Kontakt-5 ERA

Kontakt-5 turret array
Kontakt-5 turret array
The Kontakt-5 EDZ is the explosive reactive armour (ERA) currently installed on Russian MBTs. It is often referred to as 2nd generation, heavy-duty, or integral ERA.

Where the conventional ERAs are only capable of defeating shaped-charge jets, Kontakt-5 can also defeat APFSDS rounds. Because of Kontakt-5, long-rod penetrators can lose over 30% of their penetration potential and the protected vehicle becomes immune to them.

This type of ERA can be easily recognized as it gives the vehicle outfitted with it a distinct 'clam-shell' appearance.

It is believed that while protected by Kontakt-5 ERA, Russian MBTs cannot be penetrated across the frontal arc by the M256 guns firing M829A1 APFSDS ammo.

In addition, thanks to their heavier (15 mm hard steel) front plate, the Kontakt-5 elements are harder to trigger by the precursor charges of tandem warheads, forcing the producers of tandem ATGMs to allocate more mass to precursor charge and, making an MBT more resistant to tandem HEAT warheads, as well.

Spent Kontakt-5
The second section from the right is spent. Notice lack of damage to the Kontakt-5 outer shell
It is very important to note that while light ERA containers are completely destroyed in the process of detonation, Kontakt-5 sections are not, as their detonation is contained by the outside armor plates. Therefore even after detonation Kontakt-5 sections continue to provide some applique protection.

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This armor package is developed by NII Stali (Research Institute of Steel), the leading Russian developer of applique protection packages; Russian Federation pat. No 2064154 from 27.05.92.

T-90 turret closeup
Specifications:
Package mass:           3 t
Added protection, RHA rating (as stated by NII Stali):
vs APFSDS:              250 mm
vs HEAT:                600 mm

For those who wish to know more about the principles of reactive armour operation, and about Kontakt-5 in particular, there is an excellent article about ERAs by Robb McLeod.