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Want to see the T-72B3's glacis armor construction?


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One got damaged, and BelowTheTurret Ring has the scoop.

https://below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com/2015/08/t-72b3-composite-armor-photo.html

While we're on the subject, here's some related info on theT-72B3 armor upgrades.

https://below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com/2017/04/russian-t-72b3-receive-armor-upgrades.html

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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Artkin,

Always happy to help. There's another good post covering spaced on the same site. Unfortunately, all the photos of the Russian tank armor array interiors have gone kablooie! the closest I got to this stuff during the Cold War was a drawing showing the T-72 cross section in a military magazine and a notification removing special security controls from siliceous cored armor, which was what the Gen One Abrams had. Before that, the drill was to put anything and everything in a damaged armor panel--mud, tarps, wood. You name it. Didn't really matter because Willy Brandt's key guy was a Russian agent! There's also the, ahem, minor matter that before the US built the M48, it was going to build the T95, which was an armor steel, glass, armor steel sandwich. The Russians found out and developed a HEAT round to defeat it. It was already obsolete (couldn't have been exported otherwise) by the 1967 War where some were captured by the Israelis. In turn, they sat on them until 1984 before, cough, graciously letting us have some. That was how it was discovered the round fired from a PT-76 could defeat the mighty Abrams head on. Yes, you read that correctly.

This little bombshell was dropped on around 200 intelligence analysts from various defense contractors at the "no notes" 1985 Soviet Threat Technology Conference (U), which was classified SECRET and a cherry on top. People gasped aloud over that, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone wet himself. That part was briefed by Dr. Joseph Backofen, arguably the SME for shaped charge. The whole event was a terrified CIA (Year of the Spy) telling us what it really knew about the threat situation in every subject area that mattered. A true horror story on the armor and anti-armor situation. They could kill us with impunity at battle ranges, but we couldn't kill them. Every AT system save Maverick and Hellfire was basically junk in a frontal engagement. The get well program cost us billions! Came back and wrote a 40 page report from memory deemed by the Operations Analysis department manager so sensitive (after he could finally function again; went white and had trouble breathing briefly) because of need to know that other than me, only his boss and he were allowed to read the whole thing. Others got to read only that which directly concerned them.

As a side note, I had spent a chunk of change for AH's MBT, which was so utterly disconnected from reality that the T-80 couldn't penetrate a Gen One Abrams from the hex directly in front of it! 250 meter hexes, I believe. Drafted an article for AH's The General, where a friend of mine worked, but my brutal GRU POV dissection of the game wasn't accepted for publication. By then, there had been over a year of people sounding off about the real world issues, to a high level of specificity, too.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler
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"after he could finally function again; went white and had trouble breathing briefly".

....really? really? rrreeeaaaaaallllllyy?

John your stuff is almost always interesting, but this kind of hyperbole often taints your posts with breathless, pointless, clickbait level, contrived  "Deh-RAMAmaaaaahhh!!!". For me, it weakens and undercuts your info and sometimes your arguments. 

TBC, I don't want this to feel like a Lets All Pile On Kettler starting point - I do appreciate your explorations and findings. But...I highly doubt people were, say, vomiting in the aisles upon hearing about Russian anti-armor advances. In my mind's eye, all I see is a low-lit room full of middle aged analysts, bureaucrats, mid-level political functionaries, flat-eyed weapons scientists and massively-bored military officers listening to interesting, maybe worrisome information that everyone in that room knows will simply spur near-future counter-research and stop-gap compensatory tactics. Maybe I'm wrong....

I don't want to sound aggressive, mean or belittling...It just feels that adding Oprah/Ellen/Cosmopolitan/Ru Paul/Fox News levels of unrealistically OTT reactions doesn't make your info read any stronger...to this uninformed couch potato peasant-soldier, at least.

