A characteristic feature of the current conflict in Ukraine is the use of physically and morally outdated equipment, which does not fully meet the requirements of the time. One of the consequences of this is the appearance of combat vehicles, which received the protection of artisanal production. To increase the level of protection of combat vehicles used various means of attracting attention. Consider the basic methods of such equipping military equipment used by the Ukrainian military.
The current conflict has reaffirmed the obvious thesis: light armor, by definition, cannot protect the crew from anti-tank weapons, such as rocket launchers. To solve this problem, various anti-cumulative screens are used. Indeed, equipping a combat vehicle with a metal or lattice screen allows you to cause an undermining of an anti-tank grenade at a distance from armor and thereby save the vehicle from destruction. In addition, some screens destroy the grenade and do not allow it to explode. Such screens are known since the Second World War and are used with considerable success.
The Ukrainian designers, creating the BTR-4 armored personnel carrier, took into account the experience of the armed conflicts of the last decades and equipped the lattice anti-cumulative screens. Such protection, created by specialists, has corresponding high characteristics. There are cases when armored personnel carriers with factory-made grilles returned from combat with anti-tank grenades stuck between screen plates. Naturally lattice screens get damaged, but the armored personnel carrier and its crew remain intact.
Not all Ukrainian armored vehicles are equipped with pre-fabric lattice screens. Often, the crews have to independently “modernize” their equipment. Handicraft production screens made from various scrap materials have become widespread. For example, often armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles appear in the battle zone with screens made of metal mesh stretched over a skeleton. For obvious reasons, this protection is not very effective. The rigidity and strength of the grids used do not allow to keep the rocket grenade at the right distance from the armor and to initiate its blasting. As a result, mesh screens do not increase the level of protection of technology, but to some extent complicate its operation.
In mid-September, photographs of one of the motorized rifle divisions of Ukraine, equipped with infantry fighting vehicles BMP-2, were published. Taking into account the existing experience, the equipment of the division was refined and received a set of anti-cumulative screens. On the front of the upper frontal sheet of machines was installed a wide lattice of small height, covering the projection of the upper part of the body. Lattices of the appropriate size covered and sides of the car. In addition, on the lower frontal parts of the case of machines installed mounts for rubber screens.
The on-board and frontal screens of the BMP-2 on the existing photos may indicate their origin: it is likely that some enterprise participated in their production. The basis of the screens are metal corners, from which the frame structure is made. Metal rods forming a grid are welded to the corners. The soft frontal screen, in turn, is a sheet of rubber of the required size, covering the lower part of the frontal projection of the machine. The exact fate of machines equipped in this way is unknown, but it can be assumed that they are much more likely to survive on the battlefield than the technique with nets.
In early October, a photo of the Ukrainian armored personnel carrier appeared with a very original additional protection. The sides of the car are covered with a lattice screen assembled from metal rods. Between the casing and the grilles, bags of sand or soil are laid for added protection. The lower frontal part is covered with a metal plate. Finally, blocks are welded onto the side screens and cheekbones of the forehead of the hull tank dynamic protection. Such a set of additional means of protection shows how seriously the authors of this “modernization project” approached the matter.
Nevertheless, specialists and lovers of military equipment immediately noticed a number of drawbacks that could significantly worsen the survivability of the armored personnel carrier. First of all, these are dynamic protection units, welded onto a relatively thin bulletproof armor. When hit by a grenade and undermining the charge, the dynamic protection unit can break through the armor of an armored personnel carrier and cause damage to both the vehicle and the crew. However, there is reason to doubt that explosives are still present inside the welded blocks. Perhaps, only empty boxes were installed on the armored personnel carrier, which to some extent increased the level of protection. However, even in this case, the additional protection of the armored vehicle looks dubious and ambiguous.
The lack of the required number of combat-ready armored vehicles leads to the appearance of converted civilian equipment equipped with armor. This technique is typical for recent local wars that marched in Asia and Africa. It is noteworthy that in these wars, converted civilian vehicles were used and used mainly by non-governmental armed groups. As for the current war in Ukraine, it is primarily the security forces who order such equipment, and industrial enterprises are engaged in its manufacture.
In most cases, the conversion of cars involves the installation of metal sheets on top of the body. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian conflict showed that even a similar approach to the creation of improvised armored vehicles can be accompanied by original ideas and solutions.
