Here are the first-ever Leopard 2A4 tanks with a factory-fitted ERA
The German Leopard 2A4 tank finally got a full-time set of Explosive Reactive Armor [ERA, in Russia it is called Dynamic protection]. This happened in Greece. The Greek Army remains one of the largest operators of Leopard 2A4 tanks, with over 180 units in service. Only Turkey has more – than 300 tanks.
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The most massive modification of the main battle tank Leopard 2 was developed in 1985. Work on the upgrade to this version was carried out until 1992. Despite the presence of combined armor, which was reinforced, the tank did not receive the ERA.
In the 21st century, this problem plays with new colors. The widespread use of anti-tank weapons on the battlefield raises the question of improving protection for the developers of armored vehicles. In 2023, infantrymen are already armed with anti-tank grenade launchers and anti-tank systems that allow them to fight against MBTs from all countries of the world.
Greece saw Ukraine
The Ukrainian military began the process of homemade modernization of the received Leopard 2A4 tanks by installing the first-generation Soviet Kontakt-1 ERA on the MBT. Of course, the additional reservation will not be superfluous, but the Greeks were the first to reach the standard dynamic defense kits.
The other day, Leopard 2A4 tanks were presented in Greece, the armor protection of which was strengthened by the factory. Greek tanks will receive a factory serial ASPIS Modular NG-MB armor set.
Judging by the published photos, Greek engineers are strengthening the frontal protection of the front part of the tank’s hull and turret. Also, dynamic protection blocks appear on the sides of the tank’s turret and in front of the hull, covering the driver. In addition, the rear of the tank’s turret is covered with a set of anti-cumulative grills.
APS has also been added
It is curious that the Greek company EODH SA, which developed the ASPIS Modular NG-MB kit, did not limit itself to passive protective elements. The set also includes an active protection system [APS], with the placement of elements on the most vulnerable area of the tank – the roof of the tower.
The APS elements are mounted on the roof of the tower and according to the principle of operation are similar to the Claymore-guided anti-personnel mines. The activation of the APS elements occurs after the sensors of the radar system detect anti-tank missiles flying at the combat vehicle.
What ERA is?
It is not the first time that there has been talk of installing ERA in German tanks. In the past, the German Ministry of Defense has discussed the possibility of Leopard 2 tanks receiving such protection. Subsequently, however, the opinion prevailed that this armor was much more dangerous for the tank than if it was not there.
ERA consists of blocks. Each block consists of two explosive elements. This is actually a plastic explosive placed between two steel plates.
The whole idea hinges on counteraction on the battlefield. It is assumed that the explosive of the anti-tank missile is detonated on impact with the armor. However, if the tank has ERA, the detonation is explosive-explosive [because of the explosives in the blocks]. In this way, a cumulative jet is manifested.
During the collision, the ERA’s blocks move in a direction intersecting the trajectory of the cumulative jet. A splash of energy is produced. Scattered energy results in a drastic reduction in the ability of cumulative ammunition to penetrate armor by 50–80%.
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