Weak zones in MBT's armor protection.

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Damian, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    One of the main goals of MBT designers is to design a vehicle in such a way to minimize weak zones in MBT's armor protection. These weak zones can be main gun mantle, main sight placed in not most fortunate place and such things.

    Leopard 2 is great example on how not fortunate placement of main sight increase front armor weak zone, of course it is not something tragic but still enough significant to make difference compared to other MBT's.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Similiar main sight placement can be seen in Arjun Mk1 or Leclerc, however Leclerc have more complex main sight design and is is not so well visible from the outside.

    We can now compare such main sight placement with much more optimal design seen in many more design, where main sight goes out by turret roof opening that is much less risk design solution.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (M1A1/M1A2)

    [​IMG]
    (Challenger 2 - prototype but there is not much difference between prototype and mass produced vehicle)

    So we can actually see how important is for overall vehicle protection, to minimize weak zones.

    Indian users will be especially interested in Arjun Mk1 turret design.

    [​IMG]

    We can see here 3 significant weak zones.

    1) Main sight placement, similiar to that of Leopard 2, however picture is not clear enough to see details.
    2) Wide main gun mantle.
    3) Side turret is only partially protected by thick composite armor, the rest is protected only by thin RHA armor, thus still making vehicle highly vurnabale to hits within safe manouvering angles (frontal arc 60 degrees, so it is for right or left +/- 0 to 30 degrees from turret longitudinal axis).

    Otherwise tank is from the pure design point of view highly comparabale to Leopard 2 before KWS upgrades program.

    We also need to remember about turret bustle, it is not nececary but it would be good to protect bustle with the same thick composite armor as crew compartment.

    Leopard 2 as many other tanks (for example Arjun) have bustle protected only by thin RHA armor (probably spaced).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This drawing shows that turret bustle in M1A1/M1A2 series have the same protection (by pure thickness) like the crew compartment side armor, Leopard 2 turret bustle have very weak protection, Challenger 2 turret bustle is also weak protected but covered by storage boxes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
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  3. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    [​IMG]

    This drawing shows Leclerc armor scheme, take note on the main sight are on the turret right side, we can see that there are two composite armor cavitys with a main sight air gap between them. Details are unknown but these scheme can be seen on many drawings of Leclerc turret and the over turret design suggest such configuration. The overall protection offered by Leclerc is high, on par with other top line MBT's.

    [​IMG]

    South Korean K2 Black Panther turret armor scheme. Front armor is thick (max ~800mm thick), side turret armor is not offering any significant protection + with turret geometry it all forms huge weak zone within safe manouvering angles... it can change in final vehicle but it is doubtfull.

    [​IMG]

    T-84M Oplot-M (Object 478DU10) and T-90A (Object 188A1/Object 188A2) turrets drawing, we can see that side armor is thin, but angled in such a way that within safe manouvering angles it is completely covered by front armor, thus making turret well protected over front still small and light.

    [​IMG]

    ZTZ-98/99 turret scheme, Chinese tried to replicate Soviet/Russian/Ukrainian design scheme for turret, not fully sucessfull thus Chinese vehicle is still more vurnabale within safe manouvering angles.

    [​IMG]

    ZTZ-98/99 front armor module design scheme, shows that actually there is less composite array than in other MBT's, so it is nothing strange that ZTZ-99A2 use more conventional for other modern MBT's, semi modular design.
     
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  4. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    [​IMG]

    A very interesting drawing showing MBT-70/KPz-70 armor.
     
  5. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    There is not much that can be done to protect the traditional weak points:-
    - The belly.
    - The broadside.
    - The top
    - the engine area.

    Multiple ATGM hits, 120 mm mortar fire, arty fire still cannot be defeated by tank designs (apart from the bucket full of TNT that the LTTE invented).
     
  6. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Of course there is much to do to protect these zones.

    Belly can be protected by addon armor like this one, ~100-200mm V shaped.

    [​IMG]

    Top armor can be reinforced using ERA or like on improved Leopard 2 or Merkava Mk4.

    Rear and engine can be protected by slat armor.

    Sides can be protected by slat armor, composite armor modules or ERA cassettes.

    So yeah :
    can be deeated by tanks.
     
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I wonder how the suspensions are protected from IEDs and stuff. The Arjun's suspension is quite well exposed.
     
  8. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Suspension is not protected, but there are way to handle for example loss of 2 or 3 road wheels. It is called short tracking, I know that US Armed Forces and Israeli Defence Forces are training crews to do short tracking.
     
  9. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    In Urban Warfare, going for the MBTs tracks would be a better option. Immobile tanks is no use!!


    Adrams rear and above armor is quite thicker compare to Merkava and Leo.

    Did M1 ever go shot by 120MM gun??.
    Hellfires were tested against Adrams, They said to been proved very effective. There was even an friendly-fire incident in which a direct hellfire hit destroyed a M1 Adram (Correct me if iam wrong)


    How much weight a modern slat armour can be?. Wont it add extra pressure over the tank engine?
    Besides, A Tank gun fire or a kinetic energy rounds can penetrate the slat armour!!
     
  10. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    You have no guarantees that shot from RPG will do extensive damage to tracks, so it will be on most cases lost RPG granade, tracks are also preatty small targets at most combat ranges, You can miss them.

    Abrams, it's Abrams for Christs sake, after General Creighton Abrams. And no, top and rear armor is same or similiar to most Leopard 2 variants (besides 3 Improved variants, Leopard 2S/Strv122, Leopard 2A6HEL and Leopard 2E that have better turret roof armor), and is thinner than all Merkava variants rear armor, some Merkava variants have also very thick turret roof armor.

    Yes, it was tested, but test results against anti tank weapons are still classified, we know about only one test but it's purpose was not to check armor protection levels, but what happens when armor is hit so many times that it literally broke in to pieces.

    Tested yes, tests results and where vehicle was hit is not known. In battle friendly fire some tanks were hit in the side or rear armor, I also know about one incident where Hellfire hit turret front armor, but armor protected crew.

    It depends on slat armor design (how massive are bars), but it still a preatty light protection, it would be difficult to slat armor to make problems for a tank engine, especially these ones with power around 700 to 1500-1800HP, and I seen tanks with slat armor that have much weaker engines.

    Wow, incredible, as I would not know it... it's obvious that last armor is designed to protect against RPG's mainly and in limited capability against ATGM's and tank gun fired HEAT ammunition. :rolleyes:
     

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