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Russian Waterborne Tanks

Russian Waterborne Tanks

Tanks that won’t let water (or the sea) stop them…

At the beginning of the 1950’s, when the Soviet Union was booming, military authorities started researching attachable floatation devices for tanks.

The devices would be rigged up to the Army’s tanks allowing them to travel where no other tank had gone before. Prototype devices for the T-54 tank were made and tested on the Oka river in during the year of 1952. Trials soon began at sea, then finally in 1957, the floatation devices were passed into service.

russian floating tanks

Floating Tanks

Similar devices were designed and tested on T-55 and 3SU-57-2 tanks. Then in 1960 the an upgrade known as the PST-U, was put into service on the T-54 tanks.

pst-u for t-54 tank

PST-U Floatation Device For T-54

The PST-U consisted of five floats full of plastic foam, it was equipped with its own 500 liter fuel tanks, and would allow the tank to travel 7.5mph (12kph) in the water, or 11.8mph (19kph) on the ground.

The device could also carry a crew of 25 troops (the PST designed for the 3SU-57-2 could hold 40). And although it took four trucks to transport the PST-U, it apparently only took 35 mins to assemble.

ps-1 floatation for t-55 tank

PS-1 Floatation For T-55

In 1962 a newer lightweight PS1model for the T-55 tank was tested. This version could travel 13.7 kph and was small enough to be carried by just two trucks.

While the design and development of the PST-U was underway, other researchers began looking at high-velocity floatation devices. These floatation devices would each be equipped with its own engine to help propel the tank faster in the water.

powered floatation device

Powered Floatation Device

By the late 1960’s two new production prototypes passed tests and began mass production. Then in 1968 the new floatation devices were deployed on the tanks of battalions in Baltic and the Black Sea region.

powered floatation device

Powered Floatation Device For Tanks

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