Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)

Prelims

Explosive Reactor Armour ERA

Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)  is an add-on armour designed to offer additional protection to tanks

Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) developed by DRDO  and has mastered varieties of techniques in the areas of propellants, high explosives, pyrotechnics, polymers, etc. Development of ERA was altogether a new area, a challenging task. DRDO has accomplished this task successfully with totally indigenous efforts.

This has placed DRDO on the world map of armour developers, a note of which has been taken by pioneer institutes like RAFAEL of Israel, Euromissile of France, etc.

ERA panel mounted on tank

Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) is an add-on armour designed to offer additional protection to tanks against shaped charge warheads of modern antitank guided missiles (ATGMs).

Over the last two decades, DRDO has developed expertise in this vital technology and has a large database of various designs of ERA.

Responding to user requirements of providing additional protection to tank, DRDO has developed an ERA system, which effectively reduces penetration of Milan 2 shaped charge warhead to the extent of 70 per cent.

The ERA developed by DRDO is a sandwich of explosive and metal plates.

The panels of ERA are assembled in metallic containers. When the jet of a shaped charge warhead hits ERA panel, explosive in it detonates. As a result, the plates are accelerated and start moving outward in normal direction. The moving plates and the detonaters render the jet ineffective which loses its penetration capability.

Based on RDX, a special type of sheet explosive has also been developed for ERA.This sheet explosive is waterproof.

It is not cap sensitive and also quite insensitive to frition, impact and heat. However, it gets initiated by a shaped-charge jet.

ERA panel
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Salient Features

  • Effectively reduces the penetration of warheads of modern ATGMs
  • Immune to detonation against small arms ammunition and artillery shell fragments
  • No sympathetic detonation of neighbouring panels when one panel explodes
  • Minimum collateral damage
  • The weight penalty is kept to the minimum about 1.5 ton per tank
  • No initiation by arc welding or by accidental drops
  • Tank mobility and manoeuvrability not compromisis
  • Functions with equal efficiency even after deep fording by the tank
  • Operational temperature ranges from 20 oC to +55 oC

The technology is totally indigenous, possesses high contemporary innovation element and has made the nation self-reliant in this vital field of military importance.

It has saved foreign exchange by eliminating the necessity to import of this technology (estimated cost of ERA kit for one tank in foreign countries is around Rs 48 lakhs), and even has export potential. Being indigenous, the technology can be modified/upgraded with some efforts to meet similar other and futuristic requirements.

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