During the visit of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis to "Square" (August 24, 2017), it finally became clear that the supply of lethal weapons to Ukrainian military formations would sooner or later be included in the list of operations of the US Defense Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The implementation of this stage of military-technical support can take place both through foreign military sales ("Foreign Military Sales", FMS), and through completely different channels of arms transfer to the state allies. The head of the US defense department said that a document had already been signed a few weeks ago for the supply of unnamed "equipment" to Kiev with a total value of $ 175 million. The amount is very impressive. For example, it can provide for the delivery of 5 counter-battery radars for artillery reconnaissance AN / TPQ-37 "Firefinder II" with a range of calculating the positions of enemy artillery batteries of 50-70 km, as well as a huge number of anti-tank systems (from "TOW" to "Javelin") and means of passive electronic reconnaissance.
So far, information on this matter has not been disclosed, but judging by Poroshenko's "glowing face" during the briefing, a lot was promised. However, we can learn about the details immediately after the actual “fall” of the next “school truce”, but for now let's run a little ahead and consider the technical qualities of the modernized Ukrainian MBT T-72AMT, which in the next few months, in the amount of several dozen units, will enter service with the Ukrainian armored vehicles. units in the Donbass and will be used against the NM LDPR corps. What do servicemen of the Novorossiya army need to know to successfully counter this MBT?
About 2 months ago, we conducted a detailed technological review of the main battle tanks of the T-80B / BV type restored at the "Kharkov Armored Plant", which are gradually entering service in the front-line units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The presence of unique gas turbine engines GTD-1250, which are also installed on the Russian T-80U, became very negative news. This power plant will give Ukrainian vehicles unprecedented dynamic performance, allowing them to accelerate to a speed of 85 - 90 km / h with a specific power of 27.8 hp / t, which will create significant difficulties in hunting them by tank units and anti-tank crews of the DPR Armed Forces. … The availability of MBT data gives ukram the opportunity to carry out a sudden and lightning-fast "breakthrough" of the anti-tank lines of the DPR People's Militia corps in the area of such settlements as Kominternovo, Belaya Kamenka, Novolaspa or Styla solely due to speed characteristics. As for long-term tank battles, the T-80BV is poorly adapted for these purposes.
First, the equivalent resistance of the frontal projection of the hull and turret of this tank leaves much to be desired. The upper frontal part of the hull has a durability within 430 mm from the BOPS and can be pierced by armor-piercing shells ZBM-42M "Lekalo", ZBM-22 "Hairpin" and ZBM-32 "Vant" at a distance of 1200-1300 m. shells do not exceed 900 mm (depending on the angle of meeting of the cumulative jet and the surface of the frontal armor plate). Taking into account DZ "Contact-1" modules, protection is provided against such KS as 9K115 "Metis", "Baby" and monoblock versions of RPG-7. The upper frontal part of the T-80BV in the classic design will not protect against the tandem "kuma" type PG-7VR, 9M131M "Metis-M1" and "Konkurs-M". With regard to the armor protection of the tower (taking into account the Contact-1 remote control), the situation is similar: the resistance from the BOPS is 540 mm, from the KS - 900 mm, which is not much better than in the case of the hull. The same "thin-walled" cast tower is used, the side projections of which are easily penetrated from RPG-7, RPG-26 "Aglen" and SPG-9. The stern projection can be pierced even from a 30-mm automatic cannon of the 2A42M type. The LDNR People's Militia corps have all the necessary range of anti-tank weapons to fight Ukrainian T-80BVs. Even if the Ukrainian tankers on the T-80BV temporarily move into the operational depth of the LDNR, in the very first hours they will be completely defeated by anti-tank crews and motorized riflemen of the LDNR armies using the Metis-M, Fagot and Konkurs-M complexes ".
With the modernized T-72AMT, the situation is a little different. These vehicles cannot support "lightning" offensive operations due to the use of a standard 840-horsepower V-84-1 diesel engine. This power plant allows realizing a speed of no more than 60 km / h, mediocre traction capabilities and a specific power of the order of 19, 5 hp / t, taking into account the fact that the mass of the machine reaches 43 tons after equipping with a complex of dynamic protection and huge anti-cumulative "fences" on the side and aft armor plates of the tower. In terms of dynamic qualities, the T-72AMT is approximately 45% inferior to the gas turbine T-80B / V. But the armor protection of this vehicle may not be a very pleasant "surprise" for tankers and anti-tankers of the armies of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. For example, if the T-80B / BV modernized at the "Kharkov Armored Plant" are covered with mounted dynamic protection of the "Contact-1" type, which absolutely does not provide an increase in resistance against armor-piercing subcaliber shells, then the T-72AMT is covered with a combined DZ as on the basis of "Contact -1 ", and on the basis of several times more effective complex of the built-in DZ" Knife ".