Edited by kinophile
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10 hours ago, John Kettler said:

Always happy to help. There's another good post covering spaced on the same site. Unfortunately, all the photos of the Russian tank armor array interiors have gone kablooie! the closest I got to this stuff during the Cold War was a drawing showing the T-72 cross section in a military magazine and a notification removing special security controls from siliceous cored armor, which was what the Gen One Abrams had. Before that, the drill was to put anything and everything in a damaged armor panel--mud, tarps, wood. You name it. Didn't really matter because Willy Brandt's key guy was a Russian agent! There's also the, ahem, minor matter that before the US built the M48, it was going to build the T95, which was an armor steel, glass, armor steel sandwich. The Russians found out and developed a HEAT round to defeat it. It was already obsolete (couldn't have been exported otherwise) by the 1967 War where some were captured by the Israelis. In turn, they sat on them until 1984 before, cough, graciously letting us have some. That was how it was discovered the round fired from a PT-76 could defeat the mighty Abrams head on. Yes, you read that correctly.

I assume you mean M60 and not M48, since the M48 entered service in 1953 and design work on T95 didn't even begin until 1955?

Anyway.

Abrams did not and has not ever, to my knowledge, used silica-cored armor. Silica-cored armor is the hottest armor tech of 195X, hence why you find it on things like T95, the prototypes for M60 (but not the production model, due to cost issues), and T-64. By the late 70s, the hot new thing on the block was special armor such as Chobham, and the derived versions that the Germans used for Leopard 2 and the Americans used for Abrams. We know Abrams used special armor, because some of the relevant documents have been declassified and are available online.

The main part of the Abrams' special armor array is steel/rubber/steel "sandwich" NERA tiles, and in some places (like the turret side armor, depicted below) behind the sandwiches there are backing plates of steel and some unknown, possibly ceramic, material. This might be silica, but it could just as well be some other ceramic material or even some form of plastic for all we know.

maBCuTI.png

I also strongly doubt the idea that PT-76 could frontally defeat Abrams, since it was specifically designed to be proof against 5-inch HEAT warheads and Soviet 115mm APFSDS over the frontal arc: even MBT-70, its predecessor, had been protected against 3-inch HEAT warheads, such as the PT-76's BK-350M.

10 hours ago, John Kettler said:

A true horror story on the armor and anti-armor situation. They could kill us with impunity at battle ranges, but we couldn't kill them. Every AT system save Maverick and Hellfire was basically junk in a frontal engagement.

I am incredibly dubious of this claim.

The most common APFSDS round for M68-equipped US tanks in Germany is M833, and in M256-armed tanks is M829. Both of those two rounds would be able to reliably penetrate anything the Soviets can bring to bear at any point in 1985.

Going two years forward and backward for fun:

In 1983, the best round the US has is M774, which can kill anything the Soviets can put on the field, except possibly T-80A with its new turret. But those top-of-the line vehicles that might be able to survive M774 are still very much the minority: the bulk of the Soviet tank fleet remains older T-64s and T-72s, which are vulnerable to M774.

In 1987, things are somewhat different: M829 and M833 are still the main two US rounds in service. The new T-80U with Kontakt is basically impregnable to M833, and even M829 will have trouble with the ERA. Hence the development of M900 and M829A1.
However, as before, those vehicles are in the minority, and the bulk of the Soviet Army's armored forces are still trucking along in older T-64s and T-72s, which M829 and M833 are still fully adequate for dealing with.

Edited by Saint_Fuller
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kinophile,

That wasn't hyperbole. I thought the guy was having a heart attack, the blood did drain from his face, and it did take him a minute or two to regroup. It was brutal on all who read it. Nor did I ever say people were vomiting in the aisles at the conference. You have no idea what it was like to have the CIA, from which we contractors got almost nothing, ever, bring us all in and tell us, in excruciating detail, just how truly awful the situation was. And did I mention we also heard about Russian SFW (not good when you have far fewer tanks) and widely proliferated laser guided munitions, including artillery shells and rockets? As I said, they had us coming and going. Indeed, I later read the Russians figured they'd easily win a conventional war in Europe, but what kept them in check was the mighty US strategic hammer. That was also the view at the core of the KGB, as reported by mega defector Vasili Mitrokhin, the KGB's chief archivist, in The World Was Going Our Way.

