Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Armour protection systems

The Sri Lanka Army has lessons to learn in terms of protecting armoured columns and tanks against insurgents/guerrillas/terrorists in urban, lightly-built-up and open terrains. This will be necessary in order to avert a disaster of the nature of Omanthai I.

The Israeli Defence Forces’ pride, the Merkava-4 (God's Chariot-4) is an international product of that learning. Before that and until 2006 however, the Merkava was at the mercy of Hizboallah fighters and their RPG-7s HEAT and Russian-made wire-guided missiles.

Merkava 3 destroyed in south Lebanon

The same issue confronted them in 1973 when Russian 9M111 Fagot (NATO AT-4 Spigot) wire-guided anti-tank weapons destroyed a large number of its tanks.

Merkava-3 under Hisbollah attack (Aljazeera @ youtube.com)

Although we have no confirmation of LTTE acquiring similar weapons, countries like Syria have provided large such stocks to Hizbullah until 2006. Given LTTE’s former links in Beirut, it will not be surprising if these weapons are somehow smuggled into the island. Unlike the SAMs, anti-tank missiles will not be considered a threat to regional security by our neighbours or other international powers.

Until now, the Tigers main answer to armoured columns and Battle Tanks has been an obstacle course of trenches hidden by bush and soil-covered gunnysacks and the RPG-7 HEAT. They would force Tanks and armoured columns off the road and force them onto a trench and then fire RPGs.


Another international terrorist response to armour is the IED. IEDs are a phenomenon of globalization, in terms of transnational criminal networks engaged in technology and materials transfer and smuggling from one terrorist group to another.

IEDs use simple technologies like mobile communication systems available is most countries to detonate the weapons. This made traditional detonation methods like contact or application of pressure obsolete.

Remote command detonation enables even civilians and children to detonate the device without being detected or suspected. IEDs are tactical weapons manufactured locally by local bomb makers using basic materials, in addition to the main ingredient; high-grade explosives.

LTTE mobile detonator

Two of capable IEDs for armour piercing are the Self-Forged Fragmentation (SFF) mines and explosive formed penetrators (EFP). SFF mines are effective against lightly armoured fighting vehicles. EFPs are much worse.

The modern EFP is the successor to the 1940s German Panzerfaust 30 (tank fist), a hand held weapon that propelled a malten metal projectile that burns into tanks until the tank burns from the inside.

An EFP from Iraq (Wikipedia)

For small vehicles, the principle against an IED is blast deflection, mitigation and roll prevention. The most common technique is the use of blast absorbing panels deflecting the shock and fragments and stabilize the vehicle and preventing it from rolling over.

In the world of active and passive vehicle protection systems are some recent successful innovations.

In the passive armour protection systems, the Israeli Military Industries Iron Wall is famous as a ballistic structure that can defeat several types of medium sized IEDs using a combination of composite materials and metals.

Projectiles against Iron Wall passive protection system

The most interesting development is the Iron Fist, an active armour protection system that uses an Infrared sensor, static radar system and blast interceptor system to safely drop to ground incoming munitions and projectiles of all types in an automated single blast.

The Iron Fist can knock down anything from a Kinetic Energy projectile to a guided missile without blasting the warhead of the incoming projectile. It simply detonates at the rear end of the projectile making the warhead drop safely to ground.

IMI's Iron Fist APS


Rover said...

Iron fist is very cool. I've seen different footage shown on Discovery Chanel, I think there is an improved version than the one shown here.

Hope MID have these, can't be that expensive, as it involves only a IR sensor, a computer and the projectile/firing mechanism. But there could be a patent?

Unknown said...

Maveraka is an appropriate name for one of the best tanks in the world.

A good article below on Sri Lanka


Unknown said...

anything new on Madhu battles???

Defencewire said...

Madhu under siege. SLA is constructing an FDL in Madhu ahead of Sinnapandivirichchian. All routes leading to Madhu (Mannar Madhu, Uylankulam-Madhu, Thampanai- madhu or Parayanalankulam-Madhu roads)are under SLA control.

LKDOOD said...

War will not stop Sri Lanka development - president


About Us

We are a Non-Political Group of Defence Experts Sharing Our Knowledge For the Good Of Our Country. This is a Voluntary Effort. We Report to No-one But You.

Contact US

You can contact us by e-mail on defencewire@gmail.com and on defence_wire@yahoo.com.


DefenceWire or its editors are not responsible for the opinions expressed by the contributors to this website.