The principle of operation of the elements of reactive armor KhSChKV-19/34 "Knife" is fundamentally different from the method of projectile action of elements 4C20 "Contact-1". If, in the second case, a stopping and destructive effect on the cumulative jet or armor-piercing core is exerted by projectile metal plates fired towards the attacking element due to the detonation of the built-in package with explosives, then in the first case several flat cumulative protective jets are used against the attacking cumulative jet or core. … The latter appear after the initiation of explosive charges in "month-shaped" tubular explosive packages, tightly packed in the EDZ KHSCHKV-19/34. Consequently, the DZ "Knife" modules increase the equivalent resistance of the projections of the tank by about 1, 8 - 1, 9 times, a similar increase in security is observed in the case of monoblock cumulative projectiles; resistance to tandem CS increases by about 1, 2 times. Moreover, a 60% increase in resistance against anti-tank weapons of the "shock core" type is realized. Now we will apply these figures to the standard protection of the T-72A tanks, on the basis of which the State Enterprise "Kiev Armored Plant" produces an updated version of the T-72AMT.
It is well known that the equivalent resistance of the frontal projection of the T-72A tank, although insignificantly, surpasses the indicators of the T-72M1 supplied to the Warsaw Pact countries. The dimensions of the frontal armor plating of the tower are represented by three main layers: external and rear steel armor plates and a central niche, in which special armor is located on the basis of "sand rods" fastened with steel reinforcement. This type of special armor for the T-72A turret (Object 176) initially provided a 37% increase in durability against HEAT shells in comparison with the turret of the early T-72 Ural (560 versus 410 mm, respectively). The durability of the frontal armor plates of the turret from the BOPS is 500 mm without remote sensing. After placing the EDZ KhSChKV-19/34 "Knife", it increases to about 850-900 (with frontal firing) and up to 650-500 mm (with firing in the angles of safe maneuvering ± 20 - 35 °). It will not be possible to penetrate such a tower with ordinary BOPSs "Hairpin", "Vant" and "Lekalo" in a frontal attack by the armored subdivisions of the NM LDPR, even from 700-1000 m.
It will be possible to destroy the upgraded T-72AMT with the above shells only if it hits a little to the right of the gun, where the Ukrainian "virtuosos of tank building" (by analogy with the T-80BV) instead of the DZ "Knife" modules have placed an infrared searchlight. If we consider the protection of the T-72AMT tower from the CS (taking into account the presence of the "Knife"), then at 0 degrees to the normal, resistance of 1000 - 1050 mm from monoblock ATGMs and 700 mm from tandem ones is provided. As a result, during a frontal attack on the turret, the T-72AMT can be hit by such anti-tank systems as the Metis-M, Kornet-E, Konkurs-M or RPG-28 Cranberry, but not Metis., RPG-7 (including PG-7VR round), etc. The only exception is a small sector of the infrared illuminator to the right of the gun mask (the equivalent resistance here is about 370 - 450 mm).
The durability of the side projections of the turret with the "Knife" (within the range of firing angles ± 35 degrees) reaches 600-700 mm both from armor-piercing cores and from cumulative shells. The same figures for different types of armor-piercing effects are observed due to the fact that the side projections do not have niches filled with "sand rods", which increase the anti-cumulative potential of the armor. These sections can be penetrated with the help of RPG-28 "Cranberry", RPG-29 "Vampire" and ATGM "Metis-M1". Outside of a 35-degree angle from the longitudinal axis of the gun (≥35 °), the sides of the tower are practically "cardboard" and are not covered by remote sensing elements, and therefore they can be pierced both from ordinary "Baby" or "Bassoon", and by means of "boots" (SPG-9), "Metis", "Mukhi" or RPG-26 "Aglen".
