Kontakt-5 is a type of reactive armor third generation of Soviet origin. It is the first type of reactive armor capable of providing effective protection against ammunition APFSDS.Made up of "bricks" of explosive sandwiched between two sheets of metal, entered service in 1985 to equip the tank T-80U. The plates are arranged so as to move sideways rapidly when the explosive detonates. This causes two effects for the oncoming projectile. First, the penetration of HEAT rounds are greatly reduced since the projected plates disrupt the metallic jet penetrator of the HEAT round, effectively providing a greater path-length of the material to be penetrated. Secondly, the projected plates create a lateral yawing mechanism that deflects and break up any penetrator (typically, this effect is against long rod penetrators of anti-tank rounds; although this may contribute against shaped charges too). These effects significantly reduces the penetration of any round.
The shielding effectiveness of Kontakt-5 was confirmed in tests, which were conducted by the Bundeswehr German and U.S. Army. The Germans had the Kontakt-5 mounted on tanks T-72 and Pentagoncorrespondent Leland Ness confirmed that "when applied to T-72 tanks, the heavy reactive armor made them immune to the APFSDS made of DU fired by 120 mm guns of U.S. tanks M1 Abrams (which were among the most formidable tank shells at the time). "This applies, of course, only when the projectile hits the reactive armor, which only covers 60% of the frontal aspect of a T-72 in which it is mounted.
Newer piercing rounds, such as the M829A2, M829A3, M829E4 round made by U.S., have been improved to overcome the design of Kontakt-5 (although it is also made improvements to Kontakt-5, see T-84 and T-90.) The M829A2 was the immediate response, developed in part to confront the new "heavy ERA bricks. The M829A3 incorporates further improvements and is designed to meet future armor protection methods. In response to the M829A3. However, the new Relikt ERA, Russia's most modern reactive ERA is being claimed to have twice the protection of the older Kontakt-5 ERA.
The Kontakt-5 ERA is used by Russia, Ukraine, and India.
The Kontakt-5 has been superseded by newer Kaktus ERA that is only seen on prototype tanks such as Chyorny Oryol.
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