Volunteers Upgrade Ukrainian Tanks, Save Soldiers' Lives

Format mpeg4, Bitrate 21.925 mbps

Date: September 8, 2014
Location: Sloviansk, Ukraine
Length: 3:51

When a shaped charge penetrates the armour of a vehicle, there is a massive build-up of heat that burns through the armour and threatens to kill the crew. Shaped charge protection prevents the round penetrating the vehicle armour and triggers the explosion outside the vehicle, in which case, the vehicle is likely to remain combat ready. A resident of Vinnitsa Oblast, Leonid, organized a team of volunteer welders after seeing his fellow countrymen die in conflict. He lead the team to Sloviansk where they are installing shaped charge protection onto Ukrainian combat vehicles.

Myroslav Gai from Kiev served in the National Guard of Ukraine as a volunteer and took part in the ground action in Sloviansk. After being rotated out, he organised a charity to provide aid to servicemen and refugees. Donations from people around the region have been used to buy the necessary materials for Leonid’s team of welders to manufacture and mount the shaped charge protection. Myroslav and Leonid’s objective is to equip 100 armoured vehicles with the potentially life-saving cage.

A craftsman cuts the metal bars.
A craftsman takes measurements for the protective screens.
Craftsmen welding.
A craftsman demonstrates the mechanical window in the shaped charge protection.
Craftsmen assemble the shaped charge protection screen.
Craftsmen install the shaped charge protection.

Myroslav, former National Guard serviceman
“The shaped charge protection screen. In simple terms – it is a metal cage encircling the armoured vehicle, which traps the charge, for example a rocket from a RPG (handheld launcher).”

“An incoming RPG charge explodes and burns out between the cage and main armour. The crew, therefore, survives.”

Leonid, professional welder
“After losing some of our fellow countrymen, who burned alive because shaped charges hit their armoured vehicles, we decided to create a shaped charge protection. We did all the designing, manufacturing and testing. The live fire test revealed that the armour on the vehicle stays intact.”

Myroslav, former National Guard serviceman
“The main thing is that these folks can install the protection in the field. There are not many people who would agree to go to a military base, where military action could start at any time.”

Leonid, professional welder
“Every protective cage is being welded independently, after which they are all put together and bolted as a single structure. Afterwards, they are welded strongly to the armoured vehicle.”

Myroslav, former National Guard serviceman
“Our target is to fix the protection to as many armoured vehicles as possible, since the Ukrainian army has only a limited quantity of such vehicles and those get destroyed in combat, along with the people in them.”

Leonid, professional welder
“In a very short period of time we installed the protection onto seven armoured vehicles. At the same time, we install protective screens and repair the vehicles damaged in action.”

Myroslav, former National Guard serviceman
“We have managed to collect significant amounts of money through donations. Only the materials used in manufacturing the protection for one vehicle is 24,000 UAH. Leonid thanks God and will take money only to reimburse the materials. The real costs are paying craftsmen’s hours and transportation, which we can’t afford. Therefore, their assistance is appreciated.”

Leonid, professional welder
“I receive many text messages from the army unit for which we installed the protection screens. As a rule, I receive them at night. In the morning, my phone is bursting with the phone calls: ‘Thank you so much, uncle Lyonya. We got entrapped and shelled, but all are alive.’ Such gratitude is the most valuable thing I ever encountered in my life.”