Bizarre ‘Turtle Tank’ Appears In Ukraine With Shell Covering It Nearly Completely (Updated)

We have never seen a ‘cope cage’ like this, which is basically a steel shed built around the tank.

byTyler Rogoway|
Russia cope cage like none other.
Via X


Innovation moves at absolutely breakneck speed during a time of war. The more desperate the fight, the more experimentation is accelerated. Some of these creations can be revolutionary, some can be incremental successes, but the majority are total failures. And, yes, many of them can be pretty damn weird. Case in point, this turtle shell-like contraption that just showed up on the battlefield in Ukraine — a shed-like steel apparatus that covers the entire Russian tank concealed beneath it. This early ironclad-looking vehicle is a product of a desperate search for a defense against marauding first-person video (FPV) drones that have been raining hellfire on both sides of the front lines.

Next to nothing is known about this modification, but what's clear is that it covers nearly the entire tank and massively restricts its situational awareness, field of fire, and mobility while installed.

After the initial drone footage of the tank moving along with a convoy first emerged, close-up footage of it in a garage surfaced, which shows a crude trapezoidal steel structure with its tacked-on supports. It isn't clear if netting or chain link fencing was installed at its front and rear after this was shot, but it would make sense considering its intended use. The tank has a mine plow, which could have been why it was picked for this modification, as de-mining operations activity slows down the vehicle, which also leads the way for other armor. This would make it the top target for enemy drones.

This appears to be the current extreme evolution of the 'cope cage' that first appeared shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, the threat from lower-end drones, both FPV types and those that drop bomblets from above, has absolutely exploded in magnitude and frequency. The once improvised cope cages on tanks are now being seen on other types of armor in increasingly complex configurations. They are also showing up around the world, including in Israel, and factory production versions of them are becoming export options for some armor types. They also appear to be popping up on very different kinds of non-armored vehicles, possibly including submarines.

The advent of highly maneuverable FPV suicide drones has resulted in the aforementioned larger and more elaborate cages, as the drones can fly at shallow angles under the cages and even into vehicle hatches and doors. This latest configuration goes a long way in limiting the ability of such drones to make an easy attack, but in doing so, it makes the tank largely useless and possibly a bigger liability than an asset.

It's hard to imagine there can be anything more elaborate than this when it comes to improvised armor focused on countering low-end drones, but there is always something even more bizarre waiting around the corner, at least as long as this horrific war continues.


It looks like the Turtle Tank may have had a very short life:

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