Russia’s Armata gets new armor for urban warfare

Russian Armata tanks drive during a rehearsal for the Victory parade on Moscow's Red Square, May 4, 2015.

Russian Armata tanks drive during a rehearsal for the Victory parade on Moscow's Red Square, May 4, 2015.

Reuters
Designers have created a new set of defensive plates that will protect tanks and wheeled combat vehicles against the most common types of weapons used in offensive attacks.

The wheels and tracks of the latest armored vehicles constructed on Russia’s Armata Universal Combat Platform, which includes a new tank, will be equipped with additional protective armor. The Russian Research Institute (NII) is developing the new hardware for the platform. 

According to the developers, "plate shields," which are similar in appearance to the bars on metal bunk beds, will be installed along the perimeter of the machines. These shields will protect armored vehicles from cumulative grenades and anti-tank guided missiles — the most common threat to them in urban settings. The new shields are intended to deform the head of a grenade when it makes contact with the vehicle and divert part of the energy from the explosion.

Designers are skeptical of the plan, however, pointing out that the shields, or screens, are inferior to dynamic armor in combat performance.

"They are cheaper and technically simpler and increase engine protection and transmission by several times in the conditions of urban warfare,” said Dmitry Safonov, military correspondent for Izvestia, speaking about the shields. “A key drawback is their low versatility. The lattice screen will save the technology only from certain types of hand-held anti-tank grenades.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has already tested the lattice screens on the BTR-80, a wheeled amphibious armored personnel carrier. An additional armor set has been installed on the perimeter of the body of the vehicle and has been tested to protect against chemical grenades. According to the developers, the test results show that the equipment can maintain its mobility and while cutting the effect of a striking grenade in half.

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