Russian MBT Protection Trials



20.10.1999 T-80U and T-90 Protection Trials
On October 20, 1999 extensive trials of T-80U and T-90 protection from various types of threats were conducted at TsNIIO 643a Testing Grounds. The tests involved firing large amounts of ordnance (including several versions of RPG ATGL, light and heavy ATGMs, and APFSDS rounds) at frontal projections of T-80U and T-90 MBTs both protected with Kontakt-V ERA and stripped of it.

T-80U and T-90 MBTs were represented by 3 vehicles each, one with Kontakt-V ERA, one with removed explosive packages and one reserve vehicle. For the ERA part of trials, knocked-out ERA packages were replaced after each shot.

One more T-80U MBT was used for special trials that focused on testing of Shtora-1 EOCMDAS.

The following weapons were used:

Infantry ATGLs (fired at a distance of 40m)
RPG-7 (using advanced 105mm grenade PG-7VR with a tandem warhead, pen. 650mm RHA)
RPG-26 (disposable launcher, pen. >500mm RHA)
RPG-29 (advanced 105mm launcher, pen. 750mm RHA)
ATGMs (fired at a distance of 600m)
Malyutka-2 (pen. >600mm RHA)
Metis (pen. 460mm RHA)
Konkurs (pen. 650mm RHA)
Kornet (pen. >850mm RHA)
APFSDS (fired from T-80U MBT at a distance of 1,500m, the most likely round is 3BM42)
Each weapon was fired 5 times at each target, for a total of 20 shots per weapon. The total number of shots fired during the trials thus exceeded 150.
The trials yielded the following outcome:

T-90: RPG-29 produced a total of 3 penetrations.
No other RPG rounds could penetrate even the stripped target.
T-80U: RPG-29 penetrated 3 times with ERA, all 5 times without ERA.
Of all other grenades, one PG-7VR penetrated the stripped target.
T-90: No ATGMs could penetrate the ERA-equipped target. One Kornet ATGM penetrated the stripped target.
T-80U: 2 Kornet ATGMs penetrated the ERA-equipped target, all 5 penetrated the stripped target.
No other ATGMs could penetrate.
T-90: ERA-equipped target could not be penetrated. Furthermore, after firing the crew entered the vehicle, activated it and was able to execute the firing sequence.
Without ERA, one round penetrated.
T-80U (data available only for stripped target): One round almost penetrated (3mm hole in the inner lining, no visible equipment damage); two penetrated to 1/2 thickness; one missed the target completely; one hit the gun.
The following pictures show the locations of impacts by ATGL RPG-29 (in red) and ATGM Kornet (in black) against ERA-equipped vehicles. Which of these hits penetrated was not disclosed.

Shtora-1 Trials
10 Kornet ATGMs with removed warheads were fired at a tank with a crew. 4 ATGMs hit the tank, the other 6 deviated to the left of the target in the middle of the flight.

Conclusions (VF)
RPG-29 proved to be by far the most potent weapon among those used. As powerful as heavy ATGM Kornet, it appeared to assure the frontal penetration of T-80U even for the squad-level firepower. Even though T-90 fared better, it is still not immune to it. Considering sufficient proliferation of this weapon and the fact that this is still a fairly light infantry weapon, it is the most dangerous adversary of modern Russian MBTs, and is a very disturbing development.
Original reports that ATGM Kornet performance is severely degraded by ERA due to its peculiar order of internal components proved true as the ATGM with at least 100mm higher penetrating potential was not superior to a much lighter RPG-29.
Report of Shtora-1 EOCMDAS trials is confusing. Being laser-guided, ATGM Kornet should not suffer any interference from Shtora as it only affects IR SACLOS ATGMs. Furthermore, ATGMs can only deviate to the left if the marker is set to the left of both emitters, which is hardly likely. It is probable, however unlikely, that it was caused by a sloppy work of removal the warhead which e.g. could cause a gyro cofusion.

This page is © 1999, Sauron's Creations.
Data provided by Major Vladimir Karpov, ATW Testing Center NPO "Geodezia"

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