Country of origin
Number of launchers
Drozd (trush) was a Soviet active protection system. This
type of weapons is also known as hard-kill protection systems. It
was designed to provide additional protection for tanks against
incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles.
mid 1960s Soviets began development of active protection systems in
order to improve protection of their tanks. Mass production of the
Drozd protection system commenced in 1982.
tank to use this system was a T-55AD. It was the first tank in the
world to be fitted with such kind of protection system. It was
adopted in 1983.
active protection system had a radar. It detected incoming threats
at a range of over 150 m from the vehicle and triggered special 107 mm High Explosive Fragmentation
(HE-FRAG) munitions. This 107 mm munition operated in
a broadly similar manner as a buckshot. Missiles and rockets were
destroyed at a range of 6.6 m form the tank. Even if incoming
rocket or missile was not destroyed, a blast could set it off
course. The Drozd could intercept rockets and missiles traveling at
a maximum speed of up to 700 m/s.
A total of 8
launchers with these special defensive munitions were mounted on the
outer edges of the turret. The system operated automatically without
the input from the tank crew. The Drozd system covered the front arc
of the tank well, however it could not
provide a 360 degree coverage. Also this system was not
effective against top attack anti-tank weapons or anti-tank
munitions launched from buildings and rooftops. Soviets considered that the Drozd
system has a 70% probability of hit ratio against incoming anti-tank
missiles and rockets. However the Drozd had no effect against
kinetic energy munitions, such as armor-piercing sabot rounds.
had a brief reaction time and could protect the tank against
multiple incoming threats. The second defensive munition could be
launched in 0.35 s after the first one.
Major drawback of
this system is that it had a kill zone of at least 25 meters in
front of the tank. If activated defensive munitions are dangerous to
supporting infantry in front of the tank. When the system was
activated, a special light turned on. It warned the infantry to keep
away from the tank.
system added 1 000 kg to the tank weight. External Drozd components
on the tank, including the launchers, were protected from 12.7 mm
heavy machine gun fire and artillery shell splinters.
a total of 258 of the T-55AD tanks were built. Production of the
Drozd system ceased in around 1988. At the time Soviets signed an
arms reduction treaty, which involved the T-55AD tanks.
In the early
1990s, after collapse of the Soviet Union, most of these tanks
(some sources mention around 250 units) ended up in Ukraine. Most of
these were eventually scrapped. Some Drozd systems were removed and
refitted on the Ukrainian
Russians successfully tested the Drozd system on lightly armored
vehicles. It turned out that this active protection system could be
also used to protect lightly armored vehicles. In 1998 a Drozd
system was mounted on some Russia's
A single T-55AD
tank with Drozd active protection system was transferred from
Ukraine to the United States for trials and examination.
the Drozd paved the way for a number of other active protection
systems. In the 1980s and 1990s Russians were ahead of the world in
terms of active protection system technology. Other countries had no
equivalent systems for their main battle tanks. However eventually
other countries caught up and introduced various active protection
systems. Many of them outperformed the Russian ones.
Recently Russians developed a new Afganit active protection
system for their
main battle tank. In concept this protection system is similar to
Drozd-1 was an
improved version of the Drozd, specially designed for the
tanks. Its development began in 1984. It successfully passed initial
trials in 1989. However due to funding problems development of this
system was stopped and it was never adopted.
Drozd 2 was
an improved version of the Drozd. It can intercept missiles and
rockets traveling at a maximum speed of 1 200 m/s. It intercepts
targets at a range of 7-10 m from the vehicle. This system had
modular design and could be mounted on various tanks, armored
vehicles and even stationary assets. Once mounted on the tank it
offers a claimed 80-90% of hit probability against incoming
anti-tank missiles and rockets.