An RPG 7 round fires upon a tank and the tank’s active protection system detects, engages, and neutralizes the round. The video that shows the spectacle is from YouTube, and the source is a state-owned Russian media outlet, One Russia.
In the video, a T-72B3 is seen effectively neutralizing an RPG round. The round that was inbound blasted mid-air instead of impacting the side of the tank’s hull. Arena-M is an example of APS, which an APS. This technology ushers in a new era of warfare where rockets against tanks might become a thing of the past.
APS works on a pre-emptive strike mechanism. Before anything hits you, you hit it. The armored vehicle has several millimeters of wave radars covering different areas on the outside of the tank. If the radar detects an incoming missile, rocket, or projectile, it launches an interceptor munition and engages the projectile midway.
The APS has the ability to neutralize state-of-the-art Anti-Tank missiles such as the American TOW, as depicted here.
APS is designed to take out shaped charge warheads. These are handy and can be launched from slow-moving vehicles, hand-launched grenades, and even cooks, and clerks can operate this, inflicting irreversible damage to the tank and crew. With the anti-tank arsenal improving by the day, the older, less defensible tanks become more and more vulnerable. To protect the tank, the additional layers of metal added to the tanks make them heavy, thus affecting their mobility.
The APS can be traced back to the arms and weaponries race between the USSR and the USA during the cold war. Where NATO and the USA wanted to stop the Russian tanks with anti-tank weapons, and the Russians wanted to press on with their strong armor, thus the birth of APS by the Russians.
The tank that is seen in this video is from the legendary T-72 family. It was first brought on the battlefield back in the 1970s, making them more than 50 years old as of today. Increasing its armor capability against the newer anti-tank weapons is a tricky situation. As the weight increases, the stress on the overall mechanism of the tank also increases. In contrast, an Arena-M APS weighs in at only 1.4 tonnes.
There are some downsides to APS. Experts have described the interceptor munitions as similar to shotgun rounds, sending an explosive blast in the direction of the incoming rocket. That makes the system unpleasant to be around if you’re a friendly Russian infantryman. Other countries solve this problem by conducting the intercept farther from the tank or using a smaller, more focused blast.
The drawback with the APS is that it does not differentiate between friendly and hostile projectile and engages both of them. Not good news for Russian infantry. More focused, targeted blasts are required to make the APS a formidable defense system.