There was no need for me to supply drama or employ hyperbole. The experience was traumatic to the attendees. I was there. Gasped and then couldn't breathe briefly.  I saw the shattered expressions, the destroyed confidence, the defeated postures. The place was like being at a really somber funeral. The people there had gone from stars in their fields to shells of themselves by the first break from the actual briefings. Our reality had been shattered, and we were dazed and in shock. The results of the 1984 Defense Science Board Summer study on Armor and Anti-Armor, of which we got a whiff at Hughes Missile Systems Group, home of TOW, Maverick and GBU-15 cruciform wing, was the handwriting on the wall and left long sad faces on my departmental superiors and others involved in TOW work. TOW was the linchpin of our defense, not only of Europe, but South Korea and elsewhere, too. We were deeply grateful Maverick was still effective.

The CIA conference was in 1985, and that's where we got the comprehensive nightmare story chapter and verse. Later, Armed Forces Journal reported live fire tests on a T-72 with ERA found even our experimental DU projectile was only marginally effective frontally, while the earlier non DU stuff was all but useless. In turn, the armor/anti-armor classified discoveries triggered the crash development of ITOW, TOW 2, TOW 2a and TOW 2b, also, the ODS star "silver bullet," as well as urgent effort to replace LAW (bought AT4) and the farcical Dragon (why we have Javelin).  Brother George was shown a TOW 2 when it was fielded and told "If you ever see one of these, it's war." He was in Blackhorse (2/11 ACR) right up near the IGB and commanded a Bradley CFV at the time. 

You can grouse all you like, but as Dad used to say, "Them's the facts."

Saint_Fuller,

Read the official Army removal from SAP status letter myself, which is where it explicitly said SAP controls no longer applied to using the term "siliceous core armor" for the Abrams. I take your point on the M60 matter. Got tangled up in the model numbers. Hunnicutt's first Abrams book has a great discussion on what the T95's armor array was going to be.

 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler
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2 hours ago, Saint_Fuller said:

I also strongly doubt the idea that PT-76 could frontally defeat Abrams, since it was specifically designed to be proof against 5-inch HEAT warheads and Soviet 115mm APFSDS over the frontal arc: even MBT-70, its predecessor, had been protected against 3-inch HEAT warheads, such as the PT-76's BK-350M.

Forgot to mention another item which was like being slugged. That was the discovery our standard static testing of Russian HEAT warheads was underestimating their penetration by as much as 40% compared to the case of the battlefield impact velocity. Their HEAT ammo was designed to take full advantage of that.

Regards,

John Kettler

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John, I'm not doubting the facts,, as you see/understand/experienced them. 

My "concern" such as it is, is more based on my particular, ib-person experience of various military, scientific and analyst type personalities (eg a BA Major, a weapons scientist for BAE SLCM division, a mil journal contributor (all men). From each of those I got the distinct impression of their calm, analytical methodical reactions to any and all situations.

Dramatic physiological reactions with laboured breathing seem pretty unlikely. 

But sure, it's possible. I guess we all have our own style,and yours is yours. 

Still... 

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I don't know if its meds, cycle of the moon, monthly hormones, etc. but the hyperbole and quantity of posts from JK periodically ramps up until it gets to the point where someone has to question what the heck is going on.  You can tell its heading for peak JK time when you have 50% of the latest ten posts are started by him.

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16 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

I don't know if its meds, cycle of the moon, monthly hormones, etc. but the hyperbole and quantity of posts from JK periodically ramps up until it gets to the point where someone has to question what the heck is going on.  You can tell its heading for peak JK time when you have 50% of the latest ten posts are started by him.

Hey my friend, please don't cross the line into personal attacks on John as you know too well from the C:MANO forums, it is bad form!

