defeated by selected US antitank weapons, if these weapons were properly employed and available in adequate numbers-Future Programs

We judge that the Soviets almost certainly willompletely new tank design or designs by theo meet the threat posed by NATO's formidable future antitank forces. We expect the Soviets to continue to develop main battle tanks in the foreseeable future instead of returning to the development of light, medium, and heavy tanks, as they did duringnd. Because of the recent Western advances in armor-piercing ammunition and shaped-charge warheads for ATGMs, the major challenge to Soviet tank designers will be to increase armor protection while maintaining mobility. Thc Soviets probably will arm their tanks with improved versions ofm smoothbore tank gun in the future because this gun design still has significant potential for performance growth. Soviet designers may be able lo create an acceptable vehicle using the traditional turreted tank design that has dominated the battlefield for the lastears. If so. the design will require technically advanced armors to provide the required protectionmetric-ton weight limit. On the other hand, they mayankeduced-volume turret or no turret atan option that would not require the development of techmcally advanced armors. Any of these options could resultank weighing less thanetric tonsignificantly greater level of armor protection than currently available designs can provide.

Whichever option or options the Soviets clicose, they almost certainly will strive to overcome other, less critical weaknesses that arc apparent in their current generation of tanks. Specifically, theywill:

Continue to improve fire-control systems to increase their ability toarget and reduce the time needed to find the target's range and hit it.

Fit their tanks with improved night vision equipment, either active or passiveombination of the two.

Strive tohermal imaging system similar inies to the ones used in3 tanks.

Continue to develop and improve their antitank weapon eoun-termeasures and supplemental armors.


huture Tankond Technobgy Tronsfer

We believe lhal ihc SovieU can develop and produce tanks lo suit Ihcir future operational requirements, tbe embargo on the transfer of Western technology to the USSR notwithstanding. Thc embargo may. however, cause the period necessary for development to lengthen and developmental costs to rise. Stemming the flow of manufacturirig tcchnology to the Soviet tank production establishment, moreover, may make it more difficult for the Soviets to fabricate complex new tankefficiently.

Tank Production

The Soviets appear to have been expanding the tank production area of their three major tank assembly plants at KharTcov. Nizhniy Tagil, and Omsk and have recently begunseries tanks at the tractor plant in Chelyabinsk, which previously hadroducer of major tank components. The expansion at the three major plants may have been undertaken in part toew generation of sophisticated machine tools, many of which werein the West, and new fabrication techniques. Theseprobably do not presage an increase in annual output. Instead, tbe Soviets probably have undertaken them in an attempt to maintain previous production levels in spite of the substantially greaterof the latest tank models and the strain that this sophistication places on production resources, both human and material. We expect that Soviel tank production will continue to averageear, which was the estimated average annual tanklevel ineriod.

Soviets continue to possess an impressive excess of production capacity at their main plants. If they were to mobilize their industrial base and place itartime.footing, they could increase their tank production level substantially if they were able to maintain an adequate flow of key subcomponents to the main tank assembly plants.

Tank Deployment

We expect the Soviets to continue lo adhere to their deployment strategy of the pastears: they will equip tank units opposite NATO forces in Central Europe with the latest, most capable tanks before they begin to send large numbeis to units in other theaters of military oiscraxions. The tank inventories of units opposite NATO's central and southern European forces and of units belonging to the Soviet army's slrnlcgic reserve are substantially more modern lhan those of units In other Soviet theaiers. The bulk of the modem tanks in thc strategic


reserve probably would be used lo suppori lhe forces operating against NATO. The tank inventories of other theaters probably will continue to be significantly less capable than those of units earmarked foragainst NATO's forces in central and southern Europe.

Implications for NATO

ar in Central Europe between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the Pact's objective would be to mount an irresistible, rapid-paced ground offensive. Supported by theater air forces. Pact forces would seek to quickly cross the Rhine River and overrun France and 'the Low Countries. They would hope to force NATO to capitulate, ideally before any strategic nuclear exchange CKXurred- NATO defenders would use air, ground, and, in selected circumstances, naval forces in an effort to prevent the Pact from achieving this goal. NATO defenders' chief task would be to slow or defeat Soviet armored formations. NATO air forces would certainly engage these formations, but the burden of defense would fall most heavily on ground units tasked with destroying Pact, especially Soviet, tanks.

Currently, Pact tank forces outnumber NATO'so central Europe. The majority of the Soviet force is made up of tanks of42 series,ubstantial number ofndin many units. The latest tank,s in thc early stages ofn Soviet units in East Germany. The newest version of2 isn Soviet units in Czechoslovakia. The latest version of4 is supplementing4 models in East Germany. The replacement process will not be completed6 at the earliest and may take even longer.

oviet conventional ground attack were to occur in the nearUS Army units would be armed with only limited quantities of ATGMs and armor-piercing ammunition with the technical capability to defeat these tanks at normal battle ranges. [


" To counter tlie Soviets' weight of numbers and the lethality of their weajxms, US commanders would have to implement their tactical doctrine optimally and strive whenever possible to slow live enemy's advance and to engage the enemy from above or from the side in order to maximize the number of tank kills. At the same time, USwould have to try to preserve their own forces by minimizing their exposure to Soviet fire. Adequate levels of well-coordinated air support might prove to be criticaluccessful defense.

Large numbers of tank and motorizedivisions from the western military districts of the USSR, which make up thc forces of the second strategic echelon, would be even more difficult for US antitank forces to defeat than the forward-area Soviet tank forcethe second echelonreater number,.

This situation probably will not change significantly for several years because programed improvements to US antitank forces In West Germany will be offset by the continuing improvement of the Soviet forward-area tank force. The Soviets* chief advantage will continue to be their superior numbers




he Sovleb continue to retard the tank as the roost important element ol" their around forces'arms team: it forms the backbone of their Unk and motorized rifle units (sealiey rely on the lank to provide mobile, protected firepower for decisive, high-speed offensiveonsay that no other cairrcnlly available weapon system can.

SLonventional offensive, Sovietelements. Including tanks rcsc-xiuMe forreconnaissance by fire, would attempt to ascertain thc deposition of the enemy's forces After assessing the enemy's deployment of forces, motorized rifle troops would concentrate for an attack onweak points In an cBort toreakthrough Tanks usually would accompany these troops todirect fare support Their targets probably would include personnel, armored vehicles, and fortified positions. Their fire probably would be supplettientcd by that of attack helicopters and close-sir-support (CAS) aircraft. Indirect ore support would be provided by rocket and tube artillery units. After ahad been achieved, Unk units accompanied by motorized rlGe troops would lead an exploitationrortji (he newly created gap to pursue fleeing defenders or encircle and destroy outflankedthat chose to stand and fight.

ven nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons have not diminished the importance of the tank. If anything, lhat importance has beenbecause the tank appears io be more readily adaptable than most other weapons to operations under NBC conditions.

Figure 1

Tank Holdings ofa Sovicl Tank or Motorized Rifle Division




Maitflicrf Uittt Dimtoa



4 Soon alter the formation of the Red Army, its leaders recognized the potential combat value of the Unl. By PsWlr'tbey hadundamentally new doctrine stressing attacks into the enemy's rear areas by combined-arras forces that depended heavily on tanks for their sinking power. In support of this

new doctrine. Ihe Soviets embarkedajor tank development program.

espite initial setbacks during World War II, which were in large pari due to the chaos created within the army by the purges of the, the

Soviets look the offensive and eventuallyeries of decisive defeats on lite German Airoy. These successes resulted from both Joint and combined-arms operations, bui the Soviets concluded that the tank,rw with adequate fire support, had contributed more to these successes than any other ground force weapon. Moreover, they learned that, to ensuresuccess, their army had to have far greater numbers of armored vehicles, especially tanks, than their opponents.

tanks ond Nuclear War

The development of nuclear weapons did not cause the Soviets to stop the development andof tanks. After extensive study and debate, tbey concluded that, although nuclear weapons would be decisive In any future general war, they had not rendered the tank obsolete Indeed, the SovieUthc tank as the weapon system roost likely to survive on the nuclear battlefield and as the best system for rapidly exploiting nuclear strikes on the opposing forces. Soviet war plans, therefore,that tactical nuclear weapons would open gaps In enemy defenses through which tank troops could quickly pour to pursue surviving defenders, destroy reserves, and capture key installations in the rear area.

The continuing utility of tanks on the modern battlefield was reemphasized7 when NATO formally discarded the doctrine of massive retaliation in favor of the doctrine of flexible response. This gave official NATO recognition to the concepteneral war in central Europe would probably begin witlja conventional phase, possiblyshared by the Soviets.

