Russian Army Is Turning Armored Vehicles Into ‘Turtle Tanks’ to Protect Themselves From Ukrainian Drones

  • Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles having been targeting Russian tank turrets.

  • Russian army officials are using the metal shell of a T-72 armored vehicle to offer additional protection.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than two years. Drones have become a crucial part of the conflict during this time. In fact, the Ukrainian armed forces defending Kyiv, the country's capital, have used an unparalleled number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Although Ukraine possesses advanced drones, such as the “kamikaze” Switchblade, it’s the inexpensive drones, costing around $400, that seem to be making the biggest impact on the battlefield. According to Foreign Policy, these affordable drones have been responsible for destroying two-thirds of the Russian tanks that have been hit.

Turtle Tanks Enter the Scene

Moscow has responded to the situation by upgrading its tanks with some basic additions. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense shared images of what it's calling a “turtle tank,” which appears to be a T-72 armored vehicle fitted with a metal shell.

These “turtle tanks” are armored vehicles equipped with a large metal cage that protect the most vulnerable parts of the hull and turret from enemy drones. But why did the Russian army modify the T-72? This modification was necessary due to the threat posed by attacks using inexpensive drones, which can cause significant damage.

Ukrainian forces use commercial FPV-type drones, allowing operators to have an immersive first-person view, to carry out attacks. These UAVs can carry various types of explosive warheads and are typically used to crash into their targets.

Russia 1 Russian turtle tank in a minefield.

Drones take off from a location several miles away from the target and are controlled by operators supported by reconnaissance drones. When they detect a target, such as a tank, they aim for its most vulnerable parts, such as the hatch or turret, to explode its ammunition.

From what it looks like, the turtle tanks are designed to be less vulnerable to drone attacks from the Ukrainian side, which reportedly has an ammunition issue at the moment. However, they don’t provide effective protection against the large number of mines deployed in the conflict zone.

It’s also important to note that Russia operates long-range military drones as well as smaller, inexpensive drones. Soldiers are believed to launch attacks using Iranian-designed Shahed 136s, Russian-origin Orlan-10s, and Lanceta-3s, as well as commercial drones converted into attack drones.

Image | Ministry of Defence of Ukraine

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