Country of origin
Number of launchers
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
active protection system. During the late 1980s development of an
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Russians developed a new Afganit active protection
system for their new
main battle tank. However in concept it is closer to the Drozd-2,
rather than Arena.
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.