Technical, Tactical, Organizational, and Operolionol Adjustments

the Soviet view, continuous technical,organizational adjustments have made itthe tank toiable weapon on bothand the conventional battlefields. Thcat an early date that the tank sarmor protected its crew against thc blast ofdetonation as well as against selected formsand residual radiation. By providing theirradiation-absorbing liners, they have been ableit-teas the protection level further. This meanstroops can operate dose to areas contaminateddetonations and survive, while troops ridingwith thinner skins cannot in manytlie tank's mobility means that tank troops

can be dispersed until tust before an attack, making them relatively elusive targets for enemy nuclear weapons.

n the nonnuclear battlefield, the principalhas been to adjust to the threat posed by the Western development of antitank guided missiles (ATCMsX highly lethal kinetic-energy (KE) rounds, sophisticated target acquisition systems, and precision-guided munitions. The Soviets have responded to thb threatariety of ways:

Reorganization of many of their ground combat formations to include greater numbers of more capable fire-support weapons to suppress enemy antitank forces.

Experimentation with new fire-supportdesigned to engage powerful, mobile enemy Gre-support systems operating deep in therear,

Alteration of operational plans to providefire-support for combat formations as thev move forward to contact the enemy.

Rapid expansion of the Soviet CAS helicopter force.

Reorganization of the CAS helicopter force lo make it more responsive to lower-level combat unit commanders,

Increase In the number and quality of Soviet combat engineering forces to help ensure the rapid passage of tank forces across the battlefield

Development of tactics to maximize thcof tanks and their crews.

Development of laminate armor more resistant to both shaped-charge and KE rounds thansteel armor.

Provision of additional armor in many newer Soviet tanks as well as systems to reduce thc likelihood of enemy detection.

Development and deployment ofountcrmcasures against guided munitions.

n addition, thc Soviets have created anlogistic support system to ensure that they canapid, continuous offensive in centralThb system includes forward-area depots ol critical supplies, such as POI. (petroleum, oil; andmmunition, and rations, and anetwork capable of moving these supplies to units on Use march The transportation network includes



materiel suppori units sulwrdinateronts, aitnies. and divisions.ront's combat units movedin wartime, depots of critical supplies would be moved forward too. but these depots would always remain ouisidj.the range of conventional bcldInof POL, lactical pipelines would be laid as the front advanced, connecting the mobile supply depots of the front with major commercial pipelines.

The Future Role of Tank Forces

he tank almost certainly wilt continue to be the primary weapon In tbe Soviet combined-arms inventory for tlie remainder of thb century. Although the Soviets appear to be alert to the tank'swe see no evidence that they are planning fundamental changes in their doctrine or tactics that would diminbh the importance of tlse tank, nor have theveplacement. Further, ibey arethe research, development, and production facilities that have been associated with tankIn addition to thb, they arc also substantially modernizing older tank models. Apparently, theyto believe that no other weapon combinesprotection, and mobility more effectively than the tank in the shock force role. Moreover, thev have made suchheavy investment in lank forces that replacement would require ao enormous expenditure.

owever, to ensure ihat the tank continues to be an effective weapon, the Soviets must continue to make organizational and tactical adjustments, as well as technical Improvements, to compensate for tho growingf Western antitank weapons and forces

Toetieol Improvements

ubstantiallready under way in lhe Soviet army. The Soviets have continued to refine their combined-aims tactics In an effort to adjust to NATO's rapidly improving antitank forces. Probably the most important currenthemaneuver group (OMGl It appears that the front OMC is an elaboration of the tank army concept. Tbe tank army was developed during World War IIecond-echelon force spersBcaDv charged withand exploitation missions. The front OMC mission will be undflBtakenank-heavy combined-arms force of varying size and composition that can beider range of tasks than the tank army and ts also designed to operate Independently farther from

friendlyas muchilometers. According to Warsaw Pact militarylhe OMC was devised to be more effective than the tank army In ensuring high rates of advance against NATO forces, especially antitank forces. An OMC.ank army, would seek to avoid combat with an enemy main force or frontline units and march instead to capture or destroy key rear objective* such as nuclear delivery systesns and depots, airfields, river-crossing sites, and command potts. It can abo be used to Interfere with mobilization and the movement ol enemy reserves.

IV Theesigned as partarger operational scheme that relies more on maneuver than on fire to achieve victory. If thb overallmplemented successfully, ll could buy victory more cheaply In terms of casualties and destroyedthan previous operational plant

Orgonizotlonol Improvements

IS. Although there has been relative stabilitythe last several years in the organisation and authorized equipment of tank battalions, the number and capabilities of mechanized infantry, artillery, and helicopter lire-support weapons and combatequipment in ready tank and motorized rifle divisions have been Increasing significantly. Non-divisional missile and field artillery units are abo being strengthened. These Improvements boost the fireof the combined-arms forces and Increase their mobility and flexibility. From the army commander's perspective, these improvements translate into aability to disrupt enemy defenders in general and to suppress enemy antitank forces in particular. Thus, the Soviets believe that these force improvements sliould enable tank units to exploit initial successes by rapidly advancing deep into enemy territory io destroyand capture key installations despitein enemy antitank forces

Economic Constraints

hese organizational and tactical adjustments and the potential technical improvements explored in section B, lielow. will not come cheaply, and. because the Soviet economy appears to be experiencingdifiscuiiies, we expect that the Soviet military will be obliged to be selective and clscunupect in their expenditures for theli tank force during thc next several years Because theo important to the Soviet army, tlie army will continue to procure Urge numbers of new tanks, but tlie procurement rote

probably will be mure modest than during tlic lute lDGOs and, wlien we estimate lire Soviets procuredear. Moreover, the Sowta, probably will modernize large numbers of

oldn finks lo reduce the need to procure new. more

expensive rnodels.

have estimated the procurement costsSoviet Unk models2 dollars andtliat the cost of individual Unk modelssharply in the lastears.S andof- which were introducedoeannow cost0 each to produce.models to be introduced,ndproduction version ofach. Thc latest, mostndostillionmodels promise lo be even morecosts involved in the rcorga rotation offorces and tbe costs Inherent in tbeof new doctrine and tacticsothey are difficult lo Quantify precisely.


in Western Unk andorganization, and tactics impel theestablishment constanUy to developcapable tanks. To ensure that the Sovietdivisions will always be equipped withof tanks capable of participatingrapid-paced offensive operations, the Sovietsorganized their Unk-related researchefforts. Over the years they haveextensive and earsertriae armoreddevelopment, testing, andestablishment lhal includes thousandsengineers, technicians, and managersthe employees of numerousand even many civilian ministries. Someprofessionals engage In basic and appliedthai rdates lo Unks and Unk componentsto fabrication technology Others aretranslating the fruits of domestic andacquired legally or illegally, Into new

Design Requirements

Worldli, these RDTftE rxnoonel have worked to develop tankset ofrequirements that appear to have changed little over the years The Soviet army's Main Armored Directorate of thef Defense has consistently

coin missioned designs that promise to resultank that, civen available technology:

owerful main armament capable of defeating enemy tanks at most anticipated battle raragea.

Is protected from most antitank weapons across Ihecgroe arc of tbe turret and the upper glacis at collected battle ranges.

ower-lo-weight ratio sufficient to assure lhat the vehicle can move across most typos of terrain.

Hu tbc capability lo travel atover roads without refueling.

Can operate in the presence of NBC weapons

Can cross rivers lesseters deep without bridging equipment.

Is narrow enough lo be transported by rail.

Can operate reliably under day and nightconditions and In adverse weather.

Involves minimal production costs and complei-Mm

Firsl Postwar Tank2

n thc urinsediate post-World War II era. the SovieU producedesign that met most of these requirements adequately. Itarger gun ihan Western designs, was lighter by virtue of Ils configuration and the concentration of most of its armor in thcdcgrce are, andigher net power-lo-weight ratio lhat ensuredgood mobility. Moreover, it was rugged, reliable, and relatively cheap arid easy to produce.

he Soviets ixoeoeded to perfect this design by making incremenUl improvements, using components of proven lechnology to minimize Ihe risk of designing andnk that wouldostly fallure. Tbts program of progressive improvements resulted in52ollowed4 into the active inventory in tbe late hJGOs. and2 followedew years later.s better powee-to-wctghi ratio made it mote mobile thanul2ain gun of larger caliber.

