Hypersonic protection of intelligent armored vehicle.

Active protection (eng.Active protection system APS) is most actively used on tanks, combat ships and helicopters. Nowadays special infrared and laser emitters are put into service.

International innovative consortium «Energy», president chief designer,

Professor Galchenko N.A.,

The state higher educational institution «Krivoy Rog National University »,  the Doctor of Engineering Science, professor Sinchuk О.Н.,

The limited liability company  «INFOCOM LTD», General director Trotsenko E.А.

Hypersonic protection of intelligent armored vehicle

(Active protection)

Active protection (eng. Active protection system APS) is most actively used on tanks, combat ships and helicopters. Nowadays special infrared and laser emitters that affect IR guided ATGMs are put into service. To earlier samples of active protection belong special grenade launchers that launch smoke grenades thereby making smoke screens and obstructing observation, position indication and weapon guidance for enemies.

Usually defensive aids suites (DAS) are intended for affecting weapons of destruction (rocket or missile) launched by enemies in order to change trajectory, to reduce probability of hitting, to blunt the effectiveness of weapon impact. DAS are developed in three directions:

  • creating active radio locating (electromagnetic, acoustic etc.) obstacles against the enemy's attacks and rocket (missile) guidance systems;
  • deviating the guided and self-guided missiles using the quick-mounting false targets;
  • affecting incoming threat (rocket, missile) in order to eliminate it.

The idea of active tank protection was conceived for the first time in one of Tula design bureaus in the end of the 1950's. The implementation of this idea, coded as “Dikobraz” reached so high degree of technical development that it was reasonable to transfer it to the design and development work. While making R&D plan for 1970-1975s this work coded as “Drozd” was added to the R&D plan.

Conceptual plan of this variant included the following:

  • on a tank turret should be placed 6 mortars that can shoot shrapnel;
  • shrapnel detonation should be carried out at a distance of 10-15 m from the tank, therewith any shaped-charge projectiles and high-explosive ammunition should be eliminated by approaching tank;
  • command for shooting of any given mortar should be generated by computing device that consists of a radar set and ballistic trajectory calculator.

Only 25 years later the defensive aid suite 1030М “Drozd” (developed by the Central Design and Research Bureau of Sporting and Hunting Weapons, chief engineer - laureate of the Lenin prize Bakalov Vasiliy Ivanovich). Complex allowed combating all types of attacking shaped-charge projectiles in the range of speeds from 70 to 700 m/s, protection was ensured in azimuth +40 and by angle of site from – 60 to +200.

It should be noted that complex
1030М “Drozd” is the first and the world's only protection device that is put into service and mass-produced. Later, on the basis of works relating to the defensive aid suite “Shater”, the defensive aid suit “Arena” was pretested and was brought to the state testing.  Chief design bureau – the Kolomna machine building design bureau. Chief engineer – Gushchin Nikolay Ivanovich.  The defensive aid suit “Arena” ensures protection in azimuth +140 and by angle of site from – 50 to +200.

It has been established that appliance of the defensive aid suite allows improving dramatically the “survivability” of tanks. In late 1980s the defensive aid suite 1030М “Drozd” was modernized and indexed as “Drozd-2”, that was considerably superior to its predecessor. Nowadays the works are carried out in order to ensure combating using the defensive aid suite with the high-speed kinetic energy ammunition (FSDS).

Pic.1. Tank Т-55А with the installed defensive aid suite « Drozd»; thereafter tank was indexed as Т-55АД.

In the next model of the defensive aid suiteArenait was attempted to solve the problem of protection against attacks towards own foot troops while elimination of the attacking ammunition with shatters of the antimissile and ATGM or rocket grenade.

The flight trajectory of protection blocks and fragment dispersion (from top to bottom) is estimated in such a manner, that it allows minimizing the effective beaten zone and ensuring elimination and serious damage of the attacking missile.

Pic.2. Scheme of combat employment of «Arena».

The latest one is the defensive aid suiteAfganit”, developed in the frame of works on the platformArmataby the Kolomna machine building design bureau. It’s prescribed that this complex should contain the radar station of millimeter range. Explosively formed penetrator s intended for eliminating aims in opposite to the conventional space shatter flow. The maximum speed of the intercepted target should be 1700 m/s. The defensive aid suiteArenawas developed at the same time, but because of economic crash on the territory of the former Soviet Union it was not accepted into the series as well as “Drozd-2”.

The only one exception is the Ukrainian system “Zaslon”, adjusted to level of the workable models. As of April, 2014, the system hasn’t passed a test yet and wasn’t transferred as military equipment for Ukrainian army, but it is actively advertised for export.

