Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles were covered with additional protective screens – in the form of bars and armored shields. Starting this year, they will be used to equip the main working equipment of Russian motorized riflemen – infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers of various modifications. In the army, such kits were called “beds” for their external resemblance to the nets of soldiers’ beds. Despite the simplicity of the design, this solution radically increases the protection of armored vehicles on the battlefield. According to experts, the screens will save not only from shrapnel and small shells, but also cope with rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.
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To help the infantry
The first batches of armored vehicles with enhanced protection have already begun to enter the troops of the Southern and Western military districts, Izvestia sources in the military department and the military-industrial complex told Izvestia. In particular, the BTR-82A with hinged protection replenished the fleet of the 27th Guards Sevastopol Brigade. The decision to equip all new models of motorized rifle vehicles with lattice screens was made at the end of last year. Now the Ministry of Defense is considering the issue of equipping previously purchased armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles with them.
The kit includes two types of protection. Firstly, these are armor plates, with which they strengthen the vulnerable spots of the vehicle – the sides, the base of the tower, etc. And secondly, lattice screens. They are mounted around the perimeter. The total weight of the equipment is about a ton. It can be installed or dismantled by a regular crew in less than an hour.
Combined screens protect armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles from 7.62 mm and 12.6 mm bullets at distances of 400 m or more. As for anti-tank grenades and missiles, then protection from them saves with a probability of about 50%. It depends on where the ammunition goes. If between the bars of the grate, then the grenade will get stuck in it and fail without exploding. In the worst case, when it is triggered, the cumulative jet will be deformed and the armor will receive a less severe blow.
Improvised lattice screens have been used in many wars. Even Soviet tankers during the storming of Berlin hung their vehicles with metal beds and other structures. This experience was then used in the 1990s in the North Caucasus and in other military conflicts. Homemade grilles on tanks and armored vehicles can be seen in footage from Syria. In recent years, shielding equipment has been used in many armies, including the American one.
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“The threat from wearable anti-tank weapons has clearly manifested itself in the conflicts of recent years: both on our territory during the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus, and in the Middle East – in Iraq and Syria,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. – The concentration of anti-tank rocket grenades in various non-state military formations is very high, and protection from them is one of the key problems. Especially during battles in the city, on a territory saturated with infrastructure, as well as in mountains and wooded areas.
Catch and neutralize
The development of lattice screens was carried out back in the Soviet years. Limited quantities have been used in Afghanistan. However, mass production has not been deployed until recently, military expert Alexei Khlopotov told Izvestia.
– This screen has a combined principle. It can act like a normal platoon – a cumulative warhead of an RPG or anti-tank missile hits the grating and detonates, – the specialist explained. – The cumulative jet is formed ahead of time, works in the worst conditions and does not provide the required armor penetration. But the main way in which the screen functions is to destroy the warhead itself. Getting between the bars of the lattice, it collapses, often without undermining, thus no impact on the armored object occurs. But even if it happens, the cumulative funnel is not formed and, again, there is no armor penetration.
For effective protection, the grille must be made of strong carbon steel. It is necessary to maintain a certain distance between its ribs. It is also important that the grille is secured at a decent distance from the main armor.
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“Such screens are quite reliable in battle, but they have a drawback,” added Aleksey Khlopotov. – The fact is that they are not very practical in everyday use. Cars travel over rough and wooded areas, as well as in settlements. If tree branches or other objects hit them, the grates bend. And taking into account the fact that due to the screens, the dimensions of the car increase, the likelihood of such collisions increases. The difficulty for the developers was just how to extend the life of the additional protection. In addition, the infantry often travels on armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, and the bars make dismounting difficult.
In peacetime, it is not at all necessary to mount screens, Viktor Murakhovsky believes. Rather, you just need to have kits, which, if necessary, can be installed on the equipment by the crew as soon as possible.
– During hostilities, thanks to the shielding, the protection of armored vehicles of motorized rifle units will increase, – said the expert. – When armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles are protected from cumulative ammunition, the vehicle remains a powerful means of fire support. Accordingly, the effectiveness and combat capabilities of the subunits increase.
Earlier, Izvestia reported that the Ministry of Defense and enterprises of the military-industrial complex had agreed on the timing of state tests of promising combat vehicles of the Kurganets-25 family. They will begin in a year, and the end is scheduled for the fall of 2022. The armored vehicles will be checked in different weather conditions and climatic zones. According to experts, some of its components and assemblies are already being tested.