Second Postwar0

n Ihehe Soviets realized their Unks would soonariety of new threats from tactical

nuclear weapons io hiehly capable enemy Links and ATGMs II lhe Poet'i Link forces were lo remain capable ofapid paced offensive apar> atlon againsi NATO, new lank designs would be needed.

oviel designers responded with42 tanks. These tanks incorporatednumber ol relatively complex and expensive components and oVi.en features that were not carryovers fromS.2 line.

n many ways4 aeriesolder departure from previous designs thanhe series" Grit version produced in large numbers wassee figure

rotection. The development of ATCMs and more effective shaped-charge warheads meant that it Has no longer practical toank wiih solid steel armor because It would have to be so thick to be effective that the tank would be virtually too heavy to move.esigners solved this problem by incorporating nonmetallic substances into the tank's armor array. When compared with an equal weight of steel, these substancesuch higher level of protection against shaped-charge warheads Soviet de-Mitrsersayer of nonmetallic material betweenplates of rolledouter plate being thicker than the Innerangled them tohe front upper hull, called Ibe glacis (see



he TMMA'i turret also reportedly incorporates rjcnmetallic material that fills cavities in the front of turret (see figure. Although we lack -etails about the materials and precise configuration

of llus turret armor array, we estimate that it provides the tame level of protection against KE and shaped-charge rounds as the front upper hull. Moreover,ncorporates thb level of protection while weiglung onlyetric tons.

e assess that thc mnoor oo the top of4 As0 mm thick, the armor of the hull roof.m; and the armor of the hull floor.m.

ome sources report that, in addition to thb integral protection,4 A, as well at other tanks of the second postwarquipped witharmor In the form of screens or shields for the turret and thc hull rides.

lsoadiatlrm-absorbingprotect the crew against the effects ofradiation. This liner will abo provideagainst spoiling, which occurs whenstriking Iho armor envelope cause small chunksbreak away from the Interior surface

of the aimor and careen around Inside the tank at high velocity, damaging the tank and possibly killing the


s crew is provided furthera collective protection system thatthe presence of radiation or selectedbiological agents and. Isnrnediately afterscab Urge openings (other than thc hatches)crew compartment and uses the overpressureprevent (he introduction of contaminated air. Alltheiltered.lso hatbro-estinguishing system

n the last few yean, Soviet tanks have been fitted with smoke grenade protectors, mounted on thc front of the turret. By using these smokeank crew can make it much more difficult for an antitank gunner to acquire ibe tankarget, and smoke abo degrades the performance of most ATOM guidance systems and laser designator beams.obscurants could also be dispensed and would substantially degrade thermal imaging systems

rmament and fire Controlrmedm smoothbore gun, which Is derived frommm gun Thisapable of achieving high levels of armor penctiatlon using KE ammunitionr

| It can also fire

other conventional tank munitions, and, likes stabilised horitontally and vertically.ammunition is fed into the gun with anloadei that eliminates thc requirementuman

re 2


Arnux p'WWlU. fcn*t

m ttiieU KEimlTumi. m uiliai Kliun ifii-uwubndt


MM NBCMofficBl,

m liura-moi.ntoiI

AaaUttyn Two-pline Tin o( nutciia-f" OAaaititot ll.dKKl


ilio (btiypna to sWrk im* n pa how

MiiiMinM-mw:with wlW>o. M toJiorTl

mil l|

loader and reduces lhe crew die from four to three. The use of an automatic loader permits, among otherore efficient layout of the commander's andeatAins and storage of miin gun ammunition below the lurret ring. Thc gun fa aimed usingcoirtciocncc-d ing gunsight which is superior tos aiming provisions- The hie-control system is partially automated in that lire rangefinder feeds range data directlyallistic computer, which in turn shifts an aiming mark in tbe eyepiece to show the gxmner the correct elevation of the gun for accurate fire. Thc gunner uses hand-operated power controls to move the gun to the firing elevation. As thc tankixed target, tbe computer canadjust the aiming mark to remind the gunner to compensate for the decreasing range.

h* only aspect ofMA's Bre-oontrol ivsteni that does not represent an improvement over2 ii the night vision eouiprnent. Althoughs competitive with Western lank* in the

and, now lags far behind contemporary Western capabihtiel

MobBilu.ncorporates an engine radically different fromcylinder diesel that was developed for4 and incorporated with progressive improvements inhe newfive-crlirsder, opposed-piston,lighter and more compact than2 design. Like any other diesel engine. It is technically capable of operatingariety of fuels, but, when another fuel is substituted for diesel fuel it will run irarrnciently and with less reliability. Thir new engine givesower-to-weight ratio of57 horsepower per metric ton, as compared withorsepower per metric ton for

lsoew. manual transmission system lhat performs much better thans transmission and steelplate clutch system whilethe complexities and the efficiencyully automatic transmission.

'i track and suspension system are more complex than the first postwar tanks' suspension and Rat track and makesapable of much smoolhi-i. faster cross-country tiavel The new system includes support rollers, additional shock absorbers,oubae-pio, bushed, live track. These features makeore stable gun platform while firing on the move. The track and the suspension system arc still vulnerable lo mines, however, andelatively smallapable of immobibi-ing the tank Thb vulnerability extends to all other Soviet medium tanks

ommunicationt.s equipped withadio set. whichange ofm with its -bin antenna fully extended The tank commander can use il to communicate with other tanks in his platoon or company, allhough extensiveade of hand signals and signal flags to help preserve radio silence. Commander*equipped battalions and regiments are providedariant called. which is equippedecond radio called the, whose0 km Normally. Ihe company commander receives messages from the battalion or legimcntal commander via radio and then transmits them in lurn to the Unks in hb company. The company cummin.(er also is usually the only one who transmits messages up the chain of command Each Unk also is equipped with anntercom for communication between members of the crew To the best of our kraowledge. ill Unks of the second post-World War II design feneration are equipped with the same cornmu-naealions gear as4 series.


hea furtiveistinguished chiefly by lb ability lo fire both ATCMs and conventional ammunition throughm mainalthough il has adesignator different from tlial of the gun of tlieand thexternallyfromm gun mode) (see figuree assess thc ATCM. designated by NATO as ihcoaximum rangeOO meters and an ability loo SOO mm of

rolled homogeneous armor (RllA) Thc missive also can be employedelf-defense role againsi helicopters and possibly against slower flying tactical aircraft

his missile-firing capability givesI greater tactical flexibility than. In ihr attack it could perform more effectively thanodel in an nvcrwatch role. Overwatchinti tanks deploy for an atiack well behind tlie leading tanks awl fire over them lo suppress antitank fire. Itecenl Soviet military publications envision live use of ATGMs for iusi thb sort of fire suppression. In the defense, tlx-

Figure S

Reported Configuration of4 Series'Cored Turret



Note Not dim is teak

ould light from well-iitusted positions with' extended fields of tire and use its missises to destroy enemy vehicles at much greater ranges than.

B's fire-control system di0enfromodelV Apiurendy il incorporates optical componentsaser rangebnder to control the of convenllonal tank rounds as well as components to track lhe missile's infrared beacon and guide its Qight with radio commands The missiles may replace or supplement the five or sit high explosive antitank (HEAT) rounds that normally mara-up-curtmmunition load and are fed Into the gun by the automatic loader

xternally,odelight-hand optic tunnel and optical range tinder head on its turret

Instead, it mounts an armored box that houses lhe radio!lequenci' anlenni (or the guidance of the missile. The gunners sight housing is much larger than that found onodel These features, plus the presence of smoke grenade pioiectors and nibberiied side skirls, constitute the chief differences in appearance betweenodels At normal battle ranges, the two models would be virtually iisdisliitguixhahte.

s recently sighted In northern Easihave additional armor. Some haveayer of additional armor bolted both to lhe forwtrd hull roof and to the lop, sides, and rear of lhe turret. The composition of this armor, which appears lo be aboutmoi known, bui, whetherrmor steel, ceramic, or glass- rein forced plastic, it will significantly increase tbe tank'sagainst smaller antitank weapons ihat areto hit tanks Irom above and will at least marginally increase radiation protection. Twos were seen in4 with reactive armor boxes mounted on the hull front, on the top, (root, and sides of the turret, and on the side sViitsf* The tcactive armor hoses mountid on the turret"Top

' fi raetive ainsni boiluie- which, -fcen deienited bsivamm round.metal eUic into ihe

nenetrilina -eiOMi Tliisojitknlailt- eflciri.v


ar mounted over (he new turret applique atmor Thermot will sigmficantly increase protectionshaped-charge warheads. Weprecisely calculate lhe effectiveness of this reactive armor without further information

s previously sighted in East Cermany do not appear to have additional armor, indicating that thc Soviets are in thc early stages ofprogram designed to provide their tanks with better protection against NATO groursd-Uunched ATGMs and top-attack weapons and antitank munitions that would he delivered by helicopters and Bied-wing aircraft Krefitfially, frontline tanks beadedill lie retrofitted with this additional armor.

