Saturday, March 28, 2015

Syrian Army Republican Guard armour upgrades

(Damascus) As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention and is perfectly exemplified in Syria where the locals have upgraded their armour in which to give them that extra layer of protection from the ubiquitous RPG. The Syrian Army Republican Guard uses the T-72M1, the export version of the T-72A, which ironically came about after the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the combat d├ębut of the T-72 against Israeli M60s. After the battle, the Russians upgraded the frontal armour of the T-72 by increasing the armour on the turret by including cavities which they filled with sand. This version became known to the Americans as 'Dolly Patton Armour'. Anyway, Syria has found that in close quarters its T-72 tanks don't fare well against rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and so they have been retrofitting them with Slat/Bar armour as seen used by the US in Iraq. Here is what a Syrian T-72M1 looks like in its natural state:

And here is how they are looking today:

Happy with the above, the Syrians decided to upgrade their bulldozers:

The above example was used by the Syrian army in Jobar to transport troops and clear minefields until it was disabled last December by multiple RPG hits. It was then destroyed by the rebels who dug a tunnel under it and placed a large charge underneath it.

The next vehicle to receive the slat and additional armour upgrade was the ZSU 23-4, a thin skinned anti-aircraft weapon system which was designed to operate in safe areas but has found new life as the perfect building clearing weapon by dint of its 4 23mm cannons. However, its thin armour is as effective as a chocolate fire-guard. Here is what it usually looks like:

Hat-tip to the nice fellows at Oryx Blog from where I got the above.