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Russia to equip T-80BVM and T-90M tanks with Arena-M APS

Russia is planning to upgrade its main battle tanks (MBTs) with a new active protection system (APS) that can intercept and destroy incoming projectiles, such as anti-tank missiles, rockets, and grenades. The Arena-M APS, developed by the High Precision Systems holding company (part of ROSTEC), is expected to be installed on the T-80BVM and T-90M Proryv tanks, according to reports from the Russian state defence agency.

The Arena-M APS is an improved version of the original Arena system, which was designed by the Kolomna-based Engineering Design Bureau in the 1990s. The Arena-M system features a multifunctional radar system with a high degree of interference protection, capable of operating even when the enemy attempts to use electronic warfare systems. The radar detects flying targets and sends a signal to initiate a directional action of the specialized munitions, which are placed around the turret perimeter. These munitions intercept and neutralize the threat before it can damage the tank.

The Arena-M system has several advantages over its predecessor, such as improved performance, enhanced reliability, and reduced weight. It is also designed to be more adaptable for integration with a wider range of armoured vehicle platforms. However, specific details about the Arena-M system may be limited due to the nature of military technology and classification.

The T-80BVM and T-90M Proryv are modernized versions of the Soviet-era T-80 and T-90 tanks, respectively. They feature improved firepower, mobility, and protection compared to their older variants. The T-80BVM is equipped with a new gas turbine engine, a new fire control system, a new thermal imaging sight, and a new explosive reactive armour (ERA) called Relikt. The T-90M Proryv has a new turret with a 125 mm smoothbore gun, a new engine, a new transmission, a new digital control system, and a new ERA called Malakhit.

The modernization of various Russian tank models is progressing, despite concerns voiced by Ukrainian officials regarding Russia’s ability to maintain its production capacity amidst numerous sanctions. According to these officials, Russia is currently producing several dozen tanks daily. The modernization program is also seen as a response to the Western countries supplying arms to Ukraine, which has been involved in a conflict with pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

The Arena-M APS is expected to enhance the survivability of Russian tanks in combat scenarios where they may face threats from advanced anti-tank weapons, such as guided missiles or top-attack munitions. The APS may also provide an edge over potential adversaries that lack similar systems or have inferior ones. According to Russian-state media, foreign customers have also expressed interest in the Arena-M system. However, the company’s primary focus is currently to meet the requirements of the Russian army for APS and establish mass production.

Arena-M Active Protection System

The Arena-M Active Protection System (APS) is a Russian-made system that aims to protect tanks and other armoured vehicles from various anti-tank threats, such as rockets, missiles, and grenades. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect and track incoming projectiles and launches defensive rockets that intercept and destroy them before they reach the vehicle. The Arena-M is an improved version of the original Arena system, which was developed in the 1990s and demonstrated on the T-80UM1 Bars main battle tank.

The Arena-M APS has several advantages over its predecessor and other similar systems. First, it has a higher hit probability, estimated at 80-90%, thanks to its advanced radar and rocket technology. Second, it has a wider coverage area, providing 270 degrees of protection around the turret. Third, it has a faster reaction time, capable of launching multiple rockets in less than a second. Fourth, it has a lower weight and size, making it easier to install and operate on various platforms.

The Arena-M APS is designed to counter a wide range of anti-tank threats, including rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), and top-attack munitions. The system can intercept projectiles travelling at speeds up to 700 m/s, at distances between 10 and 30 meters from the vehicle. The system operates automatically, without requiring any input from the crew. The system also has a self-test and self-diagnosis function, which ensures its reliability and readiness.

The Arena-M APS is currently being tested and evaluated by the Russian Army and is expected to be installed on some of the modernized tanks, such as the T-80BVM and the T-90M. The system is also offered for export customers, who may be interested in enhancing the survivability of their armoured vehicles.

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