< assume that's basse bull and turret armorhe same as thai of theJ4A

Likewise, we assume (hat the two models Incorporate (he same engine.

ase been observed with Soviet units in Hungary that exhibit some but not all of's eiternal characteristics- Likeodel, theyight-hand optic tunnel and incorporate on cnUrgedight Unlikehey do not base an armored boa on the (root right-hand side of thc turret. These Unks mavs that have not yet been filled with armored botes containing the missile guidance antenna ot mavan imiMosed version ofaser ts nee coder and olher fire-control modifications


? series, which has been producedumber of variants, is ihe second member of tlie



Lb W

i s

S *>





s II si

second postwar generation ol Soviet tank designs.

Among the several variants, we generally recognize

three principal versions one with an opticalcrsce rangehnder and another twoaserrangcfinder. We call these three.

and the Soviet mediumespectively.

Wc do not understand why in thc spaceew years the SovieU developed and produced two distinctly differentnd thethev apparently consider equally effective in combat.


he2 (see figureas been seen serving with Soviet units, non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) units, and various Third World armies Eater-nally, the domestic and eiported vers tons appear to be identical, although we cannot dismiss the possibility that lhe domestic version has superior capabilities

rotection.lacis armor repotted ly is similar In configuration tos. bul we assess iu protection level to be less becauseifference in materials.^


urret armor is composed of solid, cast steel thai probably provides better protection againsi KE roundi thans turret armor, but less protection against shaped-charge rounds ^

"Jl.llie4 series,2 series is also fitted with an NBC collectivesystem and an automatic fire-eitinguishing

rmumcrrl and fire Control.2 mounts the same high-velocity, horizontallym smoothbore stun asndifferent automatic loader thai contains sir fewer rounds thanS. This loader feeds separated ammunition into tlie gun. thus eliminating

the lequieeraerrluman loader and reducing iht crew size from four men to three.s fire-control system, including tbe night firing capabilily. is nearly identical lo llm of.

In contrast to4 series"engine design,2 seriesirect, ahhough modified andofs engine. Thisproduces enough power to giveatio1 horsepower peras compared withowhile nearly as mobile as2 cannot quite match4 Aand overall agility.

e observed, which has an enlarged gunner's sight bousing but no right-hand optic tunnel andaser rarigefinder (seehis Unk also has full-length rubberized side skirts and several smoke grenade protectors attached to the turret face. The smoke grenade project un were probably desetotied to counter improved Western antitank weapon target acquisition and guidance systems Otherwise, this tank appears to be stnuilly identical lohe Soviets reportedly begans andIhem lo army units as earlslthough this has not vet been confirmed

We assess's armor protection and automotise perforrnance to be the same ase assume thathat may have been issued to Soviet troops does not differ significantly In ils capabilities from lhe esported version.

M2 variant being produced by the Czechoslovaks and the Poles for fielding with the Soviets' Warsaw Pact allies.3 this variant apparently had been eiported oulside the Pact to India. Iraq. Syria, and Yugoslavia.

Sorae* Medium3

1 Ihe Soviets paraded athat, like, has no right-handor optical rangefinder head on its-turrc!It.o appears to ha*eand glacis armor, and. likend llie

i Mi* il ts filled with iubbcri*cd sidend smoke grenade protectors. It ano is slightly 1oagvi than

1UPC etric tool

Aw tire oitfr. cut ucct

Atbm tvatecrtM le-ec

Twret: W^rjuw

Standoff .tins

btaUcaJ) CoOotBtmum and ridujboa liner Main arouaienc m intoothbarc tun Nvmbec affunon bawd: yp< a( loader: Aui&nat k


aaodcakOc Eactorrrrc


ipted m pci hotti

Mail wai cruulflC raofc m with auxiliary fadm oilhouiM (nni<m with aqodch off) Cra-aaan



Wticbe metric torn

" type: Hall, larucd: nit to, can steel


GlicU:O am icaiou KEty)m aiilrat itupod-cba-tc wwbadi Turretm ataintl KEm apiest rlupaiefcirr: warheads

umor. Su^otTtkirtl

IMackal, cheovicit) protection CoBrxsive ptotoaoa system and radiation lineriibibkW: m ioxxxhhcceNumfcr. of buIb tn nwndi oa* o( Automatic

AaadOary imnraiC mm coaiialmm turret-racmritcd machincitun MalaOibairiGo* TwooUoc Type of ranEdiadcr; Laid Eaainetjpc cytitidas<l

Powtr-to-wctfhl nilto metric tee* 1 Top speed: m per hour

Mtiimom mrisint nvaje; m with auiliary fuelma-io: IJM (rantcm with sqvtclch otTI Cccwtnm Thi a

Figure II


Wtirfcc ark toot

AfwaMtrve Urool utm. coret/Urccd AmwiI" tl

';Is'li mKEm mini itu-vd-chiix wuUad* Twiceaartuni

MlCfuirirw. toloci'al. rfaai aad lidjw liw

main. na board: 44

1jf Aaiomalic

AuBUrf irjMaur- uncoiiul nucEinrrua,urd niouord niacin rvci.ii Main na nifflriuUam: Two-duew tn- . end

nM(WmnraM MIIm pw hour

Maiauaa nwutfwirkaa 'iW

Rad* IM (raniem -rth lovddi off) On men:


rotection. We thickened glacb:

The armor oo the front of tlie turret also appears to have been thickened. It is unclear whether tbe additional armor consists solely of cast steel orayer of nonmetallic material osries turret reportedly has.


*2 and. Thc Four Powers have designated this tank the Soviet mediumegardless ol thisumber,ighly2 designed to counter Ihe laiest Western antitank weapons.

Ukend.3dution-absorbing liner, has full-length,side skim, and has rubber shields for ibe ester rial fuel tanks. It abo has smoke grenade prosectorson the turret front.

Arrnomentand Fire Controlrmedm smoothbore gun,asically the same as rhe gun mounted on4 andseries tanks, although it may be marginally improved in its resistance to barrel wears fire-control systemt least as good asV3 probablyaser rangefinderallistic computer different from that of theut its night vision devices do not appear to be sigruScaotly difiererX. In addition, the main searchlight may be more powerful Another possiblen automatic loader that feeds ammunition to iho gun faster.o evidence that thb tank can fire ATCMs through its main gun

3 incorporates Ihedeck configuration as tbe2 andstrongly suggesting thatowered bvdiesel engine as these older modelsIn the supercharger could boostoutput, however, and give thea power-to-weight ratio ofer metric ton3 almostthe same transmission aa earlier mcdeb.

tbe springroup of tanks ofwere seen withSoviet unit in KjOe now know thbhe

s glacis armor probablyIn design to that of2ayer of norimotallic materiallayers of steeL Wc aasess that thb arraysame protection againit KE rounds as theut better protection againstrounds*_

s turret armor may Incorporate cavity armor similar lo thatto4 series, but thb has not been confirmed. We assess that this turret armor array provides the same level of protection as the turret armor of

Armament and Fire Control.ikeIB. can fire an ATCM through its main gun as well as standard lank gun protect ilex Both tanks probably abo will be able toewer ATCM when It becomesduring the next two or three years. Thb missile-firing capability would give0 the same tactical versatility lhal we attribute toe believe that0 andhare virtually identical fire-control systems.

UobUitv.oweredas turbine engineeak power output oforsepower. Itrobably equippedariable- height suspension, which would contribute to giving0 better cross-country mobility lhan any other fieMcj Jbviet tank. Thb feature abo helpsraditional weakness in Soviet tank design restricted main guniesd engine version of0 may exist, but as yet we have not positively identified il in Soviet units.

0 is being fielded currently with Soviet units in southern East Ccrmany. This assignment to units in the forward area follows service La selected tank units in the USSR at least

Tonk Moderniration Programs

Soviets and their Warsaw Pact alliesbe planning thorough modernization,nstead oftlsem with newly produced tanks. Thbsave substantial amounts of5 orbe modernired for the estimated dollarcosthe latest model tanks cost the

equivalent4 million. The modernized Soviet tanks probably will be assigned to units opposite China, Afghanistan, and Iran and shouldatch for any potential enemy tank in that area during the nexl two decades. The modernized NSWP tankswill liscorporate thc same Improvements as tbe isscderruxcd Soviet tanks.

the Soviets have always fundedtank modernization programs, the currenteffort eotaib extensive improvements godfundamentally different from past


ppear to be receivingon tbe glacis and noseptate, and the frontof their turrets (Seehewill be similarly upgraded.cannot meaningfully estimate the increase Inthat Ihis will provide until we havethese medernized versions. Modernizedprobably will be equipped with side skirts.

