Based on a number of news reports that we have analyzed over the past few weeks, it is possible to draw extremely disappointing conclusions that, in addition to complete uncertainty in such significant projects as the creation of a promising multipurpose heavy aircraft carrier pr. 23000 "Storm" and bringing the multifunctional fighters of the 5th generation Su-57, the program for the implementation of large-scale production of advanced main battle tanks T-14, as well as heavy infantry fighting vehicles T-15 based on the Armata heavy multipurpose tracked platform, is also in an absolutely hazy state. In particular, while news from the USA continues to come in an endless stream of a quick update of the M1A1 / A2 "Abrams" tank fleet to the modern modification of the M1A2 SEPv3 at the facilities of the "General Land System" company, as well as to an even more advanced and "far-sighted" M1A2 SEPv4 with a promising television and thermal imaging system based on a 3rd generation IR matrix photodetector, the curator of our defense industry complex and Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov voiced a simply stunning opinion regarding the formation of the tank forces of the Russian Armed Forces.
It turns out that in view of the "high cost" of each unit of T-15 "Armata" announced by Yuri Borisov (about $ 3.94 million), the expediency of large-scale production of these machines is completely absent and it would be much more prudent to compensate for the refusal of "Armata" by modernizing all available armament and "conservation" of the T-72B to the latest version of the T-72B3 (model of 2016). A senior official in charge of the military-industrial sector explained this controversial conclusion in a very simple way. According to him, these MBTs are quite modern and inexpensive vehicles that can both compete with the latest modifications of the M1A2 "Abrams", AMX-56 "Leclerc" and "Leopard-2A5 / 6/7" on the arms market in terms of "cost-effectiveness" and to confront them in the theater of operations, and from the position of a technologically superior machine. Don't you think this statement of Yuri Borisov is too loud and thoughtless?
If we analyze this opinion, starting exclusively from the “cost-effectiveness” criterion, without taking into account the spectrum of threats in the modern network-centric theater of military operations, then to some extent one can heed the words of Yuri Borisov. MBT T-72B3 has the most advanced modification of tank guns of the 2A46M family - 2A46M-5. This gun is unique in its way in comparison with the early samples of the 2A46M-2: the accuracy of firing is increased by 1, 15-1, 2 times, while the total dispersion when firing immediately has decreased by 70%! This result was achieved due to tighter tolerances for the barrel geometry, the use of two additional backlash-selecting devices in the neck of the cradle, the use of backlash-free trunnion assemblies with increased elasticity of the roller material and a reverse wedge, and, finally, the introduction of an optoelectronic bending meter (CID) barrel, according to which it became possible to correct the guidance angle in the elevation plane, depending on the minimum geometric deformation caused by heating the walls of the gun. It should be noted that the T-72B3 and the more advanced T-72B3M, in addition to the standard TPD-K1 gunner's sight (1A40-1 complex), also received the Sosna-U multi-channel gunner's sight, thanks to which the vehicles can continue to fight even after disabling one of the sighting devices.
Nevertheless, all this is very good only at a distance of 3500-5000 m, where the seventy-second can fire, for example, at the newest M1A2 SEPv3 "Abrams" anti-tank guided missiles 9M119M1 "Invar-M1" of the "Reflex-M" complex. But it is far from a fact that in those few minutes of the approach of tanks in battle to a distance of 3-3, 5 km "Invary-M1" will have time to hit at least a couple of three "Abrams" of new modifications, because it has long been known that the equivalent resistance of the frontal projection of the turret the same M1A2 SEP can reach up to 1200-1300 mm from HEAT shells, while the armor penetration of the tandem "Invar-M1" reaches only 900 mm, and even then, provided that the frontal armor plate of the enemy tank's turret is not equipped with tandem dynamic protection modules. As a result, the defeat of the new "Abrams" in the frontal projection can take place only thanks to either a fortunate coincidence, or the perfected skills of the T-72B3 gunner, which allows, during the active convergence of tanks, "drive" the Invar-M1 into the gap between the hull VLD and the tower (area turret ring) or at the junction of the gun mask with the frontal armor plate of the turret. But do you think it's so simple, especially at night, at a distance of 3000-3200 meters, when maneuvering both cars at speeds from 25 to 50 km / h, and even on rough terrain?
And these are not all the surprises that our tankers may encounter when using the Reflex-M systems against the American M1A2. The fact is that on February 15, 2018, numerous foreign and domestic information portals with a link to the armyrecognition.com website reported on the Pentagon's plans to purchase in the 2019 financial year 261 sets of the Israeli active protection system "Trophy" ("Meil Ruach"), developed by the research and production cooperation "Rafael Armament Development Authority" and "Israel Aerospace Industries". The complexes are planned to equip the M1A2 / SEP tanks of three armored brigades of the US Armed Forces deployed in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in the Baltic countries (mainly in Latvia). It is quite obvious that this decision is directly related to the likelihood of an escalation of a major regional conflict between NATO and Russia in the Eastern European theater of military operations, where the Abrams will be opposed by the anti-tank missiles of the Reflex, Kornet-E and Chrysanthemum complexes. WITH". A similar rationale is also true for equipping US M1A2s at the 7th training ground of the US Armed Forces in the German Graphenevoer with a TUSK kit at the beginning of 2017, which provides for the installation of ARAT-2 tandem DZ modules.
