Categories
Cold War Soviet Other Vehicles

IT-1

USSR (1964)
Rocket tank destroyer – 220 built

Introduction

During the Cold War, the Soviets began work on two designs for ATGM Raketniy tanks, literally meaning “Rocket Tanks”. One of the vehicles was the IT-1, based on the chassis of the T-62. Its designation was short for ‘Istrebitel Tankov’ (Истребитель Танков), literally ‘Tank Destroyer’, it was also known as the Object 150. Its competition was the Taifun 9M15, or Typhoon, also known as Object 287, based on the T-64.
Both of the vehicles took part in tests in 1964. The Taifun performed badly, its development being subsequently canceled. This cleared the way for the IT-I.
IT-1 promotional photograph - Source: Alternate Wars
IT-1 promotional photograph – Source: Alternate Wars

Design

The hull and engine were taken straight from the T-62, without modification. 220 IT-1 vehicles were built. 60 of these were manufactured by multiple firms. 20 of these were built by the Uralvagonzavod factory in 1970.
The IT-1’s 3-man crew consisted of a driver, a gunner and a commander. The vehicle saw a very limited service between 1968 and 1970 in two battalions of the Carpathian and Belarusian military districts. The IT-1 featured a very unique, “Flattened-dome” turret, which housed its main armament, and a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun with a 2000 round supply.

The Drakon

The 3M7 Drakon missile - Source: RMTE.info
The IT-1’s main armament consisted of a 2KA ATGM launcher firing the PTUR 3M7 “Drakon” missile. The missile was radio-command guided, via the SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command to Line-Of-Sight) guidance system. It could penetrate 250 mm (9.8 in) of rolled-homogeneous armor, angled at 60 degrees, at ranges up to 3300m.
The T2-PD and UPN-S night-vision equipment theoretically allowed night operation of the missiles. However, the missile’s effective range was substantially reduced in this situation. Day range was 300 to 3300m, night range, however, was a meager 400 to 600m
The firing sequence was thus: A small hatch would open in the roof of the turret. The rail, with the attached missile, would swing forwards. Once locked in position, the folding wings would open, at the same time shedding its protective casing. The missile was launched slightly upward, at an angle, in order to reduce the effect of any wind interference during the early stages of unguided flight. A tracer allowed the guidance system to track and transmit radio commands.
When fired, the guidance system used one of seven frequencies and two codes to prevent other IT-1 unit’s guidance systems interfering with each other’s missiles. There was a slight “dead-zone” around the vehicle, meaning that the missile traveled unguided for a few meters before receiving it’s radio commands.
The vehicle carried fifteen 3M7 Drakon missiles, twelve of which in an automatic loader, three more rounds were placed in an unarmoured container found on the rear of the turret.
The IT-1 in Patriot Park, Kubinka - Credits: Vitally V. Kuzzmin
The IT-1 in profile at Patriot Park, Kubinka. Photo: Vitally V. Kuzzmin

The IT-1 in Patriot Park, Kubinka - Credits: Vitally V. Kuzzmin
The IT-1 at Patriot Park, Kubinka, from the front, displaying its low profile. Photo: Vitally V. Kuzzmin
The IT-1 in Patriot Park, Kubinka - Credits: Vitally V. Kuzzmin
Rear of the IT-1 showing off the famous “Log” at Patriot Park, Kubinka. Photo: Vitally V. Kuzzmin

Fate

The 520 kg of guidance equipment required for the missile proved extremely impractical. This, coupled with the limited amount of ammunition carried, made it unpopular with its users.
The vehicle was soon withdrawn from service and the two units using them were disbanded. The IT-1 didn’t go straight to the scrap yard however, the vehicles eventually ended up being converted into the IT-1T partial ARV tractors. The only modifications were the fixed positioning of the turret, and the addition of recovery gear once the ATGM launcher had been removed. They were then converted again into the BTS-4V recovery vehicle.
For a time the vehicle sat in the Kubinka tank museum. It now sits in the Patriot Park at Kubinka.
An article by Mark Nash

IT-1 specifications

Dimensions 6.63 oa x 3.30 x 2.8 m (21’9” x 10’9” x 9’1”)
Total weight, battle ready 35.4 tons
Crew 3 (driver, gunner, commander)
Propulsion V-55A Diesel (580 hp)
Suspension torsion bar
Speed (road) 55 km/h (34.1 mph)
Armament 2K4 ATGM System firing 3M7 “Dragon” ATGM
7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun
Armor Hull: 102/79/46 mm (4.01/3.11/1.81 in)
Turret: 206 mm (8.1 in) at the front, 100 mm (3.93 in) sides and roof
Total production 220

Sources

Specifications of Russian missile tanks on the Big Book of Warfare
Information on a preserved IT-1
Missile Tanks on survincity.com

Soviet Propaganda video showing the IT-1 in testing

IT-1
Tank Encyclopedia’s own Illustration of the IT-1 by David Bocquelet.