Ar moment ond Fire Control

expect that most of theill retain their original guns, butrule out the possibility that the Sovietsal least some of them with newly designedWe cannot discount the posribility that atof these tanks may also bo equipped toThe fire-control systems of all theseels probably will be considerably improvedthe original equipment with systemsa laser rangefinder. Other possibilitiesimproved main gun stabilization system, anballistic computer,ore powerfulsearchlight.


additional weight of thc extra armoran Increase in engine power If theare to maintain or improve their previousTbe Soviets may abo refit these older tankstrack of2 to enhance cross-countryand service |ile.

Future Soviet Tank Programs

lthough some inSucniial defense olficiab,Marshal Ogarkov. have called for intense scrutiny of the future military value of the tank, the Soviet army appears to be firmly wedded lo the tank


0 Tank


Armor type Hall. Iivtrcd. ivmt. aai

Anuor pnxrctiM tot* Gbcu: lpiW KEBcrrj)arn* mKE roaaMk. 6SOiioc Ua;rd<fcaitr wutWadi

NBC (mUu.pntaaM man

Maim vbidM S mm uaaakbax lad cuaootnaoW ATGM UaNut aided amidX -a- fof loaoW: AaioaiaiK

aaoJIUry armaoeK 7A2ularrO-owio! tiu^locon

fin iU i> [li clr

Tiftr :i Uic"



oo] oe a pa aou'

Ma aim trtmamf rtmtr. tOOUMaaacracka. off!

Mt Toror


- .' rk MM

No csuoMic niibtc Sapyl'iwiiul irtuo.. SunoOH ttlm

NIC Inuelrtr. biological, COuerrM protection lyilun ind radiation liner Hh inuwW aa uroxkbm.ud ptMibtf ATOMmdc4 mOttk)Tn* or" in"". 11

iron mm omulmiDiaiaS RUChtiKitmi

ai;.itUa - ml ruf-flMdr. Later H

ruinto inn;.

Tap m per tear mMncrancr- Aar,Uaata.*S0 km Rid- ZJMM kraaqncsaaoT)

Crwmnu fniK


as the principal element of lb combined-arms force The aggregate wot kin* area of known KDTAK-rcbtcjapo, nding and appear active. If Western eSorts to stem the Bow of weapons related tecltrtoloev to Warsaw Pact countries arc successful, we anticipate that Sovietfforts will increase even more

Ttte Soviets have every reason loistinctly now, more capable design. Although. the0 went Into serial production to the, at best ihey represent the technology of thei. They do not appear to be adequate to the tad of reliably countering the variety of pew. potent NATO antitank systems lhat will be bclded later in this decade.

Because we do notear picture of individual Soviet tank RDTccE programs, we mustather circuitous approach to predicting the capabilities of future Soviet tank models. First, wc examine tho capabilities of US antitank weapons that Soviet tanks would have to engagecoeral war in therf we assume lhal the Soviets have fairly accurate loforrnation about these weapons, we can conclude that Ihey will strive to develop tanks lhat are capable ofast majority of ibaa* thr eats. Finally, we can assess the current state of relevant Soviet tank-relatedin an attempt to estimate the Soviets' ability to developesign or designs.

The Challenge of future Antitank Weapons

US antitank weapons that are already entering or should soon enter the inventory present Soviet tank designersifficult challenge (see annea B, pagesThe USA1 lank will be armedm KE round. Tbe shaped-charge warheads of the TOWand the lleOfire ATOM,esigned to be fired from thettack helicopter, arc highly lethal and have long ranges Various new or improved antitank weapons areto attack the relatively thin armor on the hull and turret top. In addition, newly developed minesbottom attack" threat

All of these weapons probably were designed to engage any currently fielded Soviet Unk without resortlank attack. Thiserious problem for the Soviet operational planner,ortcerned withigh rate of advance in any

JVirsiw I'aet offensive operationeneral war with NATO.

< We do imt astes the performance ol lutiuc non-US NATO antitank -iimi here. We asuine thu none of (hoc weaponi will be lutnuntUflV more ear-able thin their US omiimmiti

liiiri-jl Soviel Response

Soviets appear to have begun to responddevekx*ing threats, especially in tbc areas ofarmor and count ermejwrea. Soviet tanks arefitted with smoke grenade protectors,to make it more difficult (or enemyto hit iheir liigets. By reducing theand infrared (IR) signatures, the rubberircdon the latest Soviet Unks impede the abilitytarget acquisition sensors lo discover lheEahaust baffling and engine heat deflectionlo IR signature reduction. Moreover,that the latest Soviet Unks may be coatedthat makes It more difficult for IRdevices to distinguish the Unks.the Soviets also are fielding turret-mounteddbrupt selected ATCM guidance systems.only partially solve the NATOto today's Warsaw pact Unk forces,believe they do not meet the future threatv.

Future Soviel Tank Development Options

The Soviets' response to thb future challenge to their tank force could Uke one of several forms. For irtstance, they could choose not to continue to develop medium Unks. They could decide to substitutefor protection and held large numbers of small, lightly armored vehicles that are capable of highspeeds while Stillelatively large, powerful main armament Thb solution has been tried before in the West and to date has always proved imsatisfactoty. We believe Ihe Soviets share the belief thaioor substitute for adequate armor protection We believe that tbe Soviets are well aware of thb and would not choose thb option.

Another option would entail the rejection of the main battle Unk concepteturnorce mix made up of medium and Isoavy tanks, and possibly light tanks as well. Under tbb conoept, very heavily armored Unks would be used to penetrate combat Tones that are heavily defended by fornudable new antitank weapons. Because of their heavy armor, the heavy tanks would lack the mobility toeeing enemy Thus, it would (all to more lighdy arnsored and faster mod rum tanks lo exploitcreated by the heavy tanks. The Soviets have devised such lades before and could do so again.

Tlx- Soviets alvn may opt to continue to focus on Ihe development of main battledesigned

to perform ihc roles previously peformed by light, medium, and heavy tanks- but they aught provide them with more armor aad more powerful engines thai would give them an acceptable level of mobility.

Which Option WiQ lhe Soviets ChooMi?

We cannot predict withhigh degree ofwhich of these options the SovieU will choose If for no other reason than that Ihey have concentrated for the lastears on the development of main battle tanks, we eapect them to continue to develop main battle tanks. This would not prevent them from providing tome of these tanksonger range firing capability.

Clearly, however, if lhe SovieU do in fact choose to continue to focus on the development of main battle tanks, they must protect these tanks belter. Tliey could solve this protection problemariety of ways, some of which would not entail any basic redesign ofjiresent tanks. They could, for instance, strive to Uncase incrementally the frontal top. and belly armor of their tanks and. like the Israelis, supplement it with additional shields, screens, or raactive armor. At the same time, they could add more efiectlve caaurMermcasures and strengthen theirforces with more units to suppress antitank weapons.

It is unlikely that the SovieU would pursuetopeap solution to protect tlse principal element of their combined-arms force. Instead, we anticipate thoir development of new tanks that incorporatehigher levels of integral protection, including linen that would provide increased protection against enhanced radiation weapons We cannot discount the possd-lityI be able lo achieve the necessary levels of protection by developing aluneted design or designs If Ihey do. however, they will have to perfect technically advanced armors

lo provide Ibe required protect ton without exceeding aton upper weight limit. Because the SovieU have an eatenstve basic and applied materials reaearch establishment thai does not depend to any usmlleant extent on the tiansfer of Western technology, they may be able to accomplish this goal

he SovieU probably would strive lo keepesign at ot nearmetric-ton weight limit because tank designs substantially exceeding thb limit would require thc development of more powerful engines lhan the Soviets have used in the past Thc SovieU reportedly have been developing both high-output diesel and turbine engines since tber earlier, but It would be in their interest not to have to produce completely new engine designs. There apparently have been problems with Soviet turbine designs. Reportedly, the Soviets consider these engines too noby and prodigal In their fuel consumption. The deployment of0urbine enginethat the SovieU believe they have lowered noise and fuel consumption to the point of operational acccpUbiUly. Nevertheless, the additionhird external fuel drum to0 supports the thesis that thb turbine consumes sisrnificaotly greater quantities of fueliesel engine of the same power.

educing lhe size of the turret or eliminating it altogether might resultasetric-ton design that would have substantially increased protection due to the application of the weight saved fromnci to increased frontal, lop, and belly armor and asuspension that could better resist mines.esign,ully turreted lank, probably would not call for the developmentadically new type of armor, nor would itore powerful engine. (See figure IS,)

estern designers find tun etless designsbut such designs require Ihe development oi automatic loaders that can reliably handle Urge-caliber ammunition and Eie-ccotrd optics or sensors that can rotate with the gun or even independentlyo provide thc gunner, who would be seated within the hullegree field of view. Althougholution to thb vision problem probably would tax the SovieU' engineering skills heavily, the automatic loader requirement would not be abecause Soviet designers have lengthy experience with such loaders.'

