The post-war history of the Kharkiv Tank
Design Bureau virtually started in 1951 when Aleksandr A. Morozov returned to Kharkiv
and was appointed the Chief Designer of the KB-60M Design Bureau.
In the post-war period the tank production industry of the
country manufactured for the Soviet army mostly the
T-54 tank, created as early as 1947, or its versions T-54A and T-54B.
The army required a radically new tank that would considerably exceed
both Soviet and foreign tanks as to its characteristics.
A New Development Department was
formed in the KB-60M Design Bureau to work on a new tank. This department was headed by
Baran, who had returned from Nizhnyi Tagil by that time. He also became the
Deputy Chief Designer.
Concept studies for a layout and
design of the new tank were completed in 1953. The pre-draft design of the tank that differed by a number of new technical
solutions was approved by high-ranking officials. A directive
document was issued for organising the work on the new tank -
Decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 598-265 of April
The draft design of the new tank, which had the development
designation of the Obiekt 430, had been completed
by the end of 1954. Its main specific feature was the scheme and layout
of the power pack compartment - transverse position of a specially designed
for this tank two-stroke turbo-piston engine 4TPD (designed by the Diesel
Design Bureau of Plant No.75) with two planetary side transmissions located
at both sides of the engine. Such layout made it possible to reduce the
power pack compartment volume almost by twice in comparison with that
of the T-54 tank.
This was explained by eliminating
from the power pack compartment traditional component parts: central
gearbox, change-gear train, main clutch, two intermediate
transmission mechanisms, etc. Besides, the tank used an
ejection-type cooling system and a light-weight running gear with
metal hollow wheels of smaller diameter and rubberised tracks.
At the same time the Design Bureau worked out on its own initiative a draft design for an enhanced tank
called the Obiekt 430U and based on the new medium tank designated the Obiekt 430 which
mounted a 122 mm gun and had a considerably enhanced armour protection (front armour was 160 mm thick instead of 120
mm at the Obiekt 430). Essentially, it had the characteristics of a heavy tank. By some
parameters (allowance of ammunition, power-to-weight ratio, ground pressure, etc.) the Obiekt 430U, having the internal
space of the hull and turret of a medium tank, exceeded the characteristics of the existing at that time IS-3 and
IS-4 heavy tanks and experimental T-10 heavy tank. The '430U' tank weighed 42 tonnes, while the heavy tanks weighed
about 50 tonnes (e.g., the IS-4 weighed 60 tonnes).
Work on the project showed clearly
that the medium tank layout and design have reserves which enabled
heavy tank capabilities to be achieved in a simpler way.