I impulse bought this on sprue brothers last week and it arrived yesterday. I honestly couldn’t beat the $35 deal it was so i took a chance. Can anyone tell me more about the drozd system, i have a T-55 book back in Georgia but I’m no where near it at as I’m in Arizona for work. I see that there are two patterns for the kit, one is a unique blue and green camo which I’m assuming is naval infantry and the other is a regular green with what i believe is May Day celebration insignias. Any help would be welcomed.
The 1030M Drozd (thrush) was a Soviet active protection system. This type of weapon is also known as hard-kill protection systems. It was designed to provide additional protection for tanks against incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles.
Since the 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.
The first 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.
The Drozd 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.
This system 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.
The whole 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.
However only 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 T-80UD, T-84 and Oplot tanks.
In 1993 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 T-80 main battle tanks.
A single T-55AD tank with Drozd active protection system was transferred from Ukraine to the United States for trials and examination.
Eventually 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 Armata main battle tank. In concept this protection system is similar to the Drozd.
@SSGToms thank you, the reading i could find on it said that some were used in Afghanistan but eventually the army lost interest in the system and the naval infantry picked up on it because T-55s were light enough to conduct amphibious ops with.
Essentially the drozd from what you’ve told me is the precursor to the trophy system. Thank you once again, I’m hoping to see some camo schemes or new decal sets so that i can paint this kit for a future diorama.
@SableLiger do you know if there are any pics of these being sued in Afghanistan. I read that they were but haven’t found anything yet?
I have an HO (1/87) scale kit of the T-55 with those launchers, didn’t know what they were!
Probably a Roco Minitanks.
I don’t think the T-55AS was in Afghanistan; the Soviets had T-55AMs, along with T_62s, but none with that APS.
@SableLiger interesting maybe the article i read was wrong, it sounded as if they had used a few on convoy duty.
No, it’s a more modern kit by SDV Model in the Czech Republic. Their stuff is actually pretty good.
First time I hear about a T-55AS, just was aware of T-55AD resp. AD-1 with changes at the engine. Maybe an AMD would make sence because of the improved FCS and protection of the ‘M-line’, like T-55M / T-55AM.
AFAIK, the picture in Dan’s post is from South Caucasus (1990)…