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Ukraine army increases armor of Polish T-72M1R with ERA and wire cage armor

According to a picture published on the Twitter account of "Ukraine Weapons Tracker", Ukraine's armed forces have reinforced the armor of T-72M1R main battle tanks donated by Poland with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) and slat armor. According to open source, since the beginning of the War in Ukraine, Poland has donated to Ukraine 230 Soviet-made main battle tanks including T-72M1 and T-72M1R.
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Ukraine army has reinforced the armor of T-72M1R main battle tanks donated by Poland with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) and slat armor(Picture source Twitter account Ukraine Weapon Tracker)

The T-72M1 is an export version of the T-72A and has a different armor protection level, carries a different amount of ammunition, and has a different type of NBC system. There are four evenly spaced ribs on the upper glacis plate. The T-72M1 is a modernized T-72M and has an additional layer of 16 mm armor plate on the glacis plate and combination armor in the turret with pelletized filler agent. There are two ribs on the upper glacis plate.

The T-72M1R is a Polish modernization of the T-72M1 featuring a new fire control system, thermal imaging sight for the gunner, and communication system as well as GPS DAGR (Defense Advanced GPS Receiver), and several other enhancements. The rear part of the turret is also fitted with a new basket. It keeps the same armament as the T-72M1.

The T-72M1R keeps the original armament of the T-72M1 consisting of one 125 mm 2A46 gun. The second armament of the T-72A includes one 7.62 mm caliber PKT machine gun mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and has 250 rounds of ready-use ammunition and a new design of 12.7 mm caliber NSV machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola.

The original T-72M1R tanks donated to Ukraine were not fitted with additional armor. According to the picture published on the "Ukraine Weapons Tracker" Twitter account, the Polish T-72M1R tanks which are now in service with the Ukrainian army are fitted with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) mounted at the front of the hull and turret as well on each side of the hull.

The roof of the turret is also equipped with ERA armor to increase protection against ammunition launched by drones and top attack missiles. There is also rubber plates mounted at the front of the turret and slat armor mounted at the rear of the turret.

The ERA is used on a tank to activate the explosive charge of missiles and reduces the damage done to the vehicle being protected. It is most effective in protecting against shaped charges and especially hardened kinetic energy penetrators. The rubber plates could have a similar effect.

The wire cage armor also named slat armor is mounted around the turret or the hull of a tank to protect the crew against high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) attacks, as used by rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). It functions by placing a rigid slatted grid around the vehicle, which disrupts the shaped charge of the warhead by either crushing it, preventing optimal detonation from occurring, or by damaging the fuzing mechanism, preventing detonation.

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