General information

The tank, Object 640, also known as Black Eagle, was developed in the 1990's by the Omsk design bureau of transport machine building [FGUP] [KBTM]. The full prototype Russian MBT named Chiorny Oriol (Black Eagle) was shown for the first time in 1999 at the VTTV-Omsk-99 exhibition referred by KBMZ as Object 640. The design originated from the now-closed Nikolai Popov's design bureau at Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) and later developed by Alexander Morozov. The Omsk being in managed bankruptcy since 2002 leaves the future of Object 640 uncertain at best. Another exhibition on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2003 during the exhibition of military equipment [VTTV]-Omsk-2003 the combat capabilities of the declassified tank Black Eagle (Object 640) was shown. Object 640 is a fourth generation tank, which utilizes innovative designs, which differs from classical designs of both domestic and foreign tanks. The tank turret was redesigned for overall size reduction along the height and sides with proposed subdivided nose section. For increased protection the crew is placed in the hull no higher than the level of the turret mounting. The crew is completely isolated from projectiles and the armored fuel cell as well as solid-reactant gases expelled by rounds fired from the main gun. Projectiles and ammo storage of the first turn are placed in the automatic loader located in the detachable armored module at the rear portion of the turret and supplied with knock-out elements for the directed outlet of shock wave. Tank protection employs a three-level structure, which includes protection from detection, active protection from damage, which moves in the direction of tank, and differentially placed passive armor protection with elements of dynamic and hydrodynamic protection. This in connection with the increased tank mass and increased mobility is included in this design.


As is noted by many contemporary specialists, in regards to the decrease in probability of confrontation between large armed forces, combat use prioritizes use of tanks in local conflicts as reinforcing means requiring increased mobility, ability to perform rapid scanning and ease of transport makes the design criteria. This is considered with the reduction of mass to 40-50 metric tons maximum without compromise to hull and turret armor protection.

Reduction of mass must not reduce the survivability of tank in the battlefield nor reduce the life cycle of a series for standardized production. The guarantee of viability shall, first of all, ensure the survivability of the tank crew, next the machine as a whole, with consideration to minimal vehicle losses by utilizing rapidly replaceable modules of armoring, detachable [TZM] and other components.

Description of the construction of the tank

The tank hull encompasses the track system, inhabited and motor transmission compartments. The turret, installed on the upper hull, includes the weapons system with ammo storage of high efficiency projectiles, main gun with automatic loader and system protection. The turret exterior low in profile with a flat cupola aligned in the front, rounded off about the edges passing along the sides to a rectilinear rear section separated by a vertical armored divider. The protection system has three levels. Protection first includes electro-optical radiation-detection instruments for identifying the enemy, observation and weapons guiding, and jamming of enemy guidance systems. Secondly, active protection ensures detection and pre-detonating enemy projectiles. Thirdly, composite armor consisting of passive and plug-in units of armor protection is utilized.

The nose section of the armored hull is divided into airtight isolated armored sections by vertical armor sheets installed along the longitudinal axis of the tank. The middle section contains the control compartment consisting of general space within the fighting compartment and onboard sections are made with the internal fuel tanks placed in them. The combat mode crew area is in the hull not higher than the level of the turret mounting. The crew area is isolated from the armored fuel and projectiles in ammo storage. The gun breech is placed in a section isolated from the crew such that protection from entry of solid-reactant gases associated with firing of the main gun is afforded.

The drivers hatch is installed in the upper hull, while the turret has two hatchways for the tank commander and spotter. The inhabited compartment for the crew has adjustable seats that can be positioned in traveling and combat mode. In combat mode the crew is located completely in the hull not higher than the turret mounting. In traveling mode the tank commander and spotter are located partially in the hull and in the turret.

