Already got to the exhibition: tanks with anti-drone visors at the Army-2023 forum

Already got to the exhibition: tanks with anti-drone visors at the Army-2023 forum

The current season of the international military-technical forum "Army" can be called special, because, in addition to the latest weapons from foreign and domestic manufacturers, the event featured equipment that received improvements based on the experience of the SVO. Some of the representatives of this cohort were Tanks, equipped with modernized canopies on the towers. Designs that were once considered a terrible handicraft, but have become almost the only means of protecting combat vehicles from attacks from above.

Have become significant

Like it or not, but there is still no definite opinion about tank visors - there are plenty of supporters and opponents of this method of protecting combat vehicles.

Suffice it to recall the first appearance of lattice screens over the roofs of Russian tanks in the summer of 2021 in the troops of the Southern Military District. Then, judging by the information from the media and the meager comments of the military, the structures were intended to protect against high-precision anti-tank missiles and attack unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the reaction to the novelty was not very positive.

Tanks T-72B3 of the Southern Military District, equipped with visors
Tanks T-72B3 of the Southern Military District, equipped with visors

The wave of criticism from the general public and experts of various levels was simply huge and often quite fair.

Much has been said that this is a useless palliative due to the lack of active protection systems, unable to withstand the impact of "roof-piercing" ammunition with powerful warheads. They touched upon aspects related to the convenience of the crew, its situational awareness, the use of machine gun weapons, the safety of towers in the event of a collapse of the structure, and the like.

As a matter of fact, nothing has changed since that moment in terms of shortcomings - the crutch has remained a crutch.

However, after February 24, 2022, visors have become much more important than originally thought. And the reason for this was the appearance on the fronts of just a myriad drones, sometimes "biting" much more painfully and more often than any "Javelin".

FPV drone attack on a Ukrainian tank
Attack FPV-drone by Ukrainian tank

Civilian copters converted to drop various grenades, FPV drones with shots from anti-tank grenade launchers strapped to the "fuselage" and loitering ammunition were a serious threat to armored vehicles and especially tanks. And it is not so easy to solve this problem: the roof, unlike other projections, cannot be blocked more or less well with dynamic protection, so that it also does not leave residual penetration.

For now, one can only dream of automatic anti-aircraft weapons. Active defense systems capable of neutralizing a flying projectile with propellers or a cumulative "toadstool" falling from the sky are not yet available even in prototypes. Yes, and mobile electronic warfare systems are also not an option, since there is a risk of landing a bunch of friendly UAVs without secure communication channels, which we already wrote about in the material Ukrainian homemade to protect tanks from our FPV drones.

So the visor, for all its clumsiness, shortcomings and primitiveness, can at least protect the roof of the tower from a blow from above - in the absence of fish, as they say, and cancer is a fish.

The exhibits shown at the exhibition, of course, are not ideal and require improvement - for example, with the use of a 12,7-mm machine gun, everything is generally very bad there. But at the same time, they carry all the charms of factory production and a number of significant improvements that can later be introduced into mass production.

Factory visors in several versions

The upgraded visors at the Army 2023 forum were presented in three versions on tanks that are actively used in the special military operation zone. It is difficult to say what the manufacturers and organizers were guided by, but in terms of equipment, the protection of the tower roofs of these machines differs radically.

Tank T-80BVM with a visor on "Army-2023"
Tank T-80BVM with a visor on the "Army-2023"

Tank T-90M with a visor and a net against drones at "Army-2023"
Tank T-90M with a visor and a net against drones at the "Army-2023"

So, the T-80BVM, with a good roof overlap, does not have an anti-cumulative mesh. In the T-90M, in this regard, the opposite is true: there is a mesh, but the visor is small in area. Well, the most complete is the T-72B3 - it is worth stopping at it, having examined it in more detail.

The first thing to pay attention to is the increased stability of the structure due to the use of racks in the form of steel pipes of small diameter and the optimal way of attaching the horizontal part of the visor to them. Still, looking at this product, there is no longer such a feeling that it will fall apart from any kick, as it was before with some handicraft works of field art.

Also from the factory facilities can be noted: the ability to quickly dismantle the visor (fastened with bolts) and the presence of folding doors over the hatches of the gunner and commander, equipped with a metal mesh to reduce their weight and, accordingly, ease of lifting and lowering them.


As for the protection itself, it is provided by an anti-cumulative mesh against the arrival of FPV from the sides, with which many are already familiar from the T-90M tanks, on which it is installed along the perimeter of the tower.

