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Russians deny new type of 'supertank'

T-80 Main Battle Tank of Russia. A File Photo.

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia has denied working on any project to develop a new-generation main battle tank (MBT) based on T-80 design and featuring explosive reactive armor and a box-shaped turret.

Ria Novosti Sunday said, Russian media has begun discussions on the secret tank dubbed “Black Eagle” developed by the Omsk Transmash design bureau whose pictures were shown in several publications and on the Internet.

However, Col. Vladimir Voitov, head of research at the Main Directorate of the Armored Troops has denied its existence.

“There was no such project...and those 20-year-old pictures show a mock-up of a futuristic tank which remained just a product of someone's imagination,” he said in an interview to the Echo Moskvy radio, Saturday.

He added that he was aware of a prototype of an experimental tank, but insisted that “the turret of the vehicle did not have anything inside.”

Media reports claimed that an early prototype of the Black Eagle was shown at an arms exposition in Siberia, in June 1999. It appeared to be based on a lengthened T-80U hull, and to have very thick front armor and new-generation Kaktus explosive reactive armor.

The reports said that the Black Eagle program was halted due to the acceptance of the T-90, built by the Uralvagonzavod plant, into the Russian military in the mid-1990s.

In addition, the State-owned Enterprise was chosen as the developer and manufacturer of a new-generation MBT, which will most likely have a designation as T-95.

Earlier Sergei Mayev, head of the Federal Service for Defense Contracts (Rosoboronzakaz) had said in July 2008 that the Russian Armed Forces would start receiving new-generation tanks superior to the T-90 main battle tank after 2010.

The new tank will feature better firepower, maneuverability, electronics and armor protection than the T-90 MBT. It is likely to be equipped with a 152-mm smoothbore gun capable of firing guided missiles with a range of 6,000-7,000 meters and its speed will increase from 30-50 kph to 50-65 kph (19-31 mph to 31-40 mph).

In comparison, the T-90 MBT has a 125-mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, which can fire AT-11 Sniper anti-tank guided missiles with a range of 4,000 meters, Ria Novosti said.

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