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Arena

Active protection system

Arena active protection system

The Arena was designed as a competing alternative to the Drozd-2

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service -
Specifications
Number of launchers 26
Guidance Radar-guided

 

   Active protection systems, also known as hard-kill protection systems, provides additional protection for the tanks and armored vehicles against incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles. Soviets began developing these protection systems back in the mid 1960s in order to improve protection of their tanks. The first tank in the world to be fitted with such kind of protection system was the T-55AD. It was adopted in 1983 and used a Drozd active protection system. During the late 1980s development of an improved Drozd-2 active protection system began, which was a follow-on to the Drozd. During the same timeframe Soviets also developed the Arena active protection system. It was designed as a competing alternative to the Drozd-2. The Arena was first publicly revealed in the mid 1990s. It was first displayed on a T-80UM1 Bars main battle tank, that was mainly aimed at export customers. Tough at the time this active protection system was still a raw design. The Arena was offered for the Russian Army as well as export customers. However eventually there were no production orders.

   The Arena can be installed on tanks and even lighter armored vehicles. It was demonstrated on the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle. It provides additional protection against incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles.

   The Arena has a radar. It detects incoming threats at a range of 50 m from the vehicle and triggers special High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) munitions. These munitions operate in a broadly similar manner as buckshots. Missiles and rockets are destroyed at a range of 10-30 m form the tank. Even if incoming rocket or missile is not destroyed, a blast can set it off course. The Arena can intercept rockets and missiles traveling at a maximum speed of up to 700 m/s.

   There are a total of 26 launchers with explosive munitions, mounted around the turret. The Arena provides 270 degrees coverage for the tank. It was an improvement over the Drozd-2 which protects only the front arc of the tank.

   This system has a brief reaction time and can intercept multiple incoming threats. The second defensive munitions could be launched in 0.7 s after the first one.  The system operates automatically without the input from the tank crew. Once mounted on the tank it offers a hit probability against incoming anti-tank missiles and rockets of around 80-90%. So such system can significantly improve survivability of the tank. However the Arena has no effect against kinetic energy munitions, such as armor-piercing sabot rounds.

   The Arena has the same limitations as the Drozd-2. It is not effective against top-attack munitions and anti-tank weapons fired from buildings and rooftops.

   Another major drawback of this system is that it had a kill zone of at least 20-30 meters around the tank. Once the system is active, defensive munitions are dangerous for the infantry located around the tank. When the system is activated, a special light turns on. It warns the infantry to keep away from the tank.

   The whole system adds 1 100 kg to the tank weight. External components on the tank, including the launchers, are protected from 12.7 mm heavy machine gun fire and artillery shell splinters.

   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 new Armata main battle tank. However in concept it is closer to the Drozd-2, rather than Arena.

 

Variants

 

   Arena-E is an improved export version. It has improved performance and offers better protection. Though this system has a completely different layout. It uses different radars and has 4 containers with 3 special munitions each. The Arena-E provides 360 degrees coverage. However it has the same limitations as the original Arena. It is not effective against top-attack munitions and anti-tank weapons fired from buildings and rooftops.

 

 

 

 
Arena active protection system

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Arena active protection system

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Arena active protection system

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Arena active protection system

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Arena active protection system

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Arena active protection system

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