Russia is developing a new active protection system, the Arena-M, for its T-72 and T-90 tanks, Chief Designer of the Machine-Building Design Bureau Valery Kashin told TASS.
Kashin specifically pointed out to U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles, which have been widely used in the Syrian conflict.
“According to the information we have on these missiles, the Arena-M will undoubtedly be able to protect a tank from a TOW,” the chief designer said.
Kashin added that the new active protection system Arena-M is currently undergoing trials and that it will be added on T-72 and T-90 tanks.
“Over the past time, Army Commander-in-Chief Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov has visited the Machine-Building Design Bureau twice. We agreed to sharply intensify the work. Now the active protection complexes for T-72 and T-90 tanks are at the stage of preliminary trials,” Kashin said.
“But now the developers of tanks have requested quite a different arrangement of the active protection system. The principles seem to be the same but in actual fact this is an absolutely new development. Moreover, the active protection system configuration was specified several times in the course of developing T-72 and T-90 tanks and the complex had to be remade anew,” the chief designer said.
The need for active protection is demonstrated by the latest combat experience, he noted.
“The conflicts in the Middle East have shown that, first of all, it is impossible to do without tanks and, secondly, they can no longer be protected by traditional means, including reactive armor: when struck, the tanks burst into flames,” the chief designer said.
The Arena is an active protection system intended to shield tanks from anti-tank grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. Specifically, the Arena system comprises a multifunctional radar of increased jamming resistance designed to detect and track anti-tank targets. Focused instant-effect protective ammunition is used for the aimed destruction of incoming targets. Protective ammunition is accommodated in silo sections arranged around the turret.
The TOW is an American heavy anti-tank system made operational in the US Army in 1970. Missiles are directed by an operator and guided by wire or by a radio channel in the latest modification. This system is one of the most wide-spread complexes in the world.