• Wednesday, March 20, 2019

ERA - Next Big Step in Armor Technology?

Discussion in 'Land Warfare' started by DavidSling, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. DavidSling

    DavidSling SENIOR MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2013
    +5 / 4,550 / -5
    We all know the deal. ERA was invented and put to use in the early 80's just in time for the 1982 Lebanon War, and it was pioneered by German scientist Manfred Held who started work on it as early as the mid to late 60's, developing it jointly with Israeli company RAFAEL for a final product dubbed "Blazer" in English, and "Baltan" in Hebrew.
    Simultaneously, the USSR was developing their own ERA called Kontakt-1 which proved to be somewhat more effective than Held's and RAFAEL's Blazer.

    Back in the 80's it was considered revolutionary. It gave old tanks equipped only with steel armor a fighting chance against enemies equipped with ATGMs that would otherwise nullify the effectiveness of their steel armor.
    Today, however, ERA is relegated to either beefing up areas that MBTs can't really up-armor (and even then many choose NERA/NxRA types of armor), or medium weight AFVs that don't really invest much of their weight into armor.

    This new invention can bring back the glory days of ERA, if it picks up, and what's mind boggling about it is that it is such a simple and elegant solution that I really have no idea how none has thought of it yet.

    IBD Deisenroth Engineering unveiled in this years EUROSATORY exhibition their newest member in their long line of protection systems - The SMART PROTech.


    The concept is as follows:
    The center piece contains pressure sensors that can pinpoint the impact location.
    Two launchers located above and below the impact point are activated upon impact, and fire over a wide area to defeat even tandem warheads that so far were the achilles heel of non-heavy ERA.
    Fragments from the launchers will in theory impact an area large enough to ensure the entire missile is defeated, and because its passive activation does not enable it to pinpoint the main warhead's location as APS would.

    Jane's also report that the SMART PROTech system can be optimized to defeat long rod penetrators, i.e APFSDS, which became a less prominent threat today than it was during the Cold War, but is nonetheless a crucial aspect to take into account as the new trend in proxy warfare is hybrid combat units, who are non-state-actors that possess state-actor weaponry, and may be organized in a quasi-military fashion. As such, the chances of armor on armor engagements grow by the day, many already happening in Ukraine and Syria for example.

    It is important to note that only one launcher will activate at a time, meaning the SMART-PROTech system can defeat at least two threats impacting the same location, although unlike IBD's ADS which operates in a similar manner but uses active sensors and is classified as an APS, two blocks cannot overlap in their protective zones because the sensors are completely passive.


    But it's not a problem. This system is not an APS, thus it is a whole lot cheaper than one, making it accessible to many potential users, while giving them an almost APS-like protection.

    What is sure, is that while this system is currently overlooked, perhaps because of many other big innovations in Eurosatory 2018, it is a genuinely innovative idea that can probably easily outclass any kind of existing ERA.

    One additional aspect worth noting, is that it can play well into the concept of layered APS.

    As the area of air defense progressed all around the world, many countries looked into beefing up their air defense coverage not only by improving a certain air defense system, but by augmenting them with MORE systems, covering different sorts of ranges and altitudes, or even ones for similar ranges but with specialized flight and defeat characteristics to defeat different types of targets better.

    The same will eventually happen to vehicle-borne APS, and countries will seek to develop different APS that have differing levels of complexity, range, and limited sets of targets to maximize a networked array's efficiency.

    IBD's SMART PROTech system can definitely fit into the category of low end APS, having the lowest level of sophistication and complexity, but with great effect, allowing it to serve as a low tier APS, while longer range systems such as launcher-based ones, or laser-based, will take on the longer range threats.


    Ariel Zuk at 10:02 PM

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