Among numerous modern Ukrainian
works two of them are worth noticing:

  • defense aid suite – «Zaslon»;
  • soft-kill system – «Varta».

The defensive aid suites are the special shell shooting systems, combined with the radar system of local action. The command for charge shooting-off is generated on detecting the ammunition that reaches tank (grenades from anti-tank grenade launcher etc.), that explodes if the ammunition comes closer to the ammunition, and forms group of shatters, that eliminate or at least weaken the ammunition effect. We should take note of the existing system with the protective charges – the defensive aid suite “Zaslon” (Ukraine).

The defensive aid suite “Zaslon” has useful peculiarities – anti-missile ammunition isn’t shot off, but is initiated directly on the surface of the combat vehicle.  The problem of eliminating ammunition that attacks from above. Furthermore, ammunition with one-piece metal case changes its trajectory, passes borders of zone of protected objects, or meets the main armour protection at an unfavorable angle because of blast exploration and high-speed echelon shatter flow.

That allows considering this system as a universal protection system and turning the “Soviet” box into true combat vehicles and increasing the “survivability” of tanks 5 times and more.

Pic. 3. Tank Т-64БМ BULATthe result of upgrading tanks Т-64А and Т-64Б.

Aim of modernization is reduction of vulnerability from modern anti-tank weapons up to the modern level of tank such as Т-80УД, Т-84У. Tank BULAT was presented in 1999 for the first time. Increasing protection of tank Т-64Б against cumulative shaped-charge and kinetic (armor-piercing subcaliber projectiles) projectiles is ensured by installation of explosive-reactive armour on the case and tank turrets with minimum increasing tank weight. It contains passive (removable) armored protection and built-in explosive-reactive armor. Explosive-reactive armor consists of the forebody module and side screen installed on the tank case, and modular sections, placed outside around the perimeter of the frontal and board sections of tank turret, and containers installed on the turret roof. Inside each section of built-in explosive-reactive armor. Weight of the whole additional protection set with connection and fixing parts, and parts of explosive-reactive armor equals 3500 kg.

Time for installation of the explosive-reactive armor set on the one tank by means of the tank crew equals 5,5-6 hours
Parts of explosive-reactive armor, installed on the tank, doesn’t require special maintenance during its operational use.
Standardized manufacturing equipment and tools, special equipment and highly skilled specialists aren’t required for performance of works in equipping tank with the explosive-reactive armor set

Removable armour is fixed on the frontal and board sections of tank turret. Built-in explosive-reactive armor should be installed on frontal and board sections of tank turret and on the turret roof.

Upgraded tank
Т-64Б (BM “Bulat”) can be compared by technical characteristics with Russian T-90 and comes close to Ukrainian “Oplot”. It has perspectives regarding further upgrading due to installation of more powerful power unit with motor 6ТД-1 or 6ТД-2, upgraded sighting systems, active protection system, more advanced communication and navigation system. Operational lifetime of the upgraded tank Т-64Б is extended to 15 years; tank operating life is extended to 11 thousand kilometers (as for a new tank).

Kharkiv plant has produced more powerful Т-84 «Oplot». But it is produced in small lots. It should be taken into account that “Oplots” aren’t produced because of unwillingness, but because the modernization of Т-64 to the standard of “Bulat” is 4 times cheaper than production of the new tank - combat vehicle “Oplot”. (“Oplotcosts 1. 684 million CU. At that, tank insignificantly ranks below in main fire power, protection and mobility characteristics.

On the enterprise “Kharkiv Morozov machine building design bureau” the first 10 national tanks “Oplot” that are considered to be put into service by Ukrainian aircraft, have passed the state tests. All components, aggregates and apparatus and devices of the tank “Oplot” are produced by Ukrainian tank builders. Serial production of the combat machines will be carried out by partners of design bureau –
Kharkiv state enterprise "Plant named after V.A. Malyshev”.

Main combat tank “Oplot” has combined protection system that consists of passive armor, built-in explosive-reactive armor and other tank protection devices that are optimized against modern anti-tank weapons and reduce tank vulnerability against all types of anti-tank devices. The latest built-in explosive-reactive armor “Nozh” (knife) installed on the forward body and tank turret provides protection against cumulative and HVAP ammunition. Besides tank body and turret
the containers of built-in explosive-reactive armor are installed on the walls of forward body that provide additional protection of the driving compartment from the sides.

Built-in explosive-reactive armor is so efficient against cumulative ammunition, that sometimes tank crew finds out about attacks of the cumulated ammunition only after combat operations. Complex of the built-in explosive-reactive armor has modular construction, that why it can be easily replaced or upgraded with the improvement of the technologies of explosive-reactive armor. Passive armor in combination with built-in explosive-reactive armor provides excellent protection against the latest anti-tank weapon.

