Russia will equip its T-80 and T-90 main battle tanks with the Arena-M active protection system (APS), the High Precision Systems Group, a part of the state tech corporation Rostec, told TASS on April 5.
The Arena-M was developed by the Kolomna-based Engineering Design Bureau to protect tanks and other types of armored fighting vehicles from anti-tank weapons, including guided missiles armed with a top-attack capability like the American FGM-148 Javelin.
“Finally, the Arena-M will be installed on T-90 and T-80 tanks,” the group said. “For this purpose, upgrades have to be carried out based on the armor’s specifics.”
The group also revealed to the Russian news agency that preparations are currently at the final stage for accepting the Arena-M APS for service on T-72 tanks.
A version of the Soviet-era tank equipped with the system has successfully passed tests using both Russian anti-tank weapons as well as foreign ones captured during the special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian military had captured dozens of Javelin missiles and other Western-made anti-tank weapons from Kiev forces.
“The armor system has passed tests under an expanded program: not only against planned targets simulated by Russian-made ammunition, but also foreign trophy munitions seized by Russia. The armor suite has proven its efficiency,” the group’s press office said. “The Russian Defense Ministry is interested in outfitting armored troops with the Arena-M suite as quickly as possible.”
The Arena-M uses a radar to detect incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles with a speed up to 700 meter per second from 50 meters. Upon detection, one of 22 defensive munitions is fired at the inbound threat, destroying it before it hits the vehicle.
Beside main battle tanks, the APS can be also installed on BMPT tank support fighting vehicles and BMP-3M infantry fighting vehicles. It is still unknown, however, if the Russian military is considering outfitting the two vehicles with the system.
The Arena-M will significantly increase the survivability of Russian main battle tanks. The special military operation zone will likely see the first combat use of the system.