wrvnllyunetWaaad mm

S-aoer -Km SWoWiol oooa thai retard wtrk (Sat paSoUlPStjUV.eatrMrrrf basket thatIV rwwi tocw. .kW reraaUMahe bug's arrow

SovieU could opt lo followas they apparently did witht1 appcoach would allow thorn tothc developmentigher risk tvuretlesx(ui iri design while also developingtraditional turreted Unkackup

optthe SovieU choosetunetless. oralmoit cciuinlyto overcome some weaknesses lhat haveIn their current lank generation.almost certainly will continue to improvesystems to decrease Urge! acquisitionof the ballistic perforrnance ofwith its high muzzle velocities and altcndanttrajectories, the gunnery problems are notplea as those confronting Western Unkmost Western tanks are equippedm gun armed with projectiles ofvelocities and less Gal ballisticthe Soviets probably do not needthe features that are ind tided in the litestintegrated fire-control systems, such ascant sensois, and muzzle reference systems.

c also expect the Soviets lo develop improved night vision equipment, either active or passiveombination of the two. We think it Is highly probable lhat they ate striving tohermal trnaging system equal in capability to the ones lhat are used in the Ml and3 tanks. Recent evidence reveals that an airborne thermal imaging system for civilian use0 lechnology las boon developed- An improved thermal imaging technology for use in annexed vehicles is certainly ntaetjcable We also expect rmprovcmcnU in stabilization systems for their main armament, and Ihey will also continue to make their automatic loaders even faster and more reliable,

Soviets almost certainly will continuetheir future tanks' antitank weaponand supplemental armors. Moreover,Improvements in the tactics, organiialion.of the other elements of theirforce in an cfforl to provide moresuppression

Future Development Options ond Technology Transfer

believe that the Soviets nan and willand produce tanks to suil their luture The embargo oo the transfer of US

technology to the USSR will not cripple Soviet tank developenerat programs. Although Soviet Unkhave eiploited Western technology iney have not been dependent on It In fact, the Soviets have frequently led the West in fielding sdvanced armored velucle-related technology such as infrared night vision equipment, automatic loaders, long rod penetrator KE ammunition, and nuclear, biological, and chemical detection andsystems

Weapons (list male extensive use ofelectronic components, such as tactical aircraft, owe more to Western technology than weapons like Unks. Still, ceruin Western technologies, which tbe Soviets have acquired both legally and illegally,have shortened tlie rime necessary to develop certain key tank components and have reduceddevelopment costs. If lhe technology embargo persists, the time necessary for the development of new tank designs probably will lengthen and costs will rise.

In tlie past tho Soviets probably bad access to detailed information aboul early US experiments with laminate and composite armors. This access would have facilitated their development of these types of armor. Similarly, recent Soviet patentsigh-output diesel engine with potential militarystrongly suggest that the Soviets arefamiliar with French research In this area. However, we have no direct evidence thai the Soviets have been dependent on US or Western technology for the development of key tank comrjorser.ts.

Technology Tronsfer ond Ihe OsoDenge to Took Producers

ertain aspects of these future design options proliibly will strain Soviet'tank productionlust as they have strained Western Unk(see section C. on tank production, beginning at paragraph OS) Generally, Soviet designers createweapons, but often Soviet weapon producers have difficulty developing manufacturing technology lhal enables them to translate these designs efficiently into production versions. In the past tbb has not been as muchroblem for the rrsanulacturers of tanks because these weapons did not nuke extensive use of sophisticated electronic components In the future, lank producers will increasingly have such difficulties. They abeady have emblems manufacturing delicate electronic and electro optical subcomponents integral to fire-oonlrol systems. Thc greater emphasis on the

development and manuladuie of improved firc-con-ttol systems and countcrmcasures to antitank weapons will aggravate these problems. The Soviets are even ning to espertencc diftacultses in areas in which they have been masters, such as iisetalworiung. For example, turret casting operations at Nirhoiy Tagil have been running Into trouble, although thesemay actually involve difficulties in combining ceramic armor with oast steel armor.

fabrication technology has laggedthc West's in some areas, and the Soviets have tried to

overcome ihb gap in, capabilities byariety of sophisticated Western machine tools to be used in the tank production process. These machine tools should enable the Soviets to cut and weld steel to fine tolerances fastet and with fewer workers than they could previously. The acquisition cf these tools should abo reduce the time needed to prepare for the productionew model.


Soviets maintain the world's largestandorrespondingly largeto support it* There arehc invent ones of aktive army units; andmore tanks serve as training PatJahl,Boat vehicles, and war reserve weapons;the Soviets eiport substantial numbersproduced tanks

ecause ground weapons technology hassteadily since World War II. the Soviets have "Jap" to replenish their huge tank force coftstantly with new tank modeb to koep it from becomingThb requirement has ledajor research and development program and the construction of an ei tensive production establbhment that hasigh annual tank productionestimated average ofear for the lastears Thb high rate of production has enabled the Soviets to keep their tank force opposite NATO equipped largely with modern, highly capable

he futute Soviet requirement for tanks will increase as the Soviet army expands from its current size ofivisionsrojected total ofy the* Because of tbe high cost of procuiing huge numbers of increasingly complci

-TbllU panikiD* mdiiuUrJ ti-

Aimr aaBMatMlit* ruAfi al bailie.mem oliih.Hound lortei

and expensive tanks, the Soviets apparently plan to meet part of this requirement by modurniringnumbers. and. Even so, they will have to continue to produce large numbers of new tanks every year for at (east the rest of thc century.

Production Facilities

Soviets maintain four main tankin Kharkov. Nixhnly Tagil, Omsk, and(seehe Soviets abo maintain atcapital repair facilities throughout the USSREurope. All four assembly plantstank components as well as assemble tanks,all arc dependent oo producersariety of components andTechnicians at tbe capital lepair ficrlitiestanks after the vehicles have been subjecteduse Often the rebuilding Includesto thc vehicles thai resultroduct thatcombat capable than (he original design.

Expansion and Modernization of Facilities

Soviets' traditional excess of tankcapacity appeals to be growing even larger. Since

he area devoted to military production at the three maior tankKhar'kov, Omsk, and Nlxh-

niy Tagil has increased significantly In addition to

ibis recent expansion of production area, the lank aasembl* plants probably are being retooledariety of modern assembly equipment. Indeed, the pirxluctioiaSVoB expansion may have been undertaken in part to accommodate these new tools, many of which have been imported from the West. Tlie Soviets also are developing new fabrication techniques to take advantage of the capabilities of this new machinery.

These improvements probably do notignificant Increase in output. They probably have been undertaken in an attempt to at least maintain previous production love Is In spite of the difficulties involved in the manufacture of vehicles incorporating sophisticated features like laminate armor andthe precise assembly of complex components.

These improvements should offset the strain that this growing sophistication places on both human and material production resources. New industrial robots probably have been purchased to reduce the number of workers needed in the production process, and thc latest generation of machine took can help workers with relatively modest skills toariety of difficult and exacting rnanufxeturing tasks. Moreover, some of these new tools will allow tank assembly workers to batch produce differ cot types of components and vehicles in relatively rapid succession without the need to hall production and retoola dlflerent vehicle must be produced. Future Soviet lank models promise to be even more complex than the current models, and the Soviets undoubtedly are modernizing their tank assembly plants wtth an eye to the rat Are Thc new tools probably will greatly reduce the startup time needed to prepare for the productionew tank design.

Current Programs

urrently, tanks of0 series probably are being serially produced In the USSR. In addition, the Soviets are beginning toextensively their older tanks that will be In service in

r Plont

he^plant at Chelyabinsk^


iently beganut possibly the basic modelotrsadertcc rangefinder as well. These tanks probably are intended for the export market. Because Chelyabinsk has just begun assembling tanks, we have not yet been able to

determine tho level of production that the Soviets have programed (or thb facility Wc estimate that It will be relatively modest,ounting to no moreewla year. Chelyabinsk could be taking over production of these modeb from Nbdmly Tagil

Khar'kov Tank Plant

eing assembled at the tankpresumably btassembly buildingj

have ceasedrrjduction hit full stride, but thb has not beens are still being delivered to army units, butnclear If these vehicles are new or transfen from units that are receiving newerIn recent years,nnua) serialprobably has amounted to somewhereear.