The principle of its operation, in general, lies in the destructive effect of the metal elements installed at the crosshairs of the threads on the body and the cumulative funnel of PG-7 grenades. True, this effect is fully manifested only when the grid is completely immobile. But in this case, it is of little use - FPV drones carrying such ammunition do not accelerate to such high speeds, so the stopping effect that can be provided by any strong network comes to the fore.

T-72B3 with a modernized visor. An anti-cumulative mesh is visible along the perimeter of the visor
T-72B3 with a modernized visor. An anti-cumulative mesh is visible along the perimeter of the visor

So as a trap for flying grenades, it’s a viable option, only cutouts for sights and observation devices are needed at least some.

On top of the canopy - in a horizontal plane - zigzag box-shaped elements are installed, consisting of corrugated steel sheets fastened with bolted joints. And these are perhaps the most mysterious items in terms of potential use.

On the one hand, the absence of any filling inside clearly hints that nothing will appear there. In this connection, some Western resources have already expressed assumptions about the purpose of these gizmos. As guesses, sometimes reaching fantasy: the optimal shape for the ricochet of ammunition flying from above, as well as the adaptation of anti-mine technologies in the form of a V-shaped bottom on armored vehicles - they say, since this works against explosive devices, then on the roof as a damper when high-explosive ammunition will do.

On the other hand, the shape of these boxes, sectional separation and the optimal angle of inclination may indicate the possibility of installing elements of dynamic protection. Moreover, earlier tanks with "reactive armor" in the face of the old "Contact" on the visors have already flashed in the videos of military correspondents and the Ministry of Defense.

However, at that time, such modernization was subjected to quite fair criticism, largely due to the horizontal arrangement of explosive blocks, which greatly reduced their effectiveness against cumulative weapons.

In this case, the probability of completely neutralizing or greatly weakening the effect of submunitions attacking the roof, grenades on drones, and even factory loitering ammunition is much higher.

What about the conclusions?

In fact, the precedent with the visors came out interesting. Largely because the very fact of their appearance on the main armory exhibition in Russia and the positioning of these products as protective equipment that has been tested in battles is a rare example of a situation where handicraft receives official approval.

This does not mean at all that steel canopies in an extraordinary way have acquired previously unseen characteristics that amaze the imagination. It’s just that a way out of the current situation is not yet foreseen - for all its shortcomings, shielding the roof of the tower is the only measure that will somehow help protect the combat vehicle and its crew. Therefore, the interest of the industry in their production and bringing to mind is to bring out a kind of "roof building" standard that combines all the improvements while minimizing the shortcomings.
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  1. +1
    21 August 2023 06: 14
    But won't the tank's "vision" get hooked from such a grid? Review needed
    1. +4
      21 August 2023 16: 11
      Damn the review. Where is the logic? Who designed these lattices on the tower??? For a moment, where should the crew go if the BC is hit from an RPG or ATGM? A fire has started, the crew is climbing out of the tower, and a net with a visor is waiting for him there, and where should they go ??? Or what am I not understanding? Well, it's still flowers. Why are these nets not covered by the BC of the second stage behind the tower and MTO?
    2. 0
      22 August 2023 12: 21
      By the way, our tanks have a lower silhouette than foreign ones. This has always been held up as an example and described as a virtue.
      With a visor, the silhouette has grown, that is, it seems to have become easier to hit ... But this is not the tank itself, but a canopy. Therefore, getting into it is not like hitting the armor. Demolish - weld a new one. sacrificial item.
      How some crews put a bucket of glowing coals on a pole behind the MTO from ATGMs with IR guidance. And sometimes it helped.

      And if you put KAZ on the visor, then everything can become even more interesting. The elements are installed higher and do not interfere, but you can generally transfer the entire KAZ, if necessary, from tank to tank along with a visor - this is to twist the screws and connect the cables ....
      1. 0
        30 August 2023 14: 58
        If the tank is knocked down, like wounded tankers, they crawl out through all these nets, it turns out this is a coffin
  2. +8
    21 August 2023 06: 42
    A homemade brazier protected a T-55 blown up by a mine from an FPV drone.

