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The regaining of the comprehensive ability of the German land forces for collective national and alliance defense is a special challenge, also in the field of protection, after decades of concentrating exclusively on international crisis management.

Tactical land mobility vehicles fulfill crucial tasks in all capability categories and require a degree of protection that is graded according to purpose, threat and function. It is therefore important to adequately and safely survive both international crisis management (IKM) operations and national and alliance defense. Since a further increase in protected and armored vehicles is to be achieved by 2027, it is currently of crucial importance which protection developments are available and how these can be implemented on vehicles for land mobility.

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Components of "direct protection" (graphic: mawibo-media)

Protection understanding

Protection from a military point of view serves to maintain the operational capability of one's own forces and resources and thus one's own ability to act. Indirect protection aims at measures, procedures and the organization to prevent the occurrence of a threat in advance. With "direct protection" a distinction is made between active, reactive and passive protection.

Turkish Leopard 2 battle tank destroyed by IS (Photo: authors archive)

In the guideline on "Land Mobility of the Bundeswehr" there is also a design field "Protection". According to this, military vehicles require a degree of protection graded according to purpose, risk (threat) and function. In principle, soldiers should always be deployed with the best possible protection. The protection requirement always applies to the personnel, but can also extend to the cargo and / or the platform, with particular threats from effectors with high kinetic energy requiring special protection classes.

The threat

Military land vehicles are threatened in the entire range of tasks by agents including explosive attacks (Improvised Explosive Devices, IED or Explosively Formed Penetrator, EFP), mines, fragments and projectiles from direct fire weapons, including hand-held anti-tank weapons.

In the current IKM missions, the threat from mines, IEDs and anti-tank weapons, e.g. B. the RPG 7 particularly acute. The dangerousness of the RPG 7 results from the high penetration performance and also consists in the fact that it is inexpensive, was built in very large numbers around the world and is available in all crisis areas.

The threats in the range of tasks of the IKM are essentially known, researched and countermeasures implemented.

Main battle tank T-72 B3M (Photo: Uralvagonzavod)

When fighting in national and alliance defense, the threats posed by the combat value enhancement programs for the imported Russian main battle tanks (T-72, T-80 and T-90) that have been decided in recent years are of decisive importance. During the modernization of the three Russian main battle tanks in recent years, the performance characteristics of firepower and protection have been significantly improved. In particular, the MBT T-72 B3 / B4 and T- 90M could be raised to the level of the MBT T-14 Armata with the new 125 mm smoothbore cannon 2 A46M-5 and the modern fire control system Kalina. The protection was significantly improved, among other things, by using the very powerful reactive armor of the Relikt type.

With the T-72 B3, performance increases were made in all classic areas (firepower, mobility, protection and manageability). Firepower was improved by installing the most modern version of the 125 mm smoothbore cannon (2 A46M - 5).

Main battle tank T-80 BWM with reactive armor of the RELIKT type (Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin)

Furthermore, a modified automatic loading machine is to be used in the T-72 B3 version, which can also accommodate KE projectiles (kinetic energy) with penetrators up to 695 mm long. This means that the newer floors 3 BM 59 (Swinjez-1) and 3 BM 60 (Swinjez-2) can be used with the T-72 B3. According to Russian information, a penetration capacity of at least 600 mm (Rolled Homogeneous Armor, RHA) at 2,000 m can be achieved with this ammunition.

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