With the protection of the upper frontal part of the hull, the situation is much more complicated. It is represented by a 3-layer barrier consisting of a 60-mm outer steel sheet, a 105-mm fiberglass plate, and a back plate with a size of 50 mm. At an angle of inclination of 68 ° to the normal, we have a physical dimension of 573 mm and an equivalent resistance from BOPS - 420 mm. Kiev experts have not come up with anything better than placing an EDZ 4S20 Contact-1 on the VLD, and therefore we do not observe absolutely no increase in the protective qualities from kinetic projectiles. Taking into account the thickness of the hulls of the DZ 4S20 modules and the insignificant high-explosive action at the time of their initiation, the resistance of the VLD against armor-piercing shells can reach 430 - 440 mm. The standard 125-mm feathered armor-piercing sabot projectiles ZBM-23 "Hairpin", ZBM-27 "Nadezhda-R" and ZBM-30 "Nadfil-2" are excellent for penetrating such an obstacle. At the same time, the range can be close to 2100 m.
The armor protection of the VLD of the T-72AMT tank against cumulative action (taking into account the Contact-1 NDZ) can reach 900 - 950 mm, which causes its penetration by almost any tandem cumulative weapon (from RPG-7 with a PG-7VR round to an RPG anti-tank grenade -27 "Tavolga", not to mention the tandem ATGM). The upper frontal part of the T-72AMT can be considered the second most vulnerable spot of the tank, right after the open area with an IR illuminator on the turret (to the right of the gun).
The side projections of the T-72AMT hull are well protected. Not only that, the side armor plates have a size of 80 mm in the area of the mechanic drive workplace and the fighting compartment with a thinning up to 70 mm in the area of the engine-transmission compartment (at angles of ± 20 ° from the heading direction of the tank, this gives 204 and 245 mm of steel equivalent, respectively), an additional element of booking these areas can be considered huge 750-mm road wheels, which add another couple of tens of millimeters of durability (depending on the angle of fire). Onboard anti-cumulative screens add a few more tens of millimeters. Their main drawback can be considered an extremely small width, which does not allow covering most of the hull and rollers, which is why kinetic and cumulative shells can easily penetrate the hull, despite the large rollers. Another disadvantage, undoubtedly, can be considered an extremely small area of coverage of anti-cumulative screens with remote sensing elements. As for the huge anti-cumulative "lattice-fences" covering the side and stern projections of the T-72AMT, then with a dense fire effect from 30-mm cannons BMP 2A42, or shelling from RPG-7 fragmentation grenades OG-7V "Oskolok" (7P50) the grate will be for the T-72AMT "like a dead poultice": very quickly it will turn into a "leaky colander", after which cumulative means will be used and the tank will be safely destroyed. A similar technique is also valid in relation to the anti-cumulative grate covering the aft armor plates of the hull, including MTO with an ejector cooling system.
Another design feature, on the contrary, significantly increases the survivability of the modernized Ukrainian MBT. We are talking about the horizontal placement of ammunition in the automatic loader mechanism of the tank, due to which the projection area of the side plates section is several times reduced, the penetration of which leads to detonation of the ammunition rack and the death of the crew. In particular, MBT T-64 BM "Bulat" have vertical ammunition stowage, which leads to the destruction of tanks even from single accurate shots from RPG-7 or SPG-9 to the center of the hull's side armor plates. Nevertheless, despite the loss of a certain number of Bulats in the Donbass, these vehicles proved to be very worthy thanks to the excellent armor protection of the turret using the Knife reactive armor. So, according to the stories of one of the crews of the BM "Bulat" of the 30th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, on February 12, 2015, in a tank confrontation near Logvinovo (Debaltsevo ON), elements of the DZ "Knife" reflected the hit of an armor-piercing sub-caliber projectile and even allowed the ukram to continue the battle with further the destruction of the T-72 army of Novorossiya.
This case confirms our calculations: Knife modules increase the frontal resistance of the T-64BM and T-72A turrets to 850 - 900 mm, and therefore, republican tankers will not be able to penetrate them even with the same "Pattern" without resorting to tricks with shooting at weakened sections of the tower. This applies to both Bulat and T-72AMT. One of the advantages of the "Knife" is the dense arrangement of the EDZ KhSChKV-19/34 (between the modules on the tower there are no gaps that expose the frontal armor plates). The main battle tanks T-72A / B of the LDNR People's Militia corps are distinguished by the presence of the Contact-1 DZ (not protecting against BOPS) or Contact-5. Despite the fact that the latter increases the resistance from BPS by about 20-30%, its 4C22 elements do not form a continuous protective surface (there are large gaps between the elements, into which the BPS core can easily fall). Also, in order to preserve the view of the gunner's sighting complex, there are no DZ elements to the left of the gun mask. Nevertheless, Donbass weapons craftsmen were able to improve Contact-5 by adding thick rubber suspensions with 4S20 Contact-1 elements on the edges to the wedge-shaped joints of 4С22 elements. As a result, the "Kontakt-1" "boxes" reliably overlap the turret shoulder straps (there is no such advanced "kit" on Ukrainian vehicles).
