Uralvagonzavod installed very dense ERA blocks in T-90M tanks

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In the Russian Federation, the production process of the T-90M Proryv tank has seen the introduction of additional dynamic protection mechanisms. The remarkable aspect here is that the blocks or ‘bricks’, as they are often referred to, of reactive armor [a term used to describe dynamic protection in Russia] are arranged under an extremely dense scheme. This scheme is so densely packed that they’ve even mounted Kontakt blocks on the crew hatches. 

Photo credit: comp-pro.ru

There are already numerous snapshots of such tanks, taken at different intervals. They all exhibit the same dense arrangement principle, strongly indicating that this measure is not a one-off instance but actually a regular solution adopted at Uralvagonzavod, the maker of T-90M tanks. The motive behind this approach is to amplify the machine’s upper hemisphere protection against skidding and FPV drones. 

Interestingly, this additional protective layer almost obscures the ‘barbecue’ or the cope cage, which has merely become a base for attaching ERA blocks. The close-packed arrangement of these blocks, even on tower hatches covered with chain mesh folding screens, isn’t difficult to notice. 

Photo credit: Twitter

In the case of the T-90M, if previously the cope cage’s mission was to neutralize the funnel of cumulative ammunition or block its premature detonation, which warranted the structure’s elevation above the tower, now it is fixed as low as possible. 

Blocks for dynamic protection sit on either side of this formation, filling the space between the tower and the cope cage platform. An additional new protection feature is a mesh-covered removable structure located over the motor transmission compartment. 

Moreover, the basic Relikt dynamic protection remains part of the T-90M Proryv, indicating a layered ‘sandwich’ approach to dynamic protection. 

Photo credit: Twitter

It’s also important to highlight that each Kontakt-1 container, housing two 4C20 elements, weighs approximately 5.3 kg excluding fixtures. Such extra weight is likely to affect the mobility of the already weighty T-90M, as well as the mechanisms for turret rotation. 

In addition, it’s worth keeping in mind that ERA is most effective when positioned at an angle. Subsequently, the effectiveness of Kontakt drops significantly if the encounter angle with the cumulative jet is 90 degrees, compared to a more horizontal angle of 30-40 degrees.

Greece broke the stereotype

Explosive Reactive Armor [ERA], mostly seen on Russian tanks, has made a surprising appearance on Western tanks, sparked by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. They’ve been affixed on German Leopard tanks in Ukraine, a move that’s far from conventional. 

Greece, however, has deviated from this norm. The German Leopard 2A4 tank in Greece has now been outfitted with a permanent Explosive Reactive Armor set, known as Dynamic protection in Russia. This places the Greek Army amongst the top users of Leopard 2A4 tanks, holding over 180 units. Turkey is the only country with more units, owning over 300 tanks. 

In May, Greece brought Leopard 2A4 tanks to the public eye, all of which had enhanced armor protection straight from the factory. The improvement comes via the ASPIS Modular NG-MB armor set, included in Greek tanks as a standard. 

Photo credit: Dzen.ru

Judgment calls from the published photos indicate that Greek engineers are prioritizing bolstering the frontal protection of the tank’s hull and turret. Dynamic protection blocks have also been put in place on the sides of the tank’s turret, in front of the hull, and around the driver’s area. Lastly, effective anti-cumulative grills have been installed at the rear of the tank’s turret for increased defense.

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