Over the past few years, the Russian military department has been conducting a program to increase the security of armored vehicles. Lattice screens and additional armor elements have become the hallmark of the latest T-90M and T-80BVM tanks, as well as BMPT combat vehicles. Moreover, since this year, all contracts for the supply of BMP-3 (and possibly BTR-82) contain requirements for equipping equipment with fasteners for additional protection.
Back in the early 2010s, the Ministry of Defense was quite skeptical about such modifications of combat vehicles. Several times, the project of a special body kit for tanks – the so-called "urban combat kit" - began, and then unexpectedly ended.
Many Russian military experts criticized the American experience of equipping armored vehicles with additional protection during the fighting in Iraq. Also, extremely negative reviews were received by Ukrainian "bed" tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. These machines with welded additional lattice screens were massively used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard in battles in the south-east of the country.
The beginning Until recently, the Russian Armed Forces had limited experience in using grid screens and additional booking. During the second war in Chechnya, special kits were released to refine serial armored personnel carriers BTR-80. The exact number of products produced is unknown. But presumably there were about a thousand of them.
After the end of hostilities, three battalions equipped with T-62 tanks underwent revision. The vehicles belonged to the 70th, 71st and 291st regiments of the 42nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division. Lattice screens were installed on the sides of the tanks, and also covered the rear of the tower. The lattice "sixty-second" served until 2009, when the division was disbanded and its regiments were reorganized into motorized rifle brigades.
It is noteworthy that the "Chechen" T-62 managed to take part in the August 2008 battles in South Ossetia. At least one car was lost. On August 10, a tank of the 71st regiment was shot down in Tskhinvali under unclear circumstances. Her commander, Junior Lieutenant Neff, was killed.
In several papers and materials of scientific and practical conferences, specialists of the Russian military department explained the shortcomings of additional armor protection. In particular, the grilles load the chassis of combat vehicles. This leads to possible breakdowns, as well as premature resource consumption.
The first attempts In 2012-2013, the Ministry of Defense began the project of the so-called urban tank. It was about special protection kits for T-72 and T-90 tanks, which were supposed to make them effective for conducting combat operations in urbanized areas. It was planned that the kits would be stored in warehouses. And they will be installed if necessary.
Then sources in the military department called the approximate parameters. To overcome the rubble, the city tank will be equipped with a bulldozer bucket-dump. In addition, the bottom of the tank will be reinforced with armored plates to protect against mines and land mines laid on the road. And around the hull, according to sources, "a special grid will be fixed, which will detonate the warhead of portable anti-tank complexes before contact with the armor."
It was assumed that the creation of the kit would be handled by the Research Institute of Steel. However, the institute noted that at that time the negotiations with the military were preliminary. In particular, the representative of the Research Institute said that "now the work is being carried out with the Ministry of Defense at the level of oral negotiations, so the final parameters of the kit, including the price, will be determined only after all the documents are processed."
In the same year, at the Russian Arms Expo in Nizhny Tagil, the T-72B3 tank for urban combat was exhibited at the UralVagonZavod Corporation. Apparently, the car was an initiative development of UVZ, as evidenced by its characteristic camouflage coloring "desert zigzag".
The tank was equipped with a bulldozer blade, additional elements of dynamic protection (they completely covered all sides of the tank), and the sides and rear of the tower were covered with grilles. The tank commander's seat was equipped with special armored screens. But the main feature of the "urban" T-72B3 was the active protection system.
In addition to the static exposition, the tank participated in a dynamic display of equipment. He drove, overcame obstacles and hit targets with a cannon and a machine gun. In general, the tank showed good mobility. Outwardly, it did not look like the "urban" novelty was losing in its driving qualities to the usual "seventy-second" and "nineties".
It is noteworthy that in the same year, the T-72 and T-90 equipped with lattice screens were widely presented at the RAE for the first time. They, as well as on the "urban" T-72B3, covered the rear part and the turret of the tanks.
Work on tank sets of urban combat dragged on for almost seven years. In particular, some sources mentioned that the work was completely closed, and then started anew.
And only in the spring of last year, Major General Sergei Bibik, appointed head of the Main Armored Vehicle Department, said in his interview: "The experience gained in local armed conflicts allowed us to complete work on the creation of modern sets of additional protection to serial tanks and infantry fighting vehicles for their actions in urbanized areas. In 2020, the kits will already be delivered to the troops."
However, the head of the GABTU did not name which elements are included in the "city kit". Also, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in the new "body kit" have not yet appeared at exhibitions and open presentations. There are no photos of new products on social networks yet.
Masterpieces of armor protection
It is clear that in his interview, Major General Sergei Bibik refers to the experience of "local armed conflicts". Without a doubt, we are talking about the fighting in Syria. There, government troops created entire "masterpieces" with the help of armor protection elements and lattice screens. Most likely, the analysis of the use of armored vehicles in combat in this country was the impetus for the Ministry of Defense to install additional protection elements and lattice screens on tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
On May 9, 2014, the Victory Day Parade for the first time presented the latest and previously completely secret combat vehicles – T-14 Armata tanks, T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicles. In addition to dynamic protection, both products received lattice screens. They covered the rear part of the hull.
