Kontakt-5 is a type of third-generation explosive reactive armour (ERA) originating in the Soviet Union. It is the first type of ERA which is effectively able to defeat modern armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds. The protection value of Kontakt-5 package is known as 120 mm of steel armor equivalent against APFSDS and 500 mm steel equivalent against HEAT.
Introduced on the T-80U tank in 1985, Kontakt-5 is made up of "bricks" of explosive sandwiched between two metal plates. The plates are arranged in such a way as to move sideways rapidly when the explosive detonates. This will force an incoming kinetic energy penetrator or shaped charge jet to cut through more armour than the thickness of the plating itself, since "new" plating is constantly fed into the penetrating body. A kinetic energy penetrator will also be subjected to powerful sideways forces, which might be large enough to cut the rod into two or more pieces. This will significantly reduce the penetrating capabilities of the penetrator, since the penetrating force will be dissipated over a larger volume of armour.
Newer KE penetrators like the US M829A2, and now M829A3, have been improved to defeat the armor design of Kontakt-5. The M829A2 was the immediate response. The M829A3 is a further improvement of this as well.
Relikt was designed by the Russian army in response to the new developments. Relikt is the most modern Russian ERA, and is claimed to be twice as effective as Kontakt-5. It detonates on command before the round hits based on information from radar. It can be installed on T-72B and T-90 tanks and adopted in 2006. As of 2013, only the T-72BM 'Rogatka' introduced in 2006 has Relikt ERA. The Russian Army T-90AM main battle tank (MBT), and the future Russian T-99 Universal Combat Platform will incorporate Relikt. Developed by NII Stali, Relikt utilizes a completely new composition of explosives to achieve dynamics protection. Unlike Kontakt-5, it works equally reliably against both low-velocity and high-velocity missiles, doubling protection against shaped charges and increasing anti-tank guided missile protection by 50 percent. Relikt defends against tandem warheads and reduces penetration of APFSDS rounds by over 50 percent.
Ideas have been drawn up for a new type of ERA called Kaktus which has been developed, although it has yet to be deployed.
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