The Russian news source Sputnik is reporting that “the image of a top-secret Soviet tank of the late-1980s appeared on the Web earlier this week, along with a short list of its technical characteristics.” The article notes that photographs of the Buntar (Rebel) tank have appeared on several online forums, including recently posted pictures of the the vehicles modular armor, an antiaircraft gun placed under the commander’s seat and fiber optic observation instruments instead of the conventional prism-type ones. The article goes on to note:
Online forum participants all agree that, back in its day, the Buntar was a major breakthrough in the field of tank design.
The Buntar tank was designed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as part of an effort to develop a new generation of battle tanks for the Soviet armed forces.
A number of prototypes were built as part of the program, launched in the early 1980s with two-stroke diesel engines, gas-turbine engines, T-64 chassis, electric transmission and two- and three-man crew configurations.
The year 1987 saw the advent of a principally new concept, built around 152mm smoothbore cannon.
Many of the tank designs developed as part of that program are still classified.
Unfortunately, the article does not contain any of the pictures that it mentions. Combing though the forums, we have been able to assemble a photo gallery of the “Buntar”, also known at Object 490A.
Forum member “LooSeR” at the Sturgeon’s House online forum provides this description of the Object 490A Buntar.
Object 490A was most likely build in some kind of working prototype, but how far it reached is unknown. Project was not far from Leningrad Kirov factory programm to create new tank of the future – Object 299 / Project “Leader 2000-2005”. New tank had new turret with autoloader in the middle, 2 crewmembers in the low-profile turret, deiver in the front. Gun was mounted externally.
Tank is armed with 152 mm cannon with all 34 rounds in special 2-stage autoloader. 2 stage were 2 mechanized ammoracks with 12 rounds each, while first stage loading device had capacity of 10 rounds. RoF was expected to reach 14 rounds per minute.
FCS “Argus” had multichannel sights with TV, Thermal imager and (possibly) radar channels. Information from all channales was collected by computer, which generated picture for a crew, based on all data from TV, TI and Radar, which was expected to give very good perfomance in bad weather, smoke, dust enviroment + active jamming from enemy. FCS was expected to locate and remember positions of enemy targets, showing them to crew in easy-to-read display/image. On board computer will give information about location of the tank, and status of different systems.
Engine was planned to be 6TD, with later modification to 6TD-3 (1500 HP). Overall, it is rumored that tank would had:
Weight of 50 tons
Crew of 3
1200-1500 HP engine and ~28 hp/t power to weight ratio
More than 75 km/h max speed on road and 50-60 km/h max speed offroad
0.8 kg/sm2 ground pressure
152 mm gun with 34 rounds in fully-mechanized ammorack
Protection against APFSDS in frontal projection – at least 1200 in RHA eq. (without ERA)
Protection against HEAT in frontal projection – at least 1800 in RHA eq. (without ERA)
If anyone has any corrections or additions we can add to this post, please feel free to contact us or comment.