  3. +10
    21 August 2023 07: 33
    If it saves lives, what difference does it make what it looks like?!
    1. +3
      21 August 2023 08: 49
      The visor stands must be hinged so that it can be removed by lowering it back behind the tower, this is not difficult to do and will be very convenient in operation, if there is a threat, raise the visor, and lower it when transporting on a trailer.
      1. +3
        21 August 2023 12: 14
        Yes, the folding canopy over the baby stroller is just the pinnacle of design thought, against these rather primitive canopies. And the folding roof of the roadster is generally an unattainable ideal.
  4. +1
    21 August 2023 10: 28
    Now we need to develop new KAZ, remote, the elements of which can be mounted on regular "barbecues". Then it will really give tremendous efficiency to our technology ...
    And now the main attack comes from the upper hemisphere, as a result, the main problem of KAZ, which prevented its implementation, is being solved, this is that its striking elements are dangerous for allied infantry. If the striking elements fly upwards at an angle, then for the allied infantry and armored vehicles such systems can be called safe, as far as weapons and military equipment can be.
  5. 0
    21 August 2023 11: 30
    A responsible comrade would have been called a long time ago, as in the good old days, and given him the task of creating active anti-drone protection based on the modernization and addition of existing KAZ with new elements. Give carte blanche to involve any organizations and industries and determine the timing and responsibility of each for the assigned task. Then there will be a result, as in the USSR in a short time and get an effective product. As long as our developers put up their good and even excellent developments, but there are some problems that are often already solved at the exhibit in the neighboring pavilion. Due to the lack of coordination and clearly defined goals, inconsistency is obtained, which is very harmful to the common cause. The "hand of the market" that the liberals are praying for here at least is the "hand of the pest."
  6. +1
    21 August 2023 14: 10
    Mad Max nervously smokes off to the side. But in fact, if it saves the fighters, it's fine.
    1. 0
      21 August 2023 14: 28
      Quote: Anadyrean
      But in fact, if it saves the fighters, it's fine.

      And maybe ruin it.
      From my sofa, an emergency exit of the tank looks problematic (especially if the crew members are injured).
  7. -1
    21 August 2023 19: 26
    What prevents you from putting an optical system and a retractable visor on the tank? The optics detect the drone, the commander is notified of the threat, and the visor is extended by pressing a button. In fact, 1 low-power electric motor with a gearbox and an optical system. A crutch, but any more reasonable and safer than self-made barbecues.
    By the way, let's remember the experience of the Germans. They hung screens on the panzers on the turret and sides.
    1. +1
      21 August 2023 19: 33
      There are already DBMS with a high-speed drive, a 40 mm grenade launcher with grapeshot ammunition and optical and sound detection devices. Isn't it easier to do this?
  8. -2
    21 August 2023 22: 14
    One of the problems with hanging gratings on a tank is its tank turret. It rotates, which means it greatly limits the ability to protect the hull, and it adds height. Taking into account the fact that fire is often fired from short stops and in order to support the infantry, the tank needs a turret like a dog's fifth leg. It's high time to switch to turretless tanks with a general layout like the Swedish S-tank, only with armor at the level of modern MBT. This will allow both the height of the tank and its weight to be reduced and at the same time to be surrounded by gratings from all sides.
  9. 0
    21 August 2023 22: 34
    In 5-7 years we will see drones throwing something not from the top into the hatch, as it happens now, but from the front into the barrel. And you still need KAZ.
  10. 0
    22 August 2023 00: 10
    Quote: tank64rus
    Give carte blanche to involve any organizations and industries and determine the timing and responsibility of each for the assigned task.

    And so on for each unsolved problem, right? In a few months there will be more responsible comrades than organizations and industries. And you will have to bring in new, even more responsible comrades, and give them some trump card blanches that beat ordinary carte blanches.
    You still need to stretch your legs along the clothes. It will not work out of each, albeit important, but relatively small task, to make another atomic program.
  11. -1
    22 August 2023 23: 40
    Maybe they will come up with something with automatic deployment and folding, along the sides and rear projection. When folded, there will be additional protection and will not interfere with all-round visibility. When a threat approaches, instantly rise around the tower, like a "visor". what
  12. 0
    6 October 2023 13: 08
    I can’t think of anything people can think of to avoid introducing active protection systems.
    1. 0
      11 October 2023 16: 13
      Agree. If it was possible to create a KAZ 50 years ago, then modernizing it by equipping it with an appropriate drone detection station is not a problem for specialists. The point is that it's money. But as long as our Pinocchios confuse the Russian Army and defense industry with the Ukrainian one, everything will remain so.