A separate point is to consider the sighting complex of the T-72AMT gunner. The basis for day and night tank battles is the far from advanced combined surveillance and sighting complex 1K13-49 "Neman", which provides overview and guidance in television and infrared sighting channels, as well as semi-automatic laser guidance of the TUR. At the same time, at night, in passive IR mode, the target identification range reaches 500 - 600 m; during infrared illumination - 1200 m. The angle of the field of view in night mode reaches only 6 ° 4`. On the face of a very mediocre night fighting qualities. For example: the detection range of a "tank" -type target at night by means of the thermal imaging sighting device of the gunner TPV "Sosna-U" reaches 3000 m, identification - about 2000 m.
Considering that this sighting system, which fell on the military line, has already been seen on the "Seventy-second" corps of the LDNR People's Militia, the T-72AMT of the APU punitive units with their "Neman" has no chance of destroying the tank forces of the Novorossiya army under cover of night. The sector of view of "Sosny-U" reaches 9º x 6, 75º with a resolution of the displayed infrared image 640x460 (on a 5, 7-inch LCD). Ukry will not be able to oppose anything against this. Tankers-defenders of Novorossiya will be able to open fire almost 2 times earlier than tankers of Ukrainian military formations. The only problem is that not all modifications of the Donbass "Urals" are equipped with this gunner's sighting system, but after the delivery of the first "package" of American lethal weapons to Kiev, the situation may change.
In day mode, the target identification range of the "Neman" is 5000 m, which is quite acceptable. The complex also has an integrated laser channel for semi-automatic control of a 125-mm Kombat tank guided missile with a range of 5000. This ATGM can create a lot of trouble for the tank crews of the LDNR armies, because its armor penetration behind the DZ can reach 650-750 mm. Not one modification of the T-72 (including the "B3") does not have full protection against the "Combat". The only exceptions are those "Seventy-second", which are equipped with the ERA "Relikt" and KAZ. Unfortunately, the tanks of the NM LDNR corps do not have "Relics" at their disposal. But the militia can respond with tank ATGM 9K120 "Svir", or "Cobra" (in relation to the T-64BV or future captured T-80BV).
Most of the T-72AV / B armored units of the NM DNR are equipped with outdated 1K13-49, which equalize the chances of night battles with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At the same time, due to the best protective qualities of the DZ "Knife", the modernized "Bulats" and T-72AMT can even get a noticeable superiority over the tanks of the Armed Forces of Novorossiya. The use of the above-mentioned improved Ukrainian MBT (we will add high-speed T-80BV to this list) can be observed only in the most important operational directions (Novoazovskiy, Telmanovskiy or Debaltsevskiy). Nobody will send these cars, which are in short supply for the junta, to Donetsk or Gorlovka ON.
As a subtotal of our review, it is worth noting that the modernized T-72AMT MBT, which can enter service with the Ukrainian military formations in the amount of 200 or more units, are distinguished by a fairly high armor protection due to the DZ "Knife". And therefore, in the case of their use in one or another operational direction, the anti-tank crews of the DPR Armed Forces should be prepared as much as possible for their "frontal encounter", where the enemy mechanics will try to keep the vehicle bodies in the corners of safe maneuvering (there will be very few vulnerable zones in this case) …
The training consists in the advance equipping of the advanced anti-tank crews of the NM LDNR, which will be the first to meet Ukrainian tanks, with complexes with tandem ATGMs (Metis-M, Konkurs-M), or grenade launchers with tandem rocket-propelled grenades Tavolga, Cranberry and Vampire". No "Fagots", "Malyutki", "Metis", RPG-22 and RPG-26 with a monoblock "godfather" will not make the weather here. And most importantly, do not forget about the bad night capabilities of the OMS of the new punitive brainchild of the Square.