All projectiles and ammo storage are located outside the tank at maximum possible distance from the areas inhabited by the crew. The ammo in the auto loader is located behind the turret above the roof of motor transmission compartment within the detachable armored module. Ammunition is horizontally packed in the mechanized chain loader and oriented in the longitudinal axis of the gun and fed through opening in the loader module only during breech loading of projectile. Knock-out elements are in portions of the roof of the detachable ammo module in the event of ammo storage explosion. This directs shock wave propagation mainly upward and to the side away from the crew and the motor transmission compartment.

Passive protection of the tank is integrated with armor, whose upper layers are made in the form the cells, filled with combinational elements of built-in dynamic protection, hydrodynamic protection and other forms of protection. Combat detonated elements of the system or active protection are located outside on the turret and on the perimeter of the detachable armored module [TZM] with the possibility of reaction to projectile attack from any direction. Plates of anti-radiation material are installed on the vertical armor sheets on sections of hull including the sides protecting fuel tanks and plates of fragment-proof material are installed on the sides of the control and fighting compartment.

The tracks of the undercarriage of the tank are supplied with detachable extensions with the possibility of their installation from both sides in each track. The overall width of the tank with extensions removed was sized for standard railroad transport dimensions.

Design introduction of the crew in the hull, ammo storage in the armored detachable module and armored fuel cell in isolated sections for crew protection, significantly increases the survivability of the crew in field conditions even in the case where the tank is knocked out by enemy fire. Coupled with the general protection system consisting of three levels of protection, significantly increases the vitality of the tank in field conditions.

Nevertheless, in principle, the tank preserves a classical design, with basic armament placed in the revolving turret, power plant and transmission in the rear portion of the hull and crew in a separated compartment. The driver inhabits the control compartment in the nose section of the hull, and the commander and spotter inhabit the fighting compartment in the same area as the revolving turret.


Vitality of the tank shall properly preserve combat efficiency in the battlefield and ensure ability to repair damage after the engagement. The vitality solution is systematic since multiple integrated combat characteristics of the tank are considered in the design. The tank protection system utilizes several different methods to increase overall protection. Traditionally an increase in the armored hull and turret of the tank from projectiles, results in increased tank mass. In order to reduce mass within permissible limits a number of solutions were utilized including reducing the overall turret size and height and placing the crew within the hull instead of the turret and implementing a three-level protection structure. By these design considerations the tank mass does not exceed 50 metric tons.

Protection systems utilize three distinct and integrated forms versus projectile damage. Traditional passive armor protection inherent to all tanks remains a key element for armor placement on the hull and turret, and is also augmented by removable modules integrated with dynamic and hydrodynamic protection. The armor thickness varies throughout the hull and turret. Naturally the greatest armor thickness in the hull is the front glacis and lower nose sheet for greater protection from projectiles and substantially less thick on the side sheets of hull. In this case the front third of the hull is made with thicker armor. Additional protection from multiple projectile attacks is afforded for the armored fuel cells using vertical armor sheets installed underneath the fragment-proof and anti-radiation materials. The forward section of the hull also has screens with dynamic elements of protection and resin-metal protective shields on entire length of hull.

The turret construction ensures the best protection from aerial attack in comparison to existing tank design. The protections of the turret and modular cassette employ combat elements, which are aimed and descended by parachute used for the destruction of targeted projectiles of the form (impact nucleus) 155 mm artillery shells like the SADARM (USA), BONUS (Sweden), SMART (FRG) and others including [PTRK] of the type [Bill]-2, Javelin missile and so forth.

The total effectiveness of combined armor and dynamic protection of frontal areas on the tank from projectiles and mines considerably exceeds the protection level of contemporary tanks with typical mass of 60 tons or more. Because of these integrated protection systems, the use of passive armor protection need not be as great, thus reducing mass.

