Russia is already putting ERAs on the tanks anti-drone grids
In case you forgot, at the end of 2021 the first reports appeared about Russian tanks with anti-drone arrays. This happened in November in Crimea. T-80 tanks of Soviet design entered Crimea from Russia, and on their turrets, there was a hand-mounted cope cape. Subsequently, since the beginning of the war, which began on February 24 of the following year, at least dozens of Russian tanks have been photographed with similar cope capes on their turrets.
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Just a few days ago, a Soviet tank from the Russian army’s inventory was spotted again for the first time in Ukraine, but this time with Explosive Reactive Armor [ERA] mounted directly on its cope cage. This time the tank is T-72B3.
The ERA on the cope cage of the dome is visible thanks to a video recorded by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Moscow releases similar clips almost daily, showing the operation of a military platform on the battlefield, accompanied by a short narration by one of the platform’s operators. This case is also like that.
The T-72B3 wades through the Ukrainian mud and conducts indirect fire. The video shows the automatic loading of ammunition, the maneuverability of the tank, and how it shoots at “some target”. In almost all video footage, where the tank is shown at its full height from the side, or from above [filmed with a drone], its cope cage is visible, and on top of it are stacked the plates [the size of bricks] from the ERA.
Cope Cage cells have one main purpose – to protect the Russian tank from a blow coming from above. This strike could come from a kamikaze drone, or from a Javelin anti-tank missile. It is known that this missile can hit the tank from above – where the turret is. Since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost thousands of tanks. A part of them was precise with integrated self-made cope cages.
I.e. by all accounts, the cope cape clearly doesn’t rob the drones of cumulative energy, nor does Javelin’s first blast. Therefore, the Russians have decided to reinforce the “anti-drone armor” with another armor. Having an EPA on top of a cope cape means there will almost always be a blast. Whether caused by a kamikaze drone or a missile, the ERA plates themselves have an explosive placed inside them that sits between two thin plates.
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.
We don’t know how effective the ERA plates will be on tank cope cages. It appears that the plates on this tank recorded in the video are from ERA Kontakt-1. However, fundamental questions arise here that deserve consideration.
First, the crew could be seriously injured. It is assumed that the ERA armor combined with the cope cage can protect the tank from small drones or missiles with less explosive amounts of the blast. However, the presence of EPA multiplies the explosion, since EPA itself constitutes an actual explosion. I.e. with the hatch open [believe me – in the summer it is very difficult to close the hatch in the hot temperatures] the crew can suffer seriously.
Second, this static arrangement of the ERA plates does not mean that they will move. And they should do it. Russian experts claim that during the collision, the ERA blocks moved in a direction crossing the path of the cumulus jet. A splash of energy is produced.
Apparently, the ERA armor has some effect. Whether it is as good as described by the Russian experts remains to be seen. But it is not accidental and one more fact – Greece begins to produce and install factory ERA on its Leopard 2A4 tanks.
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