The Russian T-95 Main Battle Tank History
After the end of the Cold War, there were two tank manufacturing plants in Russia, Omsktransmash who worked on the T-80 and Uralvagonzavod who worked on the T-72 and the now T-90.
The T-90 was a stop gap whilst waiting for a new principal Main Battle Tank.
Both Omsktransmash and Uralvagonzavod were each working on their own respective designs of a new tank, which would serve as the Russian Ground Forces principal Main Battle Tank.
Omsktransmash did develop a working prototype based on the T-80, which was publicly viewed at an arms fair and designated the Black Eagle. However with the poor performance of the T-80 in the first Chechen War, Russia announced it would never buy turbine gas engine vehicles again and would no longer buy T-80’s and so Omsktransmash went bust in 2002 and the Black Eagle project died on its feet.
Uralvagonzavod who had been developing their own design since 1994, known as Item 195 (AKA T-95 in the West) where left as the front runner. Their design was covered in a shroud of secrecy through out its development and the only known picture of it was of a tank under a sheet on a lorry.
The Russian T-95 Main Battle Tank Operators
On the first day of the Russian Defence Expo 2010 in Nizhny Tagil, The Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Biryulin, announced to the press that the Russian state monopoly Rosoboronexport was unveiling the prototype of “object 195” in a private showing to selected VIP guests.
Despite the secrecy surrounding the T-95, some information has been leaked. It appears that it weighs about 55tons and that it has a remote-controlled turret with a 152mm main gun capable of firing conventional rounds and guided missiles.
Like all countries around the world, Russia has been hit by economical difficulty and like others, its defence budget has been hard hit (South Korea and its new K2 Panther has also suffered as well) and it was announced in the earlier half of 2010 that the funding for purchasing the T-95 has been cut from the defence budget and that Russian Ground Forces will not be equipped with this new tank. Instead the T-90 production and modernisation will continue.
Uralvagonzavod still strongly believe that those VIP export clients who attended the Russian Defence Expo 2010 may still purchase this new tank, whilst others say it is out of date due to a 16yr long development. Either way, the shroud of secrecy of the T-95 still remains.