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Russian combat vehicles to be protected by slat armor Part 2

For urban combat, the T-72B3 tank is equipped with a bulldozer blade, additional active protection on all its sides, and slat armor on the rear sides of the vehicle. The commander’s seat is protected by armor plates. This tank participated in the dynamic display. It did not look inferior in running capabilities to ordinary T-72 and T-90 tanks.
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T-72B3, the tank that has been adapted to urban combat (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The design of the « city tank » dragged for seven years from 2013. Some sources said the work was stopped and then restarted. In the spring of 2019, head of the main armor department Major-General Sergey Bibik said: “The experience of local armed conflicts helped us complete the work to create modern components of additional protection for serial tanks and infantry fighting vehicles for urban combat. The sets will be delivered in 2020.” He did not name the elements of the set. The tanks and infantry fighting vehicles with new protection have not been publicly displayed.

Their combat capabilities were increased by additional protection on the sides of the body and turret. Slat armor protected the back of the tank. Side dynamic armor was made in a soft envelope for easy installation. It did not considerably increase the weight.

In Syria, the government forces improved the protection with slat armor. The combat experience likely made the Defense Ministry deal with additional protection and slat armor for tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers.

The latest T-14 Armata tanks and T-15 infantry fighting vehicles paraded on May 9, 2015 in Moscow. Besides dynamic protection, they were also fitted with slat armor at the back. Since then dynamic side protection and slat armor on the turret have become an obligatory element for all Russian tanks. T-80BVM and T-90M are equipped with them.

T-90M has an optimal protection against antitank missiles. It includes steel cables with several cargoes fixed to the lower turret and down to the hull. Theoretically, a warhead has to explode when it hits the obstacle. The Israeli army used such passive protection on Merkava and Magach tanks (upgraded option of U.S. M-60 tank).

T-72B3M offers the most interesting example of additional armor. The T-72B3s have been criticized for weak armor since their deliveries began to the troops. Media reports said in 2013 the tanks would be abandoned and replaced by T-90. Defense Ministry sources complained that dynamic armor protected only the turret front and the front part of the sides. The first photos of the upgraded T-72B3M appeared in 2017. The tanks were supplied to the newly formed 150th motorized rifle division of the Southern Military District. In 2018, the tanks were officially presented at the Army 2017 forum.

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