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 Reactive Armor (WIP)

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PostSubject: Reactive Armor (WIP)   Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:58 pm

Reactive armor is a type of vehicle armor that reacts in some way to the impact of a weapon to reduce the damage done to the vehicle being protected. It is most effective in protecting against shaped charges and long rod penetrators. The most common type is explosive reactive armor (ERA), but variants include self-limiting explosive reactive armor (SLERA), non-energetic reactive armor (NERA), non-explosive reactive armor (NxRA), and electric reactive armor. Unlike ERA and SLERA, NERA and NxRA modules can withstand multiple hits, but a second hit in exactly the same location will still penetrate.

Essentially all anti-tank munitions (with the exception of HESH) work by piercing the armor and killing the crew inside, disabling vital mechanical systems, or both. Reactive armor can be defeated with multiple hits in the same place, as by tandem-charge weapons, which fire two or more shaped charges in rapid succession. Lacking these weapons, emulating this effect is difficult as it requires either precision artillery, close-quarter use of either shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons or adhesive explosives such as satchel charges.


Non-explosive and non-energetic reactive armor
NERA and NxRA operate similarly to explosive reactive armor, but without the explosive liner. Two metal plates sandwich an inert liner, such as rubber. When struck by a shaped charge's metal jet, some of the impact energy is dissipated into the inert liner layer, and the resulting high pressure causes a localized bending or bulging of the plates in the area of the impact. As the plates bulge, the point of jet impact shifts with the plate bulging, increasing the effective thickness of the armor. This is almost the same as the second mechanism that explosive reactive armor uses, but it uses energy from the shaped charge jet rather than from explosives.

Since the inner liner is not explosive itself, the bulging is less energetic than on explosive reactive armor, and thus offers less protection than a similarly-sized ERA. However, NERA and NxRA are lighter and completely safe to handle (and safe for nearby infantry), can theoretically be placed on any part of the vehicle, and can be packaged in multiple spaced-out layers if necessary. A key advantage of this kind of reactive armor is that it cannot be defeated via tandem warhead shaped charges, which employ a small forward warhead to detonate ERA before the main warhead fires.


Electric reactive armor
Also known as electromagnetic reactive armor, or colloquially as electric armor. This armor is made up of two or more conductive plates separated by some space or by an insulating material, creating a high-power capacitor. In operation, a high-voltage power source charges the armor. When an incoming body penetrates the plates, it closes the circuit to discharge the capacitor, dumping a great deal of energy into the penetrator, which may vaporize it or even turn it into a plasma, significantly diffusing the attack. It is not public knowledge whether this is supposed to function against both kinetic energy penetrators and shaped charge jets, or only the latter. This technology has not yet been introduced on any known operational platform.
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