Bradleys in Ukraine to Receive Ukrainian Drone Protection Kit

Ukrainian steel firm Metinvest is developing a first-person view drone protection kit for the Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) operational in the country.

Initial samples of the “protective screen” will be sent for testing in about a week followed by user feedback, Metinvest COO Oleksandr Myronenk revealed in an interview with Priamyi.

“Once we receive feedback from the military, we will be able to scale up production and equip the Bradleys that are currently operating in Ukraine,” a translated transcript of the interview stated.

‘Insufficiently’ Protected 

Originally developed for Soviet-era Ukrainian tanks about a year and half ago, the screen is required for the American Abrams tanks and Bradleys IFVs, as they have been found “insufficiently” tailored to the latest challenges of modern warfare, Myronenk said.

Ukraine lost dozens of Bradleys and at least five of 31 Abrams sent by the US on the battlefield, partly to weaponized, first-person view drones.

According to Metinvest’s Myronenk, the US platforms were previously deployed in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq where drones weren’t a factor, unlike in Ukraine.

“For this reason, the Americans did not have experience protecting tanks from such drone attacks,” he explained.

“While their equipment is more modern than Soviet-era vehicles, it also has certain shortcomings and is quite vulnerable to drones. So, it also requires additional protection to ensure battlefield survivability.”

Drone Protection Kit 

Meanwhile, the US Army announced in May that it received funding to deliver the next-generation M2A4E1 Bradley variant to Ukraine, featuring the “Iron Fist Active Protection System, improved High Definition Forward Looking Infrared Gunner’s Sight, and an Environmental Control Unit to prevent heat stress for dismounts.” 

However, the Iron Fist offers protection mainly against anti-tank missiles

An Abrams drone protection kit is produced in about 10 days, while that for the Soviet tanks takes three days.

Made of steel produced by Metinvest, it completely envelops the turret, engine compartment, and openings, and requires about 12 hours to install on a tank.

A Bradley M2A4E1 Fighting Vehicle is seen stationed at a grassy area with thin trees in the back. The vehicle is a tracked armored unit that is painted grayish green. Its turret points northeast, and its body is facing to the right side of the image. Its model name is painted in white on its right side, with a gray and red background.
The M2A4E1 is touted as the “most modern and survivable version” of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Photo: US Army Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems

Increases Survivability by 40 Percent 

According to the manufacturer, the screen increases the battlefield survivability of tanks against drone strikes by 30 to 40 percent.

It also protects the crew compartment, increasing the survivability of the crew upon tank damage.

The kit can withstand drone and anti-tank guided missile strikes with recoverable damage. However, it does not provide protection against direct hits by artillery or tank shells.

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