Ukraine Weapons Tracker, a popular Twitter account that shares news and updates on the war in Ukraine, posted footage this week that showed Ukrainian troops using Polish tanks and Dutch military equipment. These armaments were supplied in recent rounds of aid to Ukraine.
“Fresh Western-supplied weapons continue to be used by new Ukrainian armored units- here we see UA forces using Polish T-72M1[R] tanks,” the account said, adding that Dutch YPR-765 armored personnel carriers were being used alongside the tanks as part of a training exercise.
What Is ERA?
The account also noted that the T-72M1[R] tanks were upgraded with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor, or ERA – a form of armor meant to protect vehicles against strikes from many kinds of missiles and explosives.
ERA is designed to react to explosives in a way that minimizes their impact on the structural integrity of a vehicle. It is commonly used in modern tanks and is designed to disperse the energy of an explosive strike radially outward.
ERA has to be adequately thick to do its job – and even when working properly, this kind of armor does not come without compromises. While the armor may better protect the tank, anybody around the tank can be seriously injured or killed by fragments breaking off the shell of the vehicle.
Kontakt-1 ERA consists of two elements made of plastic explosives and sandwiched between steel panels. When hit by an explosive missile, the explosive within the armor detonates, pushing away the armor and minimizing the impact of the blast on the vehicle itself.
More On T-72M1R Tanks
Poland committed earlier this year to provide more than 200 T-72 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. The tanks are a second-generation version of the Soviet-era MBT tank, which originally went into production in 1970. The modern tanks have been equipped with 7.62mm PKT machine guns. These come with 250 rounds of ready-use ammunition. An additional machine gun is mounted to the commander’s cupola.
#Ukraine: Fresh Western-supplied weapons continue to be used by new Ukrainian armoured units- here we see UA forces using Polish T-72M1[R] tanks (Which have been upgraded with Kontakt-1 ERA) and Dutch YPR-765 APCs together during training.pic.twitter.com/n7TwoayTl6
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 6, 2022
What is the YPR-765 APC?
The YPR-765 is a Dutch-tracked armored vehicle. It is used not only by the Dutch, but also by the Turkish and Philippine militaries. It is a modernized and improved version of a vehicle first introduced to the Dutch army in 1979. It is equipped with a 25mm gun and has room for a gunner, a driver, a vehicle commander, and eight infantry troops.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.