Beginning in the 1950s, Soviet engineers worked on a combat vehicle that included a missile launcher instead of a standard tank cannon. A successful project was the T-64B tank, which includes both a cannon and a missile guidance system in its design.
Experimental models of tanks with missile launchers were developed at the production base of several factories, but none of the projects advanced to mass production, and some remained on paper. The reason for this was the lack of reliability and complexity of the rocket launcher along with the low combat ability and vulnerability of the tank itself due to the lack of a combat cannon.
The lack of all experimental samples - the lack of a gun was first eliminated in the T-64B tank model, which received the Cobra controlled tank armament complex.
The project started in the late 60s, and by the mid 70s the Soviet T-64B tank was already in service with the army. The dimensions of the missiles for the T-64B were developed taking into account the size of the artillery ammunition. To accommodate them, a standard automatic loader was used. The missiles were launched using a standard 125-mm tank gun.
The controlled complex "Cobra" ensured the defeat of stationary and mobile objects at distances of 0.1 - 4 kilometers. The complex worked effectively both from the spot and at the time of the movement of the combat vehicle. Other tanks, armor-piercing vehicles, small objects such as bunkers, as well as combat helicopters at altitudes up to 500 meters and speeds up to 300 km / h fell within the radius of destruction of the Cobra.
The missile guidance process was carried out in a semi-automatic mode. The interaction of the onboard equipment and the missile was automatically carried out using a modulated light source and its receiver in the gunner's sight. The missile received a radio signal and was automatically installed on the aiming line.
In addition, the T-64B tank became an experimental testing ground, where the new full-scale Ob tank weapon system was first used. With the help of the new fire control system, all work on the preparation, guidance of missiles and artillery shells has become easier. The complex included automation, which took into account many factors associated with firing, conditions of firing, and target parameters. To do this, the Ob device included various data recording sensors (ballistics, vehicle speed and position, weather conditions), aiming stabilizers, laser rangefinder, etc. The complex had a great influence on the further development of Soviet tank systems, becoming the basis for the further development of the control system fire.
The controlled complex "Cobra", which has shown its effectiveness, had a high cost price and was difficult to manufacture. In addition to its design, it was necessary to organize a special protective system against microwave rays of the 8-mm range. The entire guidance complex took up a fairly large tank space. In addition, its service required additional professional training of the staff.
Having a complex device and expensive components, the T-64B missile and gun tank was mass-produced until the mid-80s. Insufficient adaptation of the Soviet industry to the production of a large number of complex missile guidance systems and to save money, the production of the T-64B1 model, armed only with artillery shells and had no rocket launchers, was launched in parallel.
The Topic of Article: Soviet missile and gun tank T-64B.