“Survivability” of the tank “Oplot” is improved by complex of electro-optical counteraction, called “Varta” (“Guard”) that includes Laser warning system (it warns of threat from beam weapons), devices for positioning IR interferences and system for positioning fume/aerosol protection.

Laser warning system consists of control console, control unit and four laser beam detector heads (two precise heads installed in the front of tank turret and two rough heads installed in the after body of the tank turret) that respond to beams of laser rangefinder, laser aiming devices and high-precise ammunition that have laser guidance system. The system allows the tank screw to react quickly to emerging threats. Lighting systems for positioning IR interference produce false signal for the guidance system of guided missile due to continuous production of encoded pulsed IR signals-interferences. It allows disrupting guidance of approaching anti-tank guided ammunition.

The system
for positioning fume protection can work both as part of the above-mentioned complex of electro-optical suppression “Varta”, and independently. The system for positioning fume protection includes 12 smoke grenade launchers and control panel and bottoms for grenade launching. Launching units are electrically controlled and divided into 2 groups; each of them is installed on the turret broadside (left or right) and has streamlined housing. Grenades can be launched automatically (after receiving signal about laser irradiation from the warning system) or manually (by commanding officer or by gunner).

Taking into account that fact that thermal imaging equipment provides visibility through the usual smokescreen and other optic obstacles, aerosol grenades can be used instead of fume grenades in order to position an aerosol screen, that make thermal imaging equipment “blind”.

Pic. 4. Tank "Oplot" - excellent result of work of Ukrainian scientists.

“Oplot” can also create a smokescreen by diesel injection in the engine exhaust system (using the so called engine exhaust smoke system). Taking into account that fact that laser equipment constitutes threat on the modern battle area, surveillance devices of the tank “Oplot” are designed in such a way that operator’s eye is protected against harmful effect of laser equipment beams.

Collective protection system provides protection of the tank screw and inner tank equipment against influence of nuclear weapons, radioactive dust, toxic and bacteriologic agents.  Anti-radiation protection is designed as a lining on the inner and external tank surfaces in order to protect from radiation that emerges after nuclear explosion. There is also installed a lining that significantly reduces probability of injuries of tank crew and inner equipment because of armor scabbing from the inner surface after attacking.

From the right and left sides from the seat of driver-mechanic are placed stanchions that improve bottom tolerance to anti-tank mine explosion. While designing “Oplot” designers have paid attention to the imperative necessity of tank signature reduction (thermal, radar, acoustic signature)

Particularly, the engine transmission compartment of tank “Oplot” has the system of thermal signature reduction: roof of the engine transmission compartment is equipped with special heat insulating devices; that allows reducing tank thermal signature. For prevention of tank detection on the battle area by radar system tank has antiradar coating. Tank turret is also equipped with rubber shields hanging from the forepart of the turret and reducing the signature of the tank “Oplot” for radar systems.

Pic. 5. Тank «Oplot» – increasedsurvivabilityand precise shooting

Substantive measures are taken for protection of tank crew against fire inside the machine – the quick-response fire protection system provides detection and extinguishing of internal fires in the manned compartment, as well as in engine transmission compartment. So, the latest defensive aid suites in combination with the above-mentioned protective measurements make tank “Oplot” one of the most protected tank in the world.

Its too early to discard Т-64, because it is the main tank of the Ukrainian armed forces that can fulfill set tasks set for it even not being upgraded. Even 300-400 tank units cant be totally replaced for new tanks because of finances. The upgradedBulatis as good as the latest tanks, used by Ukrainian neighbors, and in some cases it’s even better.

For example, tanks such as PT-91 «Twardy» (upgraded Т-72М, Poland), TR-85M1 «Bizon» (upgraded Т-55, Romania), Т-72М2 and Т-72СZ (upgraded Т-72. Slovakia and the Check republic).

Pic.6. Main combat tank ТТH Т-64 with active protection CОЕP «Varta». 

Upgrading is the main direction for development of tanks abroad. For example, tanks “Leopard-2” were upgraded several times in the Federal Republic of Germany. The latest one isLeopard-2A6”. Russian upgrades tanks Т-72Б and Т-80, Poland upgrades its Т-72 to the standard ПТ-91А, Slovakia and the Check republic upgrade its Т-72 as other countries.

France, Germany, USA and Israel also upgrade such systems.

