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A distinctive feature of Russian military vehicles, the overhead metal screens known as ‘cope cages,’ has now made its appearance on Indian Army’s T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) deployed in forward areas near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly close to the Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin region. These improvised additions, initially seen on Russian armor just before their extensive invasion of Ukraine in late 2021, have become a significant addition to armored vehicles and are something Russia is eager to market to foreign clients closely monitoring developments in the Ukraine conflict.

The ‘cope cages’ serve as a response to the evolving threats that armored vehicles face on modern battlefields, where unconventional tactics and weaponry have gained prominence. As the conflict in Ukraine persists, these solutions continue to evolve and adapt. Furthermore, the rapid proliferation of loitering munitions, commercially available bomblet-dropping drones, and first-person video kamikaze drones has driven military forces across the globe to find ways to counter these threats effectively.

The Russian ‘cope cage’ designs, whether integrated into new vehicles or retrofitted onto existing ones, offer an appealing solution to nations that remain customers of Russia’s robust weapons industry. Notably, these additions are relatively cost-effective, making them an economically accessible asset for many military forces. Their effectiveness may vary in different scenarios, but even psychologically, they offer a sense of protection and reassurance.

The introduction of ‘cope cages’ on Indian T-72MBTs is a testament to the dynamic nature of modern warfare. As nations adapt to emerging threats, they are embracing innovative solutions, even if they originate from different parts of the world. This adaptation showcases the Indian Army’s commitment to enhancing the safety and effectiveness of its armored assets in high-stakes regions.

The ‘cope cages’ are not merely a physical defense but also symbolize the importance of addressing unconventional and asymmetric threats in contemporary conflict scenarios. As global militaries observe and learn from ongoing conflicts, solutions like the ‘cope cages’ represent a pragmatic response to the changing nature of warfare, where adaptability and resilience are crucial.

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