From that moment on, dynamic protection of the sides, as well as lattice screens on the sides and turrets became a mandatory attribute for all Russian modern tanks. Such elements are available on the latest T-80BVM and T-90M.
It is noteworthy that a fairly original element of protection against anti-tank missile systems has been introduced on the "ninety-M". These are cables with several loads. They are attached to the bottom of the tower and cover the space up to the hull. Theoretically, when faced with such an obstacle, the missile's warhead should detonate. Previously, such passive protection elements were used in the Israeli army on tanks of the Merkava and Magach family (an upgraded version of the American M-60 tank).
The T-90M has an original element from anti-tank missile systems in the form of a grid. Photo RIA Novosti But the most interesting example of the use of additional armor protection to radically increase the combat capabilities of tanks is the T–72B3M.
Since the beginning of the delivery of "B-3" to the troops, these vehicles have been sharply criticized precisely for their weak protection. Back in 2013, plans were announced in the media to abandon new tanks in favor of the T-90. In particular, as one of the claims, sources in the military department called the fact that the elements of dynamic protection covered only the frontal part of the tower, as well as the front part of the sides of the car.
The first photos of the updated version of the "B-third" first appeared in 2017. Then these vehicles entered service with the newly formed 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the Southern Military District. In 2018, the novelty was officially presented for the first time at the military-technical forum "Army-2018". Currently, the T-72B3M has become an official participant in the Victory Parade on Red Square, and the 1st Guards Tank Regiment of the Taman Division has also received a novelty.
The tank's combat capabilities were increased by installing additional protection elements on the sides and sides of the turret. Also, the rear part of the tank has traditionally been covered with lattice screens. The side elements of dynamic protection are made in a special soft shell. Therefore, they are easy to install, and they do not affect the mass of the combat vehicle so much.
The grille for the BMP-3 On armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, elements of additional armor protection and lattice screens have only just begun to be installed.
At the Army-2019 forum, Sergey Abdulov, Chief Designer of the Special Engineering Design Bureau JSC, said that "BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles already delivered and planned for delivery to the Russian Army will soon receive additional protection in the form of anti-cumulative grilles and steel screens to protect against RPG shots."
The first screens will receive the BMP-3, which the Ministry of Defense is purchasing under a contract for the supply of 168 combat vehicles until 2021 in the amount of 14 billion rubles. It is planned that the "treshki" will replenish the fleet of combat vehicles of the Southern Military District.
Judging by the statement of the general designer of JSC "SKBM", the "treshki" received by the military department under contracts of 2015-2017 will also be finalized for the installation of additional armor protection. Then about 200 combat vehicles were delivered.
What is known about the lattice armor of the BMP-3? Special fasteners are welded onto the body of the machines. Armored plates are installed on them. The latter cover the sides, the rear of the combat vehicle, as well as the turret. These elements protect the BMP from shrapnel, fire from small-caliber automatic guns and large-caliber machine guns.
It is noteworthy that the protection of "treshek" is made of two layers. Lattice screens are also attached to the armor plates. They provide protection from the fire of hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers. And in combination with the side armor plates, they will be able to contain the hit of an anti-tank missile system.
Unfortunately, it is not yet clear whether other models of combat vehicles of the Russian Army will receive new additional armor. It is possible that the novelty can be implemented on the BMP-2M with the Berezhok module. Until the arrival of the Kurganets BMP family, these modernized combat vehicles remain the most powerful examples of light armored vehicles in the arsenal of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. But so far, no places for attaching additional protection have been noticed on the "twos-M" transferred to the Ministry of Defense.
Although a few years ago, Kurganmashzavod and the Research Institute of Steel presented a rather interesting version of the BMP-2M (but without the Berezhok module) with a new anti-tank complex, and most importantly, additional armor protection and lattice screens. The novelty was demonstrated at the Army-2015 forum.
The imminent appearance of additional protection can be expected on armored personnel carriers of the BTR-82 family. So, at the Army 2020 forum, the Military Industrial Company presented a variant of the modernization of the BTR-82 with a new remote armament module. Also on the exhibition sample of the novelty were lattice screens and additional booking elements.
Last year, MIC presented at the Army-2019 forum a variant of the BTR-82AT for urban combat. The additional booking of the armored personnel carrier with its technical solutions in many ways resembled the "protective skin" implemented on the BMP-3. Armored plates are attached to the body, to which, in turn, lattices are attached.
If you carefully study the photos and videos of the BTR-82 armored personnel carriers posted on the website of the Ministry of Defense, you can find that since this year, armored personnel carriers with characteristic body mounts have been appearing in the troops. They are needed to accommodate additional elements of armor protection, as well as lattice screens. So far, the vehicles are mainly supplied to units and divisions of the Marine Corps.
Unfortunately, unlike the BMP-3, it is currently unknown about contracts for the BTR-82 with additional armor protection installed. But it is possible that the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation could make additions to existing contracts, including prescribing the need to retrofit already released armored personnel carriers.
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