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Russian combat vehicles to be protected by slat armor Part 1

Serial combat vehicles were displayed at Army-2020 forum. Many tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers were additionally protected by slat armor, the Independent Military Review writes.
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BMPT-72 Terminator with slat armor fitted on the rear part of the vehicle (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

The Russian Defense Ministry has been increasing the protection of armor of late. Slat and additional armor elements were installed on the latest T-90M and T-80BVM tanks and tank support vehicles (BMPT Terminator). Since 2020 all contracts for BMP-3M (and possibly BTR-82) demand the hardware to have fixtures for additional armor.

In early 2010s, the Defense Ministry was skeptical about such an upgrade. The project of the so-called city fighting complex was several times launched and terminated. Many Russian military experts criticized the US experience of providing additional protection to the armor in Iraq war.

Until recently the Russian armed forces had little experience in slat and other additional armor. Special complexes were produced for serial BTR-80 APC during the second Chechen war. Their exact number is unknown, but is estimated at close to one thousand.

The T-62 tank battalions were upgraded after the war. They belonged to the 70th, 71st and 291st regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division. Slat armor was mounted on the sides and the turret back. Such T-62 operated until 2009 when the division was disbanded and its regiments transformed into motorized rifle brigades.

T-62 fought in the 2008 war in South Ossetia. At least one tank of the 71st regiment was lost. It was destroyed on August 10 in Tskhinval.

Russian military experts explained the drawbacks of additional armor in some publications. In particular, they said the bars add weight to the running gear and can trigger malfunctions and an early exhaust of the resource.

In 2012-2013, the Defense Ministry launched the project of a so-called city tank. It included additional protection for T-72 and T-90 to make them fit for urban fighting. The additional armor had to be kept at warehouses and mounted in case of necessity.

Defense Ministry sources disclosed the details. A city tank will be equipped with a bulldozer blade to clear debris. The bottom is strengthened by armored plates against road mines. Special bars had to circle the body to explode missiles of portable antitank weapons before they touch the armor.

The Institute of Steel had to deal with the design. However it said the talks with the military were only preliminary. In particular, there were only oral talks and all the armor parameters, including the price, had to be determined after all documents were finalized.

In 2013, Uralvagonzavod displayed T-72B3 tank at Russian Arms Expo in Nizhny Tagil. The design was likely initiated by the enterprise. Its camouflage colors confirmed it.

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