Russia will integrate high-speed radar into T-80/90 tank protection
MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The tank losses of the Russian Federation in the war in Ukraine are tangible. Every single tank model used by Moscow has already been either destroyed or captured. The most used Russian tanks in Ukraine are the T-72 and T-80, but there are increasing reports that Moscow is also sending T-90s to the front.
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Therefore, the Ministry of Defense of Russia is trying to reduce losses in the coming months, especially if the large-scale counteroffensive prepared by Ukraine takes place. For this purpose, the holding Vysokotochnye Kompleksy [High Precision Systems or HPS] has carried out tests of the new active protection system [APS] on a T-72 tank. HPS is part of the structure of the largest Russian military company – Rostec.
It is about Arena-M APS. This is the latest modification of the Russian Arena APS. According to HPS sources, this tank protection is in the final stages of its adoption and integration into Russian tanks. Besides T-72, T-80 tanks and the T-90 tank series will be equipped with Arena-M.
HPS says the tests carried out were carried out with two types of ammunition – Russian and captured from the war in Ukraine. However, the company did not specify the ammunition models that were involved in the performance of the APS.
The principle of operation is as follows: a new high-speed radar is integrated into the Arena-M APS. Its purpose is to detect an approaching enemy munition. Most often this ammunition is an RPG or ATGM. Once detected, the active protection system fires anti-munitions at the threat. Their goal is to destroy enemy ammunition before it hits the tank.
Counter-munitions, also known as defensive munitions, are deployed when a threat approaches. They are driven by a pulse motor. It is he who is the reason that anti-munitions are deployed very quickly. Rapid deployment of anti-munitions provides perimeter protection around the tank.
What do we know about Arena-M?
The principle of operation mentioned above is the principle of operation of Arena-M APS. Arena-M works in fully autonomous mode. I.e. there is no need for an operator or other tank crew member to watch for an approaching threat. The high-speed radar should activate itself at a certain distance, detecting the incoming munition.
When the munition is within kill distance, the Arena-M anti-munition is fired, detonating its warhead, which is contained in protective cases. The new high-speed radar is of extreme importance because earlier or timely detection of enemy munitions depends on its performance.
The new high-speed radar
Russia does not provide detailed information about the new APS high-speed radar. The old Arena version allowed the radar to be turned on manually by the tank crew. But now it is said, due to the autonomous operational capability of the Arena-M, that the radar does not need any control.
The radar used by Arena-M is a Doppler radar. It communicates with the digital computer in the tank. It is the information from the radar, which can recognize the type of enemy ammunition, that depends on which of all 26 fast-acting anti-munitions in the APS will be preferred by the onboard computer.
The choice of anti-munition depends exclusively on the radar information. In addition to the type, the Arena-M radar processes information such as parameters of the speed of the enemy projectile and its speed. The radar and computer respond in 0.05 seconds and protect the tank over a 300-degree arc, everywhere except the rear of the turret.
The Impact of the First Chechen war
It can be said that the latest version of the Russian APS is a consequence of combat experience. Over the years, Russia has tried different ways to protect its tanks or armored vehicles. It is known that even the T-55 tank from the Cold War era had the first anti-aircraft gun developed in Russia called Drozd.
Later, Russia tried to change the protection of the tank and developed a system to jam the signal of anti-tank missiles. The first such system was integrated into the T-80U tank sometime in the 1980s and was called the Shtora-1.
However, the first Chechen war and the Battle of Grozny changed the mindset of Russian military engineers. During this battle, Russia lost between 200 and 250 armored vehicles. The battle for Grozny lasted almost three months. It was during this battle that Moscow realized that it could not counterattack the enemy’s rocket-propelled grenades. It was then, seeing the bad results and the big losses, that Vysokotochnye Kompleksy hired to develop an active protection system. This is how APS Arena was born.
How good is Arena-M?
According to statements in the Russian media, the Arena-M APS is a high-quality countermeasure against enemy anti-tank missiles. In reality, however, there is no evidence of such claims. It will be best to gauge the performance of Arena-M when we get the first reports from Ukraine.
However, the first Arena product has been tested. In 1995, a Russian tank model T-80UM-1 was equipped with Arena APS and conducted a live demonstration in front of an audience. An anti-tank missile was fired at the tank and Arena was able to successfully counter the missile, destroying it.
We can assume that Arena APS is a good development for Russian engineers. Especially since South Korea is interested in this protection for the Soviet K2 Black Panther tank. At least, these are the claims from Moscow, although Seoul has never officially confirmed this information. But because of K2 Black Panther Vysokotochnye Kompleksy creates Arena-E APS. The value of one set of Arena-E is equal to $300,000.
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