The defensive aids suit «Trophy» developed in Israel had already passed tests and is ready for production. American armored administration (TACOM/ARDEC) carries out development of the complexes FCLAS and FSAP, German enterprise Diehl carries out development of the defensive aids suits according to the program AwiSS for equipping tanks “Leopard-2”, the complex allows coverage within 360 degree range, and is the analogue of the defensive aids suit “Drozd” (several models were bought in Ukraine by Americans in the middle 1995). Special progress in the development of active protection systems in the West appeared in 2004-2006. Constant shooting attacks with RPG-7 towards American forces in Iraq, and the second Lebanon war with massed application of anti-tank guided missile launchers and the latest grenade launchers forced Americans to speed up development. The system Quick Kill (eng. Quick Kill) that belongs to the USA requires updating, while Israel has 2 working systems: Trophy and Iron Fist. The first one had successfully passed military tests and is installed on the tanks Merkava since 2009. It makes «Trophy» the second system that is put into account and serially produced.

Pic.7. Israel active protection system «Trofi»: radar (Elta EL/M-2133) and launching unit on the tank Merkava

The uniqueness of this Israel system consists in automatic reloading and as it said by manufacturers, in possibility of hitting multiple targets simultaneously. In 2004 complex CICM designed by United Defense had successfully passed tests. Complex provides protection in azimuth +90 (this variant designed for installation on helicopters provides

The complex provides protection in azimuth +90 (this variant produced for installation on the helicopters provides coverage within 360 degree range, this complex has only 2
units of ammunition that can be considered as a serious disadvantage. The long distance defensive aids suits SLID are also developed.  Detection and determination of target position is carried out by IR-device with the millimeter range. Target kill is carried out by the miniature guided projectile-interceptor. Killing range equals 100 meters from the protected armored vehicle. Certainly, the defensive aids suits will be an integral part of the future armored vehicles, not only of tanks, but vehicles of more light-duty class.

But all active protection systems have common disadvantages. Its unclear how will the system behave while shaking? A
lot of ATGMs (for example, FGM-148 Javelin) hits a tank top, bypassing the protected zone. The explosion within several meters from the tank can probably damage the equipment placed on the tank top and protection system. The final system productivity with necessity of reloading doesn’t allow repulsing multiple attacks from one direction. This peculiarity is taken into account while production of RPG-30 with the leading missile, intended for actuating tank protection system on the safe distance for rocket grenade

In 1994 the authors decided to apply a hypersonic high-enthalpy stream for protection against warheads with the reliable armor shield. The works were carried out in cooperation with the department “Rocket and space technology” of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, the National security academy, Defense and Low of the Russian Federation and OJSC “The Research and Production Enterprise “Radiy”. There is also the solid fuel impulse rocket engine “Ognemech-90”) operated with the TNT blocks weighing 0,5 kg developed. It allows generating the hypersonic high-enthalpy stream with a capacity of 90 megawatt, speed 7000 m/sec and temperature 4500оС. The pressures in the shock wave front can reach 500 mPa. It was offered to install the rocket engine “Ognemech-90” with the possibility of ripple or quick firing the on the armored vehicles. But the works were stopped in 2003…

To be continued… 

Source list

1. Ukrainian secret invention application (contains information that referred to the National Security Information. METHOD OF HYPERSONIC PROTECTION OF THE ARMORED CAR AND SOLID ROCKET MOTOR «OGNEMECH – 90». Co-autors and applicants: Galchenko N.А., Sinchuk О.N. and Trotsenko E.А.

2. Patent of Ukraine № 22363. BUILT-IN EXPLOSIVE REACTIVE ARMOUR. Owner: Kharkiv machine building design bureau named after. A.A. Morozov (UA).

3. Patent of Ukraine № 50850. DEVICE FOR DETECTION OF LASER IRRADIATION OF ARMORED VEHICLE. Patent owner: State enterprise Charkiv machine building design bureau named after. A.A. Morozov (UA).

4. Patent of the Russian Federation № 2138004. HIGHLY PROTECTED TANK WITH TANK CREW (TWO PERSONS). OJSC "Special design bureau of transport machine building" (PJSC "Spezmash" RU).

5. . Patent of the Russian Federation № 2165617.УНИФИЦИРОВАННАЯ БАШНЯ ТАНКА. Patent owner: the Federal state unitary enterprise Design bureau of transport machine building (RU).

6. . Patent of the Russian Federation № 2169336. TANK TURRET. Patent owner: Design bureau of transport machine building (RU).

7. . Patent of the Russian Federation № 2233418.UNIFIED TANK TURRET. Patent owner: the Federal state unitary enterprise Design bureau of transport machine building (RU).

8. M. Held, "Active Protection Against KE-Rounds and Shaped Charges at Short Distances".


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