HiiMr loejil Tank ond RtssYood Cor Manufactory Plant

tank plant at Nizhniyranks of2 series, including

3 variant. The resrwoslDtuty for lheof at least one of these variants may have been shifted to Chelyabinsk. Thb shift may mean that Niihniy Tagil will concentrate on theew lank. If the history oferies can serveuide,2 family, which entered series productionill remain in production for several more years. This suggests that the new tank may be an advanced variant of2 scries. In recent years, Nizhniy Tagil's annual serial production probably has amounted to somewhereear. In additkas to Its assembly activities, Nizhniyanufacturing components for use in lhe modernisationSs,

Omsk Tank Plant

0n serial product ionb difficult for several

lessons lo predict future annual tank production levels at Omsk. Despite its capacity. Omsk has neveras many tanks as Nizhniy Tagil- The last serial production program at Omsk wasS. and lhe5 production at Omsk neverear Moreover, we cannot discount thetint Omsk will serially produce other weapons in addition lo tanks

Future Program*

live level ofm id In*tank productioo programs, wetlie precise composition, scope, and timingproductioniiglt rlegrer ofbelieve, however,ew lank designprobably will soon enter serial production,are apt to be refined versions of thegeneration of tanks. We espect that annew design will certainly be available. We also believe that the Soviets willnearly as many Unks annually as theythend, whenoften. We fudge itthai they will continue to produce ananks per year, as they did in theWe estimate that this levd ofallow them to continue to keep Iheir UnkNATO equipped with modern unks asto supply their traditional export customers withof new vehicles lhat matches delivery rates ofseveral years.

believe that the Soviets will not attempta higher rate of production for severallatest Unk models are much more ctpensiveCiveo tlie crowing civilian competitionscarcer economic resources and tlie army'smoderniutionincludesbesides lhe procurement of newnot believe the Soviets can afford to procuretanks as ihey did during thendWe see tbe Soviets',s ato these sharply increasing productioncasts. If the Soviets plannedewear, we doubt theysonedcrnixationthe ground forces. Therefore, theand modernization of Unk productionprobably was undertaken to enable the Sovietsthe average annual production levelears.


strategy for Unk deploymentmost operationally cQicieiH use of vaiious Unk

"Models and minimizes the need to procure tanks."

analyUiout ol (he Wanaw Part (round lorera (Pioiitc lhat It camlainnl Inand AinuntrnU and Manrawi

Modelata Imbt OA. DIA.

NPIC and the US Army fanltuu- ihr mmI, of Warsaw Part


Generally, the SovieU assign the newest, most capable Unks to units that have the highest probability of becoming involved In combat with NATO forces In Central Europe. Heady divisions In tlic Baltic, Belorus-sian, and Carpadiian MiilUty Districts, selectedunits, and ceremonial unils are usually Ihe first loew tank model as permanent issue.after the General SuO is convinced that the new model can be reliably maintained by the army's equipment support structure, the newent to selected Soviet units In Eastern Europe, In recent years, modest numbers of new Unb have also been sent to selected uniU opposite China. Only later do units in other western military districts receive the new model. Older Unks replaced by the new nvodels are usually reassigned to units less likely to engage NATO forces in Central Europe. The oldest tanks in the inventory are held in mobilization base divisions or low-strength cadre divisions, especially those inmilitary dbtricts. These are the units least likely to become involved in combat with NATO ready

eneral rule,ypical tank'soears In active service it spends the firstoears ia the inventory of ready divisions la the western USSR or in the forward area and the lastoears in other parts of the country in not-ready divisions. Tanks that emerge from their active service Ingood condition may be placed In equipment reserves or refurbished for export. Other old Unks probably are cannibalized for parts, then scrapped.

Equipmentontinuous but slow process; even In the Western Theater of Military OperationsVD after thc Russian feair voymnykh deuttotu for "theater of militaryroughly half of the active tank inventory, al any givenomposed of vehicles of the previous design generationor instance, the medium tank inventory of the Western TVD.,Ss..

The Soviet lank Force: Present and Future

of the composition of thc currentSoviet tank force reveals dramaticcapabilities among the various constituentmilitary operations. (Seereakdowncurrent and future Soviet tank force by Unktank inventory of the Western TVD, which would

Table i

Curicnl and Future Tank Inventories ol Soviel Ground Forces*

llaht Una

Ifliiuiill K

uut tun *





-nodtun lank

wlluni Unk (SMI)



Wi* uak deaiaata)

inwNonea ol .ell- n

. j _ ll.

IS -fil

tax divtilm

* Tkoa waajwaa are Indaded iaH>f Uafa br

roMoM i


be used ajirrit NATO forces in Cenlral Europear bclween tbe Warsaw Pact and NATO, bmore modern than those of other theaters of operation. The next most capable tank inventories belong to tlie strategic reserve and the Southwestern TVD. Thc bulk of the modern tanks in Ihe strategic reserve belong to live Kiev Military District andwould be used lo support the forces operating in Ihe Southwestern TVD. The tank inventories of the Northwestern TVD. the Turkestan Military District, and thc Soviet Far East are significantly less capable tlian those of the Western and Southwestern TVDs and the strategic reserve These differences inamong lhe various theaters will persist througlioui thrs decade

Western TVD

hc Western TVD comprises foices In the llaltlc. Ilclorussian, and Carpathian Military Distticts

and the Croups of Soviet Forces in East Germany. Poland, and Czechoslovakia (seeurrently, the tank inventory of thbbasecomposed of aboutO0 medium tanksew hundred light tanks and assault guns that serveedium tank role (secagesittle rnore than half of Ihisade up of tanks whose designs were nnalizedndhe remainder comprises models designed beforendhe size of thb inventory probably will not grow appreciably in thb decade, but itsxpected lo change subuantbuV By the endts.robably wiB make uperceni of the Western TVD tank force and. by the ender cent

Nrxlhweslern TVD

Northwestern TVD it made up ofof the Leningrad Military District.tank inventory of thbomposed ofmedium tanks andight tanks,about IS percent of the mediumy the endhbwill not have changed much in site, butmodels will account forhird of

Southwestern TVD

Southwestern TVD includes SovietHungary and the Odessa. North Caucasus,'Military Districts. Currently. Ihislankade up ofew baltalions of light tanks. Only atlianercent of the mediumy the endhehave grown byanks, and moreof thb inventory probably will be made uptanks

he Turkestan Military District includesarmy units currently serving in Afghanistan as well tt units actually stationed within lhe ditfrictIhe district's tankomposed ofedium tanks of older designew light tanks By Ihe endhe inventory probably will have grown byehicles, and the bulk ol the medium tanks probably will have been modernised

Figure Zl

Soviet Ground Forces Regional Commands by Theater o( Miliiary Operation (TVD)


Forces in thc For Eost

orces in the Soviet Far East are those o( the Central Asian. Siberian. TransbaikaL and Far East Military Districtsu|f these forces consists of0 vehicles, nearly ail of which are older models. By the endhis tank force probably will have grown byehicles, and the Quality of thc force will haveAlthough probably onlyercent wiU be tanks of relatively new design,f the ojdei models prolsably will have been modeinired.

The Strategic Reserve

he ground lorces of the Kiev. Volga. Moscow, and Ural Military Districts are generally considered to

make up the strategic reserve of the Soviet army, although tbe forces of tbe Kiev MD are much more capable than tho others and would probably beto combatuch earlier pointeneral war. Currently, the tank force of tbc strategic reserve consists ofedium tanksight and heavy tanks and assault guns servingank role. Our third of the medium tank Inventory Is made up of tanks whose designs were finaluedy the endhe strategic reserve Unk force probably will have increasedew hundred vehicles, but tbe percentage of medium tanks of relatively modern design will remain the same By the endhe strategic reserve tank force probably will have grown toehicles, and aboutercent of this foice will be made up of modern tanks The rest probably will be made up largely of.

The Non-Soviet Warsaw PacI Took Force: Present ond Future

forces in (lie Western indwoaddgfae Joined by non-Soviel Warsawlorces in the event olgeneral war withtlie last several yeais, the Soviets havetheir NSWP allies to improve,things, their Unk (orce capabilities Th*have responded with varying degrees ofand success


Czechoslovak lankedium tanks, all ofxcept for two to four batultdnsand two baiuliom. We project thatendrobably will haveand the tank inventory will still conUlnvehicles, most of which will stillndBy the endhe size of the(orce probably will be virtually the samepercent of it probably will be made up ofthc rest will be.

r many

East German lank inventory cuirentlyofedium tanks and atanks Except for three battalionsanksy the endprobably will containbut there probably will bedded lothe endhe total Unkhave^iown toedium tanks,perceni of which will probablyndperceni.