In mid-July, the Nikolaev Diesel-Repair Plant completed the re-equipment of two UAZ-3303 vehicles, which were modified by order of the Frontier Service of Ukraine. The vehicles received protection of the crew cabin and a metal body in which they installed a turret with a machine gun. The workplace of the shooter was protected by a standard method for this technique: used sheet metal. At the same time, the chassis and the cockpit received original protection.
The wheels, the frame and the lower part of the cabin doors received protection, made of sections of a metal airfield cover. Such a metal profile is unlikely to provide serious protection against small-arms bullets. weaponsHowever, it is of interest as a technical curiosity. No less original is the protection of the frontal projection of the machine and the side windows of the cabin. On these parts of the base truck, a metal frame structure and fittings welded to it were installed. The rods of the latter were attached to the frame, and also welded to each other. The protection characteristics of such “reinforcement armor” raise serious doubts, although the originality of the idea is worth attention.
An interesting approach to the manufacture of improvised armored vehicles for the Ukrainian military is demonstrated by Energoatom, which cooperates with Atomremontservis. In early September, the company handed over to the security forces three minibuses that received protection. According to reports, the cars were equipped with armor made of steel sheets. On top of the front of the car body were installed designs characteristic angular shape. Relatively large windows were left to observe the road.
On the last day of September, Energoatom announced the transfer to the military of three more modified vehicles. Allegedly, they received a lightweight booking option. Apparently, relief is to change the design of the reservation of the front of the machines. So, instead of a large frontal sheet and side sheets in the front of the machine, there are lattices of the same size. The reasons for the appearance of such a construction are not fully understood. Nevertheless, we can immediately speak about the extremely low level of protection of such a structure. The grille does not protect the windshield and hood of the car from bullets and fragments, which is why any shots at them can be fatal for the machine itself and for its crew.
Among the improvised “armored personnel carriers”, the car shown in the beginning of October by the Zaporizhstal combine is seriously distinguished. As a base for it was taken a serial truck brand "KAMAZ", which sheathed 6-mm steel. As you can see in the available photos, protection was received by all the important units of the car, from the cab to the rear wheels. There is a lowered cover that covers the windshield, as well as sheets that protect the rear wheels from the sides and the front axle in front. In the sides of an armored van there are loopholes for monitoring the situation and firing from personal weapons. The frontal sheet covering the cabin is decorated with a stylized yellow-blue trident.
Zaporozhye armored "KAMAZ". Photos ipnews.in.ua
It was alleged that the steel-clad KamAZ would go to one of the units fighting on the territory of the DPR. Earlier, the Zaporizhstal combine had already fulfilled the order of the military, then the UAZ car received protection. This time Zaporizhzhya specialists took into account the experience gained and made a protected truck. However, as follows from the published data, armor steel is not used to protect the machine, which accordingly affects its survivability in real combat conditions.
All considered samples of full-fledged and improvised armored vehicles, as well as ways to increase their level of protection are interesting from a technical point of view. According to their real characteristics, they are seriously different from each other, however, in no small number of cases, the additional protection of equipment can be considered a means of complacency rather than a real way to save cars and fighters. However, in the current situation, the Ukrainian military does not have to choose; they are forced to use the available opportunities and look for ways to protect themselves and equipment.
The appearance of artisanal means of additional protection and improvised armored vehicles can speak of one unpleasant fact for Ukraine. Self-made grids and nets on armored personnel carriers are a sign that the country's defense industry was not ready to ensure the participation of the army in hostilities. Apparently, she either did not have her own developments in this area, or all of these projects were simply not implemented. As a result, the soldiers had to independently search for grids or grids and install them on their combat vehicles.
The appearance of improvised armored vehicles also indicates the poor state of the armed forces and industry. There are a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles in the troops, but the number of combat-capable equipment might not be enough to solve the assigned tasks. Repair companies are actively engaged in the restoration of unusable equipment, but the losses are still too great and they simply cannot cope with the load. The solution to this problem is the installation of metal parts on civilian cars. Due to the load of defense enterprises, other plants are involved in assembling such equipment.
Samples of improvised armored vehicles and combat vehicles with homemade means of additional protection simultaneously demonstrate two interrelated trends. On the one hand, the soldiers of the armed forces want to get equipment with a high level of protection that can protect them from enemy fire, and on the other, the industry cannot provide them with everything they need. Naturally, all this affects the loss of people and technology, and also contributes to the victories of the militia.
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