1950s Soviet Union armor development was marked by attempts to find a suitable upgrade or replacement for the slowly aging T-54 medium tank. One such program was initiated by the KB-60M special design bureau of the Kharkov Plant, and resulted in one of the most interesting Soviet tank prototypes of this period: the Object 430.
To understand the background of this undertaking, we have to return to the desperate early days of Operation Barbarossa when the German war machine crushed the Soviet forces and advanced rapidly inland. To deny the invaders its precious machinery, the entire Kharkov machine factory was moved to Nizhny Tagil, where the men from Kharkov spent the war designing armor to battle the Nazi invaders. The Kharkov design bureau was merged with the Uralvagonzavod one and only returned back to war-torn Kharkov in the early 1950s. This split left the Uralvagonzavod bureau partially paralyzed as some of its best engineers – including A. A. Morozov, the future KB-60M chief designer – returned to Soviet Ukraine.
As a result of these changes, when the army request to design the T-54 successor came, the only design bureau fully able to respond was the Kharkov plant – Uralvagonzavod was still reeling from the personnel losses, while the Chelyabinsk and Leningrad design bureaus were busy designing heavy tanks.
In 1953, a preliminary project designated “T-64” was introduced to the Soviet military. The Soviets were pleased with it, and on the 2nd of April, 1954, the project was officially started under the designation of “Object 430” by Order of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union No.598-265. Detailed drawings were ready later in 1954 and in May of 1955 the project advanced to its next stage (technical design). On the 11th of July 1956, the project was concluded with a presentation of a wooden mock-up of the Object 430.
The Object 430 followed the standard layout of the Soviet tanks that to some extent is still evident today: well-sloped and very thick frontal hull armor (120mm, comparable in thickness to the T-10 heavy tank), an extremely durable cast turret, and a 100mm D-54TS rifled gun. This gun itself had quite an interesting history but would in the end prove too weak to be a significant improvement over the D-10T.
In 1957, two prototypes were constructed (designated “Object 430-1Z” and “Object 430-2Z”). Alongside factory trials, comparison tests were carried out with the competing project, the “Object 140”, designed by Uralvagonzavod (work on that project began in 1952). The trials uncovered a number of defects and design issues in both prototypes (in particular related to engine design and maintenance) but in general they were successful and on the 6th of June 1958, the Kharkov plant was ordered to build three more prototypes for military trials. These prototypes were designated “Object 430-1P”, “Object 430-2P” and “Object 430-3P” and all three were ready for the trials by the December of 1959.
All three prototypes participated in a test that was divided into two parts. The first part took place between the 7th of March and the 10th of July, 1960 with prototypes 2 and 3 participating, the second part took place between the 26th of January and 20th of May, 1961 with prototypes 1 and 2 taking the tests.
As a result of these tests, changes were made to two prototypes (Object 430-2Z and Object 430-3P) and these modified vehicles were renamed to “Object 430M-1” and “Object 430M-2”. In the end the testing committee concluded that the Object 430 medium tank fulfilled all the required criteria and was ready for mass production, but the design had one major flaw that would in the end prove fatal: it did not significantly improve on the performance of the T-54.
At the same time, the Object 165 and Object 166 trials took place – these two vehicles (which would enter service under the designations T-62A and T-62) had one major advantage: they did not require a significant overhaul of production lines, due to the use of previously developed methods and components from the T-54.
As a result of these trials and the lack of significant performance improvement over the T-54 medium tank, the Object 430 project was terminated on the 17th of February, 1961 by Order of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union No.141-58. The T-64 temporary designation would then pass on to the Object 432 medium tank, which would later on be produced under the same name.
In Armored Warfare
In Armored Warfare, the Object 430 is a tier 3 premium Main Battle Tank. Its premium status means it has no upgradeable modules, although it can be upgraded with one retrofit (Universal slot). Its armor is average for its tier – it is extremely well sloped and the frontal turret is quite tough, but it lacks the HEAT-stopping capabilities of the T-64 frontal composite armor and can be penetrated by higher tier guns such as the 105mm L7 and its variants, and by the 115mm smoothbore found on the T-62. Its 990 hit points, however, offer players an above average survivability for a tier 3 vehicle.
The vehicle’s mobility is on the average side as well, with roughly the same properties as the T-64. Its 580hp engine allows it to go as fast as 55.8 km/h, and it can accelerate to 32 km/h in 8.5 seconds.
However, the Object 430 is well-armed with a 100mm D-54TS (also known as U-8TS) rifled gun. It can fire AP, HEAT and HE shells with the following characteristics:
- Armor-Piercing: 233mm penetration, 262 damage, 1200 m/s muzzle velocity
- HEAT: 193mm penetration, 288 damage, 750 m/s muzzle velocity
- HE: 17mm penetration, 295 damage, 500 m/s muzzle velocity
- Rate of fire: 7.5 rounds per minute
- Reload time: 8 seconds
- Aiming time: 3.9 seconds
- Gun depression: -6/+14
The slow aiming time and average accuracy make the vehicle more of a brawler than anything else. The armor-piercing shells are useful against a wide range of targets while the HEAT shells can wreak havoc on enemies with thin armor.
If you like to fight up close and personal, the Object 430 is the ideal premium tank for you.