The second level active protection system, integrated with the combat detonated elements of the type Thrush-2, ensures detection and pre-detonation of projectiles targeting the tank at a distance from the hull in order to prevent knocking out the tank. The elements of the active protection system designated Thrush-2 includes blocks of fixed radar tracking stations in the tank hull sides and detachable roof modules, controlled from the commanders location analyzing information and managing launching of shielding ammunition from the appropriate mortar, each of which provides complete coverage of assigned sector. Sectors of protection also overlap thus the complete system ensures pre-detonation of enemy projectiles arrive at the tank from any direction. Thrush or Arena system mortars and contained ammunition are further protected by light armor to avoid pre-detonation themselves.

The first level of defense is the Blind (Blind-2 and the rest), system for detection and suppression of the enemy optical-electronic means intended for observation and weapons guiding. Detection and suppression effectiveness can be achieved to a maximum distance of 5,000 m and a minimum of 500 m. The Blind system includes indicators from front and rear sector laser emission from turret roof installed components and mortar controls located on the detachable module for smoke grenades and the like.

Operation of Protective Systems

As part of the Blind system, optical-electronic suppression detectors detect and track enemy projectiles at large distances. By automatically (or upon command) firing an aerial grenade from one of the mortars in the direction of enemy detected projectile, the system is able to disrupt projectile targeting such that detonation occurs at safe distances from the tank with minimal damage to armor protection. Grenades form a shielding cloud that disrupt self-homing heads and hamper the effectiveness of operators [PTRK] and controlled artillery shells.

Projectiles coming into contact with the tank by explosive or HE fragmentation encounter the active protection Thrush system containing combat detonated elements. Radar detection of enemy projectiles headed at the tank will cause the control unit will give command for counter measures. Shielding ammunition is launched from the appropriate mortar creating a fragmentation field at a distance from the tank that prevents its damage in order to pre-detonate the projectile. Protection sectors have overlapping coverage with adjacent mortars. These mortars cover the entire tank from projectiles from any origination.

Further protection of tank is ensured by powerful passive armor, where the most probable damage areas like the front and side hull and turret are equipped with detachable, replaceable blocks of built-in dynamic (hydrodynamic) protection. In the event of armor penetration, crew survival is increased by removal of ammunition from both inside the hull and in the turret, whereby the combat mode crew arrangement is in the hull no higher than turret mounting.

Should explosion occur in the armored auto loader module due to penetration, knock-out covers will release rejecting explosive energy upward and sideward from the hull. Deliberate separation of the armored auto loader module from the gun breech and inhabited portion of turret by a shutter improves crew protection from explosion. The crew is further protected from possible explosion in the fuel cell by armor sheets between the fuel compartment and crew compartment. This compartment has anti-radiation and fragment-proof protection material included. Furthermore the main gun breech is also compartmentalized from the inhabited portion of the turret for further crew protection from expelled solid-reactant gases. Lastly the crew is afforded combined turret armor and added external sheets which considerably increase hardness. Ability to remove the armored module in the case of extensive damage ensures good maintainability of the tank as a whole.


The protoype uses a 125 mm 2A46M-series smoothbore gun.

The hull of new tank also has special features, which considerably distinguish it from the hulls of domestic and western tanks of previous generations. The hull is divided into three compartments by armored bulkheads. All members of crew members are placed in the hull of the tank lower than the level of turret and the driver is isolated from the fuel tanks, located in the highly-protected front part of the hull.

Drawing of the hull Object 640

The drivers hatch is installed in the hull, while hatches for the tank commander and spotter are in the turret. The inhabited crew compartment has adjustable seats for the driver, tank commander and spotter. Seats can be adjusted to traveling or combat mode positions, in which the crew is placed entirely in the hull in combat mode position and when in traveling position the tank commander and spotter are located partially in the hull and in the turret.

Plates of anti-radiation material are attached to the hull vertical armor sheets where the fuel tanks are located and plates of fragment-proof material are attached to the hull vertical armor sheets where the driver control and fighting compartment are located.


Drawing of the turret Object 640

The turret utilizes two symmetrically diverse armor sections rigidly fixed to the general base. Each section employs diverse external and internal side walls, installed along the front outline in the sector from the gun mount to the hull side axis of the turret in the form of truncated pyramids located tangentially. The angle slope of the lateral pyramid faces is equal to 20-30° from the base.