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This has been an ongoing issue with JK.  He spams the forums until someone finally steps up and says enough.  He doesn't get the subtle hints so it does have to be a little more direct.  Just trying to catch it before it goes too far and becomes more of a mess, as its very capable of doing.

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Then you haven't been around long enough.  If you really want to see some weird stuff, take a look at his old posts about 9/11 and government conspiracy theories he used to espouse.  He puts good stuff up now and then, but its the volume you have to sort through that kills it for me.  He should have his own sub-forum.

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Thewood1,

The past is irrelevant, for I am not posting on such matters and haven't for ages. I am in full compliance not only with the Forum Rules but with certain requests by Steve. You and a few people who have flouted the Rules for years INSIST on bringing up matters I am prohibited from doing, as many times stated, knowing full well I can't defend myself at all by citing any evidence. Frankly, I think that if I'm not allowed to bring up certain topics, then this should apply equally to those who keep discussing them, and they should bear any and all sanctions and punishments which would attach to me were I to do those things. As far as I'm concerned it's unfair and cowardly to do what you are doing, not to mention ungentlemanly and boorish behavior. Spamming is prohibited here, as are personal attacks, which very much seem where you are headed. Please stop. You are entitled to your own opinion, but please don't confuse it with facts!

Have been directly involved in a similar incident to what I described regarding events at the Soviet threat Technology conference, but this one was years earlier and at Hughes Missile Systems Group. Was working on a program called Anti-SUAWACS, which was a large passive homing missile designed to fly a long distance, home in on the Russian AWACs, then transitioning from a MOSS to a MAINSTAY (modified Il-76). Unfortunately, the program manager, a very successful big strapping guy, wasn't listening to what we kept trying to tell him about the true situation. The missile wasn't going to work at all, because it was being built with a frequency range utterly outside of what our ELINT showed was the real one. He kept blowing us off, pooh-poohing what we were trying to tell him, so one morning I was called over to the office of the colleague I've said was plugged into the CIA, and we walked down the hall to the recalcitrant program manager's office.

This time, we walked in , got an "Oh, it's you guys again," and it looked like he was already shut down to what we might say. This time, though, my colleague, without uttering a syllable, walked over, closed the door, went to the chalkboard and began a flurry of writing. It was row after row of alphanumeric and numeric information which gave the complete particulars proving what we'd been trying to get him to understand and respond to. As we watched the information go up, I could tell he understood it, and his response was strong and visceral. Like my boss at Rockwell, the blood drained from his face, he made a choking sound briefly and had to loosen his cinched up tie, too. What he'd read had staggered him, for his program was in ruins and required major rework. My colleague, who was an air-to-air section head to whom I reported, wordlessly thoroughly erased the board, opened the door and we left. Thereafter, when we told that program manager we needed to talk to him about threat intelligence, he listened. Make of that what you will, but I was there, silent as a proverbial tomb throughout. I couldn't believe this bear of a man could go from standing tall and supremely confident to pretty much wrecked and  pallid in a matter of a few seconds, and he was still recovering when we left.There certainly are people who don't respond the way I've described, but I've seen plenty who do and did. Have been left reeling by intelligence information myself, and it took me a couple of weeks to fully regroup in one instance.

We had people have severe to fatal responses to stress  when trying to win the AMRAAM proposal. We won it, but the program manager was out for four months following a heart attack immediately after that, another died, I believe, and a guy who looked like Santa had much of his intestines removed because he, a really jovial man, developed acute ulcerative colitis, which is a stress related illness that wrought havoc on my mother. My own dad had a heart attack himself in the midst of program insanity at the branch of Hughes where he worked, too. My Rockwell job toward the end turned my middle into a pretzel, and I was out a total of four months total in sick leave before I quit, my health in ruins, with delayed issues not yet in play. Military aerospace and defense work is a high stress demanding job that grinds people until there's nothing left. In my time, quite a few of my colleagues couldn't take it and left to do other jobs not in defense work. If you've not done it, you can't know.

 

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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