Intelligence Summary Report: Additional Armour for the T-64B, T-72 and T-80, 1986

The following brief report is a translation of a document prepared by 1 NL Corps G2, concerning the Soviet and Warsaw Pact armies, their equipment, order of battle and disposition. It is the first in a series of reports that will be presented in translated form on this site.

Armour T-64B, T-72, T-80

On newer Soviet tanks, an additional “armour” has been observed.
It concerns two different types:
- A possible rubber-like covering, observed on the T-64B and T-72.
- A reactive armour consisting of small explosive charges, observed on the T-64B and T-80.

The additional armour
The armour is applied to the turret, and the top and sides of the hull. The armour appears to consist of three layers and is fixed to the base armour by means of bolts and washers.
It appears to be a non-metal, possibly rubber-like covering of 25 to 30mm in thickness, leading to only a slight increase in weight.
Advantages of the additional armour could be:
- Increased protection against aerial attacks with shaped-charge projectiles
- Change of the heat signature and radar reflection, thus influencing terminal guidance of “smart” projectiles.

The reactive armour
This armour consists of box-shaped steel panels measuring approximately 260×130×65mm (on the T-64B), filled with explosives.
These boxes are attached to the front and top of the turret, the front of the hull and the sides/track skirts.
When struck, one or more boxes explode, negatively influencing the projectile’s penetration. This applies far more so to HEAT projectiles than to APDS munitions. It is assumed the armour does not react to fragmentation or small arms projectiles. On the T-80, the pattern and number of panels is somewhat different from the T-64B. A possible reason is the T-80’s increased base armour.
It is evident that both the additional armour and reactive armour offer increased protection. Exact information with regards to their influence on the penetrative capabilities of (anti-)tank projectiles in use with 1 LK [1 NL Corps] are at moment not available.