Polish tank inventory currently isofedium tanksightbulk ol theSs.ittle overercentThe Poles alsoattalionendhe Poles' medium lankgrowlmost certainly willless thanercent of this force. By the endihCahghj tanks probably will still be Inthe "medium Unk inventory probably willlorobablyup nearlyercent oi theseiobably will makeittle

more tlianercent. Tbc remainder will..


he Hungarian lank inventory currently is made up olighl Unks andedium Unks. Ninety-live percent of the medium tanksSs; theercente project that by thc end5 neither the size of thc medium Unk fotce nor its composition will have changed. By (he endlie light tank probably will have been retired, and the sire of the medium lank inventory will shrink dightly. By that date, nearlyercent of those vehicles probably will.


Bulgarian tank Inventoryedium Unks Two-thirdsSs. while nearly one-third areBulgarians also have one battalionend5 this tank force probably willIuehicles, andhangedIn composition Nearly all of Ihe forcewill continue to be made up ofe protect that by Ihe endf the tank inventory will haveehicles.robablyup aboutercent of this force, whilemake up less lhanmakeittle more lhanerceni of


Komanlan tank inventoryssault gum serving in aNearly one-half of the medium Unks5 derivatives. The remainder areassault guns. By the endliefence probably will have shrunk slightly, andintroduction of locallyay reduce the proportionnto about one-hfih By the endguns probably will have been retired, andwill totaledium tanks. Aboutof these vehicles probably willnd improved versions olercent of th* force probably will still beThe Roma nuns prohably will still have.

ol Sovicl ond NonWarsaw Pact Tanks

hc Soviets, Poles, snd CtcchaslovslsacKicssivcly marketed both newly produced indSoviet-designed tsnks around tike world.lut have been refurbished and, in some cases, unproved can be found In various Third World armies,Ss are in service on every continent, except Antarctica andtill serve as frontline tanks In the armies ofCuba, Egypt Iraq, Israel. North Korea. Libya, Syria, Vietnam, and South Yemen.2 has also been marketed outside of the Warsaw Pact (see tableurrently, the armies of Algeria, India. Iraq. Libya. Syria, and Yugoslavia have purchased basic. In some cases, the numbersnvolved have been nominal, but. In the case of India, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, the purchases have been more substantial. Tots have not been exported, even to Warsaw Pact allies

urrently, the Soviets are marketing at least one improved version of2 in the Third World, and in the near future they probably wiU begin toersion of0 outside the Warsaw Pact Potential customers include those countries that haven the past Thc USSR probably sail also market,o customers that do not need the latest model tanks or cannot afford them.

or many years the Poles and Cxechoslovaks hava. marketed their domesticallyutside the5 production appears to have ceased in Czechoslovakia and should cease In Poland by the endfter that, both countries may seek to sellndmay try toroduced under bccnse. presiiniubly tn areas where they successfullyn tlie past

he Romaniam recently entered the export market with the TRnd haveo the Egyptian Army. The Romanians probably will switch to production and marketing of the more capable

Table 2


Tanks2 Series to States

Warsaw Pact*


Fumesi*rria made by

ojnclusions about how NATO antitank forces would fare whinoviet conventional offensive spearheaded by Soviet tank unit* We must assume that our estimates about the protection leveb of Soviet tank armor are correct and that we have also correctly estimated the capabilities of them smoothbore gun and its ammunition.*


ur lack of rdiabte, detailed information about the composition, conuguration, and dimensions of the frontal armor of all modern Soviet tanks except the2 makes il dilhcult to draw reliable

o pile US antitank lovers' improvingretard to individual engagements with SovielIhey and iheir NATO allies Hill aretlie fubstantial numerical superiority of Soviet

tank lorces* This fact will make it necessary for US soldiers responsible for engaging Soviet tanks with direct-fire, ground weapons to make Intelligent use of well-prepared defensive positrons, to exercise fireand lo strive whenever possible lo engage the enemy from above or from the flanks. Such tactics will remove lhc guesswork from frontal eiigagerncnts by ensuring kilts even when ranges arc lone or when US soldiers arc armed with older, less capable munitions. Even if these soldiers arc able lo apply these tactics successfully, adequate leveb of well-coordinated air and artillery support may prove to bexiccessful defense

hb situation probably will not change signifi-candy for several years because slow improvements in

Wioi. Pact'sniory In theTheaterrv Openiiom cwownber,i4 inventory in onlnt twooe byiHsriymargin.


Posture will be offset by gradual improvements io US antitank capabilities. Many ofs in the Croups of Forces are being repUccdndbut this replacement process is proceeding stdwly.'

A "ricty of more capable

air and artillery fire support weapons should alsoliable.

HO. Thus, for the lorcsceable future Warsaw Pact Unk forces willormidable array of NATO antitank weapons. However, the Pact can still Iced many more lustily capable tanksonflict in central Europe than NATO. Ultimately, this fact alone presents NATO commandedroblem that cannot be solved strictly through technolosncal

rends in Soviel Tank Gun Ammunition

When the Soviets adopted the smoothbore guntha principal armament of tbeit main battle tanks, they did so to achieve high muzzle velocities and, therefore. Batter ballistic trajectories and greater ki-nelic-enerev penetrations. Because no riOing wasin tlie barrel to impart spin to stabilize the projectile in flight. Soviet ammunition designersprojectiles that incorporated fins to provide stabilization Folio wine traditional Soviet practice, which reflects the varied nature of theoviet main battle Unk would be expected to undertake, the Soviets developed three main types of ammunition: a kinetac-energy armor-piercinghaped-charge round,lih-explosive fragment at ion round The first two types wereprincipally to destroy armored vehicles, while the third type was Intended for use against "soft" targets such as personnel or lightly constructed

Is armor-piercing roundong rod penetrator; that is, it attacks enemy armor by meansetal dartong and thin (see. This dart is encasedacket or sabot that holds il In place in the gun barrel The sabot falls away after the dirt leaves tho barrel: The dart moves at high velocity and forces its way through arrnor plate by concerrtratirag its kinetk energy in the small cross section tip of the dart. The standard annor-piercing prorectile foralled lireteel dart, and it performed impressively in Its day. Recently, we have discovered that the Soviets fielded an annor-piercing round for2 thatteel dartungsten alloy cap. Apparently, they discontinued producing this round, then favor of the BM-6.

s shaped-charge round, which uses thearhead, attacks armor plate by meanset of molten metal. Its warhead consistsylindrical block of ex plowith acone-shaped


Cutaway Viewovietam Kinetic-Energy Tank Gun Round

depression in the forward end Iterhen theetonated at or near the Mirlaoc of iu target, the metal of the cone collapses and it propelled forward in the formhin high speed let Essential ly. this iet fr^sahroiigh tlie armor in the sametream of waterarden hose would Dowass of compacted mud. Generally, the pent! rat tonhaped-chargeirectly proportional to the diameter of the metal cone Ihe larger the diameter, the greater thc penetrationPenetrationbo sensitive to the explosive hll the material and design of the cone, the general precision of manufacturing, and die standoff distance from thc target.

4 The second postwar generation of Soviet tanks allm smoothbore gun, which wc believe toirect outgrowth ofs gun"m gun's KE projectile, called thelosely resembless original steel dartalthough it can penetrate more armor because of greater mass and higher velocity. Thealled thcb also similar in design tos, but it has greater penetration capability by virtue of its larger diameter. Likewise, tbe high-explosive fragmentation round is marginally bigger and. therefore, mote lethal than that of2 It abo incorporates improved eiplosiveielter waihead design

TVenlr orbdwuan ntirierIIV

mom |wn. butelieve thai ihrKblri rniafciini woh

5 These lounds all come in twocharge and the projectile Their design enables thb large ammunition to be easily handled by both crews and automatic loaders. Eicept for its metallic stub, the propellantombustible. It bduring firing, thus eliminating th* problem of disposal of spent shell casings that could quickly clutter the fighting compartment io combat. The metallicutomatically erected from the rear of the turret In2 series and automaticallyto the loader carousel in4 series.

6 TheE projectile was followedrojectile called thehich apparently provides no appreciable Improvement in penetration. Theungsten carbide core, and evidence strongly suggests thatm KE projectile called theetieiralorungsten alloy core Thb denser metal probably gives thet leastercent more penetration potential than theri steel dart. We believe that the Soviets willew series of rounds, which we assume all have greater capability lhan current rounds

o evidence exists lo suggest lhal an improved shaped-charge round has been developed form gun. TheTCM probably supplements or, in certain instances, replaces the shaped-charge round forndnd it almost certainly can penetrate more armor than thearhead


Original document.

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