Higher probability and destructiveness of roof originating projectiles was considered in the turret design. The circular form of turret side and roof slope increase the protection effect of side and roof targeted projectiles.

Drawing of the turret elements Object 640

The turret armor protection of internal surfaces including front and rear walls by utilizing optimum selection of armor components including mutual arrangement and overall sizes provides increased protection 1.7-2 times while only increasing overall mass by 20-30%, moreover protection is improved with slope angles of +35-40°.

Schematic of the highly-protected turret Object 640

Due to improvement in turret armor construction by optimization of basic geometric dimensions (height and width) and selection of easily installed armor components provides a substantial increase in protection and vitality of the turret, namely:

Mechanism of loading (autonomous detachable transport-loading container)

One additional distinguishing feature of the tank Black Eagle both from domestic and foreign standard designs is re-location of the entire ammo storage separately from the crew. This is accomplished within the [TZM] (autonomous detachable transport-loading module) placed behind the turret. Black Eagle design of mechanized ammo storage allows an advantage in comparing previous models of domestic and foreign tanks.

Automatic mechanized loading [AMZ] of the turret main gun include projectile storage, belt conveyer, conveyor rotation drive, cassette to transport projectile, projectile holding mechanism, receiving chute, drive mechanisms for stop positioning of conveyor, discharge of cassettes and ramming and two knock-out elements with the covers for directing blast waves associated with interior explosions [TZK].

Drawing of the loader elements [TZM] "Object 640"

The loading mechanism permits automatic projectile feeding to the main gun with the module extension of stored ammunition controlled from the fighting compartment but isolated outside within the autonomous detachable armor transport-loading container.

The autonomous armor transport-loading container is attached to the rear wall of turret, in which contains the conveyor with projectiles, rotating drive mechanisms and conveyor locking, setting and removal of projectiles in the conveyor cassettes and ramming of projectile into the main gun.

System of Fire Control

The control compartment provided to the commander have equal switchable functional capabilities in the fire control such that operational transfer of system control from spotter to commander and vice versa including independent spotter start controls in the event of commander incapacitation. Each of the mentioned crew work sites is supplied with standardized monolithic electronic control located in the center section with a multifunctional panel [MFP]. The front panel [MFP] display shows information in a menu tree structure with such features as thermal-vision imaging of locality, topographic and tactical situational data and monitoring information about the tanks systems.

The control system can support future additional armament by connection to the data bus. The fire control system links the spotter and commander sights, ballistic calculator, gun stabilizer of armament and with system of the mechanized loading system and control of additional armament if present. The spotter and commander [MFP] is connected to central data bus, with the possibility of integration with the tank information-control system. In the case of [MFP] failure or the commander himself the exchange of data control can be switched [TIUS] to the spotter.

Standardized compact electronic monolithic control equipment make it possible to access all elements of control by either the spotter or commander, which ensures better process of observation and delivery of fire and increased convenience in combat and instruction situations.

Multifunctional panel [MFP]

Composition. The spotter’s basic sight and commander’s panoramic sight use independent sighting stabilization in two planes including thermal-vision, optical vision and ranging. The fire control system uses an electronic digital ballistic computer, which automatically generates correction for the target speed and position, crosswind, range to target, wear of bore, bend of barrel, gun crosshair axis recording, temperature and atmospheric air pressure and interfaces with the [MFP] controlled by the spotter and commander. Control panels of the spotter and commander sights, ballistic calculator, gun stabilizer and the mechanized loading system are connected to a central data bus.

Operation. The armament control system works in the following regimes: Basic automatic (Basic-A); Basic semiautomatic (Basic-PA); Double automatic (Double-A); Aim designation [TSU]; Manual.