But if the TUSK kit for urban battles covers only the side projections of the hull and turret from monoblock and tandem cumulative projectiles, then the Trophy KAZ, represented by 4 fixed X-oriented AFAR detection radars EL / M-2133 with viewing angles of 90 degrees and two rotating launch containers with fragmentation "equipment" on the tower M1A2 SEPv2 / 3, provides all-aspect coverage of the unit from the enemy ATGM. To overcome this defensive barrier, either an alternate launch (with a short time gap) of several anti-tank missiles from one sector at once is necessary, or the use of a bicaliber two-element rocket grenade of a separate type 7P53 "Hook" (RPG-30) with a simulated missile for false initiation of fragmentation anti-fragmentation shells enemy KAZ "Trophy". Standard ATGM 9M119M1 "Invar-M1" tank complex "Reflex", unfortunately, can not oppose anything here.
Consequently, the T-72B3 / B3M during a tank battle will definitely approach the M1A2 SEP at a distance of less than 3000 meters, where the mutual exchange of shots with armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles (BOPS) will begin. The seventy-second crews in this situation certainly cannot be envied. But how can this be conveyed to Mr. Borisov, a man who sees exclusively its combat power as the main advantage of a modern battle tank, as well as the lowest possible cost? Obviously, it is necessary to consider in detail the armor protection of the T-72B3 / B3M completely without jingoistic patriotic embellishments. What we have?
The frontal armor plates of the cast turret (with firing angles close to 0-5 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the barrel bore) can "boast" of a physical size of 330-350 mm in the area of the gun embrasure (there is only a steel size here), 580-575 mm in the area 7, 62-mm Kalashnikov machine gun of the PKT tank (in this area, in addition to the steel dimensions, there is also a part of a niche with special armor in the form of "reflective sheets"), as well as 800-795 mm in the central part of the frontal armor plates (there is 550-mm barrier in the form of "reflective sheets", represented by 20-30-mm packages of armor steel, rubber and ordinary steel and 2 main steel plates). In terms of the equivalent resistance to armor-piercing projectiles, this gives 350-500 mm of protection at the embrasure of the T-72B3 cannon, which under no circumstances is covered by the 4S22 elements of the Kontakt-5 reactive armor, since on the left a free field of view is needed for the gunner's sight TPD- K1, and on the right - a free "window" for firing from the PKT. Conclusion: the main battle tank T-72B3M can be disabled by hitting the area of the gun mask even outdated 105-mm armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles M774 and M833, which were put into service back in 1979 and 1983, respectively; this weakened zone has a width of the order of 0.5 meters. Naturally, breaking through this section will lead to the inevitable death of the vehicle commander and gunner.
The central sections of the frontal armor plates of the turret are covered with 4C22 elements of the Kontakt-5 dynamic protection, which increases the equivalent resistance from BOPS from 540 to 650 mm. Undoubtedly, this is better than bare armor plate, but even this is not enough even for minimal protection against more or less modern American armor-piercing shells M829A1 and M829A2, which have armor penetration of 700 and 740 mm, respectively, at a distance of 2000 m and at an angle of 0 degrees to the normal. Moreover, EDZ 4S22 have a very serious design flaw in the placement on the tower, which consists in the presence of large gaps (gaps) between the wedge-shaped modules. The penetration of the BOPS cores into these gaps will mean that the Kontakt-5 dynamic protection will not fulfill the task assigned to it to reduce the penetrating action of the kinetic projectile by 20%.
The only option that could provide a more or less adequate equivalent resistance of the central sections of the frontal armor plates is the installation of the "Relikt" ERA set in accordance with the T-72B "Slingshot" project (from 2006). Here, the 4C23 modules very tightly (without any gaps) overlap the frontal projection of the turret, while the armor protection against kinetic armor-piercing shells increases not by 20%, but by 50% from 540 to 810 mm. This means that at least in the main sections of the turret's forehead, protection against relatively new American M829A3 projectiles is provided (naturally, closer to the weakened cannon mask, even taking into account the Relic, the resistance to armor-piercing projectiles does not exceed 500-650 mm). But, as we can see from the photos from parades and exhibitions walking on the net, the frontal sections of the towers of even the latest T-72B3 samples in terms of cover level did not come close to the level that is visible on the Slingshot: all the same Contacts on turret, and only lattice anti-cumulative screens appeared on the sides of the hull. So much for your "unique" security.
The outcome of a close collision of such a variant of the T-72B3 with the newest "Abrams" SEPv3, which received even more "penetrating" BOPS of the M829A4 type (more than 850-900 mm of steel equivalent) or "Leopards-2A6 / 7" armed with the DM63A1 projectile., predictable and sad enough. Our T-72B3 / M can use the ZBM-46 "Lead" projectile against the Abrams with a penetration of 650 mm at a distance of 2 km, from which an armor plate with AD-95 corundum ceramics and UO-100 uranium ceramics (with a total equivalent of 950- 970 mm from BOPS) neither cold nor hot. We will generally keep silent about the financing of the work on the placement of the Arena-M active protection complexes on the serial MBT T-72B3 and T-72B3M, so as not to finally fall into a depression. This is what the chief curator of the military-industrial complex offers to our army instead of the unique T-15 "Armata", completely protected from the latest NATO tank shells, and costing almost 2 times less than the French "Leclerc".