|Manufacturer:||Shahid Kolah Dooz Industrial Complex|
|Product type:||Ballistic Protection|
|Name:||Explosive reactive armour|
In late 1996, it was revealed that Iran had developed an Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) system which could be fitted to new and existing armoured fighting vehicles to improve their battlefield survivability against attack by Chemical Energy (CE) and Kinetic Energy (KE) attack over the frontal arc.
The Iranian ERA package is very similar to that currently manufactured for the home and export market by the Russian Federation and Associated States and this also provides protection from both CE and KE attack. First-generation RFAS ERA only provided protection against CE attack.
This Iranian ERA system, which it is understood has not entered volume production so far, is manufactured by the Shahid Kolahdoz Industrial Complex and during trials stopped the main armour of an undisclosed MBT being penetrated by an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) fitted with a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead.
The Iranian armour comprises one composite layer that provides protection against KE and CE charges and an additional energetic material layer (explosive) that has the ability to protect against CE projectiles.
The complete ERA package consists of a number of small blocks which are attached to the MBT, typically on the glacis plate, nose, frontal part of the turret and skirting.
TheT-72 ERA turret package weighs a total of 416 kg while the hull front (glacis plate and nose) package weighs 281 kg and the hull side (skirts) package weighs 494 kg. This gives a total weight of 1,191 kg.
When allowing for spaces for the sighting systems, main and secondary armament, between 60 and 65 per cent of the turret front is protected by the ERA while for the hull front it is between 70 and 80 per cent and for the hull sides 60 to 62 per cent.
According to the Iranian manufacturer, this ERA package is applicable to any type of MBT, for example T-55, T-72 and T-80 with some modifications of the attachment assembly.
Main advantages have been summarised as low weight, low cost, high level of protection, easy to install and maintain, waterproof and cannot be activated by gas arc welding and cutting.
The ERA packages will not detonate if dropped from a height of 5 m, give complete safety from small arms fire up to 30 mm in calibre, cannot be activated by grenades, are resistant to attack by napalm incendiary mixtures and provide safety from attack by 125 mm High-Explosive (HE) projectile fragments at ranges of less than 10 m.
Iran is now manufacturing the Russian T-72S export MBT under licence and this is also fitted with explosive reactive armour. It is possible that the Iranian explosive reactive armour system described here is linked to the Russian explosive reactive armour system.
Development complete. Ready for production. There are no known exports of this armour system.