The Hull

The hull of the tank is made according to multi-purpose design for use with tracks. Each link is supplied with two detachable extensions, installed, correspondingly, from the side outer from the tank and from the inside. Extenders are established with the aid of the bolting in the clamps on the outside end connections of track. With extensions removed the average footprint pressure 0.87-0.9 [kg]/[m]2, is comparable to contemporary tanks. With installed extensions the average footprint pressure 0.80-0.81 [kg]/[m]2, permits optimum stability in traversing ground of low bearing capacity. The overall size with extensions installed on the tracks exceeds standard railroad dimension, however, removal of the extensions makes it possible to decrease the overall width of tank along the tracks for proper transporting of tank by rail flatcars.

Drawing of the tracks Object 640 with detachable extensions

By application of detachable extensions on the tracks, makes it possible to convert to transport ready. After disengaging bolts on the external clamps, the tank can be packed in the standard railroad dimension for transport by railroad and, if necessary, join the battle immediately after unloading from the rail flatcar. At the same time the installation of extensions ensures pass ability on ground with low bearing capacity.


A running dummy tank was first demonstrated at the second exhibition [VTTV] Omsk in 1997. It represented the T-80[u] tank hull with a new turret installed. Since then the model with the new turret was installed on a multi-purpose chassis. Both mock-prototype models differed considerably in design features and assembly from the actual prototype tank described above. The tank was created under the most burdensome economic conditions of Omsk tank builders.

The solutions realized for Black Eagle can serve as a basis for future designs and become the Object of military technical collaboration between Russia and foreign countries. Based on previous statements from representatives of the Ministry of Defense [RF] the production of tank Object 640 has not been done. Nevertheless, the design innovations in this model will serve as significant guidelines for the modernization of existing tanks. The elements of the construction of this tank are used for modernization of production tanks T-80[u], export modifications to tank T-55 and other machines. Another developmental improvement is the standardized turret [KBTM]. The standardized turret is intended for installation on the chassis of different tanks, including foreign, for the purpose of their modernization. With the external basically similar the main difference is higher protection of the turret roof and slightly better durability as a whole.  

Update May 2019, Russia has standardized on variants of the T-90 as its MBT.

The materials used:

Patent for the invention RU 2 169 336 C2

Patent for the invention RU 2 233 418 C2

Patent for the invention RU of 2 165 617 C1

Patent for the invention RU of 2 22 6664 C1

Patent for the invention [EA] 2225

Alexander Koshchavtsev. "The Black Eagle " // 3.99

Jim Warford (1998) in Armor vol. 108, no. 5, pp 30–33.


Dimensions: (mm) L7,000 x W3,582 x H1,800 x 451 clearance

Weight: 48 metric tons

Crew: 3

Engine: 1,250 hp 16-cyl. turbo-diesel first prototype (1999), 1,500 hp latest prototype (2004)

Max Road Speed: ? km/h

Max cross-country Speed: ? km/h

Power/Weight: 31 hp/tn

Ground Pressure: 0.81 kg/

Range: ? km

Obstacle negotiation:

     Fording depth: ? m

     Trench width: ? m

     Vertical obtsacle: ? m

     Maximum gradient: ?°


     Main Weapon: 125mm 2A46M smoothbore

     Rate of fire: 10-12 rounds/min

     Ammunition: 30 Rounds of 125mm

     Ammunition Types: APFSDS, HEAT, HEF and potentially ATGM through main gun

Auxiliary armament: co-axial 7.62-mm plus provision for remote 12.7-mm AA MG


     Rangefinder: laser

     Night Vision: thermal imager

     Fire Control: ?

     Jammers: Passive, No active jammers?

     Active protection: Drozd-2

     Onboard Computer: ?

on-board information system: subsystems status, GPS, HQ & units link

Other: NBC, auto-fire-fighting equipment, self-digging blade, air conditioning

Front armor extremely sloped with new generation "Kaktus" ERA



Southeast Armored Division

Black Eagle Developmental History


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