|Manufacturer:||RAFAEL Armament Development Authority Ltd.|
|Product type:||Ballistic Protection|
|Name:||Explosive reactive armour|
Israeli experience in the 1973 Middle East conflict showed that there was a requirement for increased protection of MBTs from Anti-Tank Guided Weapons (ATGWs) such as the then Soviet AT-3 'Sagger' and man-portable RPG-7, both of which have a High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead.
To meet this requirement the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority designed and developed the Blazer add-on Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA).
This was widely fitted to Israeli Army Centurion, M48A5, M60 and M60A1 tanks during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Blazer is jointly marketed by the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority and Israel Military Industries Ltd.
In recent years, the M60 series of MBTs of the Israeli Army have been fitted with passive armours of an advanced type that give a very high level of protection against both Kinetic Energy (KE) and Chemical Energy.
The Blazer ERA is mounted on the outside of the MBT and consists of Modular Protective Elements (MPEs) each of which contain one or more inserts filled with a specially formulated explosive compound sandwiched between two metal plates. The MPE is set at an oblique angle to the attack direction of the jet.
When the HEAT projectile reaches the MBT its highspeed jet initiates the explosive between the two plates and drives the plates aside. These moving plates perturb and eat the mass of the incoming jet which is then unable to achieve any significant penetration of the main tank armour.
Extensive trials have shown that the Blazer ERA is not activated by small arms fire, artillery or mortar shell fragments.
Blazer is custom designed to fit each specific type of tank and consists of MPEs of various configurations, determined by the thickness and obliquity of the tank's existing armour.
Blazer can be installed on any typical MBT and adds approximately 1,000 kg to the total weight of the vehicle. It is fitted by means of threaded bolts previously welded to the tank's hull and turret. Each MPE has flat eye brackets which fit over the bolts and are fixed by a nut. Each MPE is individually numbered and placed on a corresponding numbered location on the hull and on the turret.
The installation of Blazer on an MBT requires no specially trained personnel and is not atime consuming process. The retrofitting of Blazer involves only the welding of bolts to the hull turret at the indicated places.
In the Israeli Army, the welded bolts were seen on Centurion, M48A5 and M60A1 MBTs for some years before their actual role became apparent in 1982.
According to Israel Military Industries Ltd the Blazer add-on ERA provides the following protection:
Complete arrest of the AT-3 'Sagger' ATGW at 30° (NATO 60°) incidence.
Complete arrest of RPG-7 at all angles of attack (0° incidence).
Over 70 per cent of the frontal arc of the hull, Blazer provides complete protection against the AT-3 'Sagger' ATGW at all angles of attack.
The latest generation of Blazer is called Super Blazer. This is an advanced add-on armour kit which can be tailored for any type of MBT and is compatible with all operational requirements and all tank subsystems including optics, fire-control systems and guns.
Super Blazer provides enhanced protection not only against shaped charge munitions but also kinetic energy rounds.
Compatibility with MBT system: complete, this includes optics, fire control, machine guns and escape hatches Initiated by: shaped charge munitions
Not initiated by: small arms ammunition up to 23 mm API at all angles of attack from zero range. Artillery and mortar fragments from 2 m. Arc welding and autogen cutting
Sympathetic initiation: none
Military Specifications: passes all relevant tests of Mil-Spec 810C
In production. In service with the Israel Defence Force. Details of the ERA system developed by RAFAEL for the US Army Bradley are given later in this section under the USA. The Slovenian Army has recently upgraded its T-55 fleet to a new standard called the M-55 S1 which includes a new armour package supplied by RAFAEL. This provides protection from both KE and CE attack.