Additional protection kits for infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and armored personnel carriers (APCs) will be delivered to the NMD zone in Ukraine, the head of the main armored directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General, told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. Alexander Shestakov.
He said that “additional protection kits for the BMP-3, BMP-2, BTR-82A, BTR-80 have been created and the supply of these kits to the troops, primarily to the areas of the special military operation, has been ensured.” Moreover, their design is such that it can be installed in the field.
Alexander Shestakov also said that Russian armored vehicles will receive Arena-M active protection systems (KAZ), and relevant development work is currently underway. The major general added that the T-90M tanks will be equipped with these complexes in the process of modernization. In general, it is assumed that other samples of our armored vehicles will also receive Arena-M.
According to him, in order to solve combat missions during the military operation, domestic “tank and motorized rifle units and formations are provided with modern models of armored weapons and equipment.” Shestakov assured that “the T-90M, T-80BVM, T-72B3M tanks currently produced by the industry, infantry fighting vehicles BMP-3, BMP-2M, airborne combat vehicles BMD-4M are not inferior to their foreign counterparts in terms of the main tactical and technical characteristics. , and in some cases surpass them.
The head of the department of the Ministry of Defense also said that as part of the execution of the state defense order for 2022-2024. enterprises of the Russian defense industry should supply “modern and modernized models of armored vehicles that have successfully proven themselves in the performance of a special military operation.”
The issue of equipping armored vehicles with additional protection systems was raised shortly after the hostilities in Syria. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation then considered the experience of Syrian tankers, who installed lattice screens on their vehicles, useful.
Already in 2019, the armored department of the defense department said that domestic specialists were developing a system of additional protection for armored vehicles and assured that it would enter the troops in the coming years. Along with this system, the design of combat vehicles was supplemented with special mounts for installing such screens. In 2021, after the necessary refinement, they began to equip all serial equipment with a protective system.
Military expert Yuri Lyamin recalled that the relevance of strengthening the protection of armored vehicles in the defense department was understood for a long time.
– Previously, information has already appeared that additional protection is being installed on some of the listed types of armored vehicles. Shots of similar equipment equipped with such protection were also shown. For example, back in early June, a video with the installation of additional protection kits on the BMP-2 was distributed, and in August, the executive director of Kurganmashzavod Petr Tyukov said that based on the results of the use of BMP-3 during the operation in Ukraine, it was decided to strengthen them with an additional protection complex from gratings and armored screens. I am glad that the BTR-8082, which also needs additional protection, is not forgotten.
“SP”: – Is it possible to say that during the military operation some shortcomings were revealed in our armored vehicles in terms of protection?
– During the special military operation, the insufficient protection of light armored vehicles, especially its old models, like the BMP-2 and BTR-80, was only confirmed. There, shortcomings in terms of its protection were revealed even during the Afghan war in the 1980s. For this reason, already in those years, the modernization of the same BMP-2 with enhanced armor protection was hastily developed, but these vehicles, called the BMP-2D, lost their ability to swim because of this, as a result, such modernization never received further distribution.
As for Arena-M, then military expert Alexei Leonkov noted that its use is associated with the active use of Western weapons by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
– The fact is that the Ukrainian side began to receive a large number of foreign anti-tank missile systems and it is necessary to strengthen the protection of armored vehicles. The Arena-M complex can be installed on the T-72B3, T-80BVM tanks, as well as on the BMPT. Considering that our American, previously partners, and now opponents, are supplying Kyiv with Javelins, such protection will be in great demand.
“SP”: – Why didn’t we think about such active protection before?
– First of all, various improvements in the protection of equipment are taking into account the experience gained in the course of hostilities. Some shortcomings, the need for improvements are becoming more clear. It has always been so, and now the need for such protection has become obvious. By the way, not so long ago, active protection systems for infantry fighting vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles were not provided at all. However, our designers managed to refine the equipment, taking into account its installation.
It is worth noting that work on the Arena-M complex began in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, taking into account the hostilities in Afghanistan. And although it was put into service in 1993, in fact, work on equipping armored vehicles with it in our country was not carried out due to the ongoing collapse of the Armed Forces.
However, in 1995 the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Pavel Grachev I had to admit significant losses of armored vehicles during the fighting in Chechnya, which became possible, among other things, due to the low effectiveness of the means of protection used at that time. And work on the Arena-M complex was intensified.