Understanding Cope Cages: From Origins to Standardisation is a report by Julien Potin for the European Army Interoperability Centre.

Tank warfare continues to captivate online enthusiasts, driven by a longstanding cultural fascination with heavy armor. Recent events from the Russo-Ukrainian War, especially the incident where two Ukrainian-operated US-supplied Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) reportedly disabled a Russian T-90M tank, have sparked renewed interest in armored combat.

The debate over the effectiveness of various tank designs remains active on social media and official channels. Notably, the appearance of distinctive netting structures above tank turrets and other armored vehicles has drawn significant attention, particularly in the Russo-Ukrainian War and the recent Israeli-Hamas War (Parker et al., 2022; Axe, 2023). These structures, humorously dubbed ‘cope cages,’ are improvised cage armor. Despite growing skepticism about their effectiveness, they remain relatively common. This study explores these improvised armor structures, examining their origins, current standardization, and perceived impact.

Understanding Cope Cages: From Origins to Standardisation contains the following major sections:

  • Introduction
  • Cage Armour and Modern Anti-Tank (AT) Threats
  • An Increasingly Common Practice
  • Assessing Effectiveness
  • Conclusions and Future Applications

Finabel advances the interoperability of land forces by harmonizing military concepts, doctrines, and procedures. It provides recommendations, guidelines, and research to army decision-makers based on the needs of its Member States.

Finabel gathers the leadership of its Member States’ armies in meetings annually. The organization works alongside EU and NATO military structures to complement and cooperate in its objectives.

Post Image- A tank from the Ukrainian Army’s 117th Mechanized Brigade with a “cope cage.” (Post Image Credit: Defense of Ukraine on X.