Military Review

Active Tank Defense: Technology Development


In modern warfare, the use of active protection systems for armored vehicles is a necessity. Russia in this case has something to be proud of: it was Soviet tank building that became a pioneer in the field of active defense tanks.

The need to develop and use active protection systems was discussed back in the late 1940s. In the late 1950s, this idea was more specifically formulated by the specialists of the Tula Central Design Bureau-14. The system was developed by the Central Design Bureau of Sports Hunting weapons, and direct project management was carried out by Vasily Ivanovich Bakalov. As a result, by 1977-1978. in the Soviet Union, the Drozd active defense system was developed, which became the first such system in the world launched into serial production.

In 1982-1983 The 1030M Drozd active defense system successfully passed state tests, was tested in the field, and then in 1983 it began to be installed on T-55A tanks. This tank was the first in the world equipped with an active defense complex. KAZ Drozd has been produced for more than 6 years. Its production was discontinued after the Soviet leadership signed an agreement on the reduction of conventional weapons in Europe. The T-55 tank was included in the number of weapons being eliminated by the USSR. After this decision, work on the upgraded version of KAZ Drozd-2 also stopped.

The development of the Arena active defense complex was also suspended, in which the main emphasis was placed on solving the problem of defeating one’s own motorized infantry during the destruction of an attacking ammunition with anti-missile or rocket-propelled grenade splinters. As a result, the specialists calculated the flight path of the protective unit so as to minimize the zone of continuous destruction, while destroying the attacking ammunition.

However, already in the 1990s, after numerous losses of Russian tanks during the storming of Grozny, the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that these losses were the result of, among other things, insufficient protection of military vehicles. As a result, work on domestic active protection systems was continued. In 1997, the first T-80UM tank, equipped with the Arena system and intended for export to the Republic of Korea, was demonstrated.

Unlike the USSR and even post-Soviet Russia, Western countries have not been able to achieve significant success in providing their tanks with active defense systems. This is well understood, for example, by the command of the US ground forces, which recognized the existing deep problems in the field of active defense of the American army armored vehicles.

The attempt to install the Iron Fist KAZ developed in Israel on the Bradley BMP turned out to be unsuccessful: combat vehicles did not have such an energy supply for powering multiple sensors, there were risks of failures in the general power supply network, and increased fuel consumption. In addition, the tests found that interceptor shells could not shoot or hit the target.

As a result, in 2020, the US military department announced a delay in the integration of the Israeli active defense system into its armored vehicles. By the way, Israel, which developed the Iron Fist and Trophy systems, is one of the few countries that already have mass production of tanks with modern KAZ installed on them.

At the same time, since the development of striking weapons also does not stand still, more and more global military experts speak of the need to improve existing active defense systems, even the creation of a new generation of KAZ, which would be able to withstand, firstly, armor-piercing firing subcaliber shells, and secondly, projectiles flying from above that were fired from unmanned aerial vehicles. They plan to use a laser capable of dropping missiles flying into the tank from above against UAV attacks.

Also promising ideas in the development of active tank defense systems include the introduction of electromagnetic armor. When a projectile or cumulative stream passes through the armor plate, a powerful current pulse will destroy the damaging element. In addition, electromagnetic armor allows using radars and sensors to choose the most reasonable way to protect against attack.

Now the designers are faced with another major problem - how to protect the numerous radars and sensors mounted on the tank themselves. After all, one turn from the machine gun and a simple infantryman of the enemy will put them out of action, thereby violating the entire active defense system of the combat vehicle. Therefore, the field for further research and development remains simply huge.
Photos used:
NPK JSC Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering

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  1. The comment was deleted.
    1. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins April 18 2020 10: 15
      About KAZ, as well as future Russian aircraft carriers, they write with enviable regularity. Moreover, they write the same thing ... As they say:
      - the same eggs, side view ...
  2. rocket757
    rocket757 April 18 2020 10: 11
    You can fantasize and wait for the "protective fields" to be invented !!!
    And armored vehicles must be protected right now.
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 April 18 2020 11: 29
      There is an option to use a pulsed laser with a power of 25-50 kW in the United States on a similar work already and in Israel too. Against BOPS, of course, it will not help, but from RPG and ATGM completely.
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 April 18 2020 12: 24
        We do not know for sure how it will turn out in a few years. Filmmakers love laser stuff! The case is for scientists, designers.
        Everything is good, suitable when it works efficiently and does not require exorbitant costs.
        First of all, everyone is waiting for the invention of high-power energy sources. Compact, reliable, mobile. As soon as this appears, there will be a surge in invention, the creation of other devices.
        The boom is to see who first creates the right one.
      2. prodi
        prodi April 18 2020 13: 25
        as for lasers, it will turn out even more bulky and vulnerable than current KAZ
  3. _Ugene_
    _Ugene_ April 18 2020 10: 30
    the use of active protection systems for armored vehicles is a necessity. In this case, Russia has something to be proud of:
    KAZ troops are not and are not planned
  4. really
    really April 18 2020 10: 47
    Strange, the Israeli system is tested on the battlefield, in it is written that the car is old and does not fit very well with other modernizations .
  5. Strashila
    Strashila April 18 2020 11: 04
    KAZ is good, individual protection of a single armored vehicle, when the armored vehicle is in a stationary position and serves as a system to repel a surprise attack with anti-tank weapons, may work. This is a series, you watch the shooting when the Hussites ambush the Saudi tank standing at the checkpoint. On the battlefield, in the convoy, in the village with a high concentration of equipment, people and intense fighting, this is not real, there is no recognition system for the ammunition Alien. I remember the Iron Dome took a long line from a machine gun for a missile attack.
  6. kjhg
    kjhg April 18 2020 11: 11
    It is strange why the author, having undertaken to write an article about KAZ, did not consider it necessary to mention the most modern domestic, and, perhaps, in the world, Afghan active protection system for tanks, covering even the upper hemisphere of the tank, which was traditionally outside the active protection systems. Here are a couple of photos.
    1 - review cameras
    2 - receiving antenna of the active protection complex of the upper hemisphere
    3 - radar of the active protection system "Afganit"
    4 - charge block complex active protection of the upper hemisphere
    5 - block of charges of the active protection complex "Afganit"
    6 - rifle gap, from which the striking element of the KAZ "Afghanistan" is fired. The black cover is able to rotate 360 ​​degrees, directing the element in the right direction. Each tube contains several tens of charges.

    1 - external fuel tanks (camping tanks, the main ones are hidden inside under the armor)
    2 - machine gun turret combined with the panoramic sight of the commander
    3 - service hatch
    5 - charge blocks of the active protection complex of the upper hemisphere
    6 - the niche of the gunner’s sight or hatch for ejecting spent cartridges from the tower, until it’s clear
    7 - removable composite armor blocks on supports set aside from the body
    8 - approximate angles of control of the radar system "Afganit"
    1. Navat
      Navat April 18 2020 11: 23
      So the difference is that we hear about the effectiveness of Afganit from the bravadochny reports of the developer and the Defense Ministry, and the Israeli “windbreaker” saved more than one Merkava and killed more than one part of the VET (not everyone knows, but the “Windbreaker” not only knocks down the ATGM, but also determines the launch site and automatically launches a gun on it.If Afghanit is so good that it makes it difficult to send several Armats to combat tests in Syria?
      1. TOR2
        TOR2 April 18 2020 23: 19
        Quote: Navat
        and the Israeli windbreaker saved more than one Merkava and
        And then be objective until the end. What models of anti-tank weapons she had to face and the years of their development.
        1. indy424
          indy424 April 19 2020 07: 51
          competition, cornet, RPG-29, and of course sevens
          1. Nehist
            Nehist April 19 2020 16: 55
            Well, if you were protecting from the Vampire, then yes ... Israel has surpassed Russia in the serial KAZ. It’s interesting to see statistics on the Vampire ... Sorry is not available (((
          2. TOR2
            TOR2 April 19 2020 17: 12
            From the listed line, the latest RPG-29. Adopted in the second half of the 80s. Grenade launcher for over 30 years. The PG-29V grenade is designed to hit targets that are equipped with dynamic protection systems, there is no question about KAZ. The main grenade launcher during the Second Lebanon War was the seven, or rather its Chinese counterparts. It is a copy of the seven that you can buy in the arms market, buy a lot and not expensive.
            1. indy424
              indy424 April 19 2020 20: 10
              these are the systems that were involved in the operational situation. those. even if there is something more advanced, it will be a rare system on our TVD, and statistically trophy does its job. again, this does not mean that it cannot work with more advanced systems. It means only that it has not yet been tested in RAM.
      2. Aag
        Aag April 20 2020 19: 18
        "what prevents you from sending several Armata for combat trials to Syria?"
        Yesterday, like infa flew on this topic (though from Manturov), the forum discussed ...
    2. Vladimir_2U
      Vladimir_2U April 21 2020 09: 36
      Photos, or rather comments on them, in general, the real state of affairs does not reflect, especially this comment
      Quote: kjhg
      6 - rifle gap, from which the striking element of the KAZ "Afghanistan" is fired. The black cover is able to rotate 360 ​​degrees, directing the element in the right direction. Each tube contains several tens of charges.
      In general, some sort of rubbish, a simple plug for a single-shot launcher, the devils turned into what.
  7. Rambam
    Rambam April 18 2020 11: 21
    There is nothing better than "Trophy"
    1. MORDVIN13rus
      MORDVIN13rus April 19 2020 20: 17
      It is interesting to know why this is not, and why is your trophy so good.
  8. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 18 2020 11: 34
    The KAZ topic is a very interesting topic! And about "active armor" you can tell a lot of interesting things! The author simply “ran at a gallop on the long-known“ truths ”! For example, I have interesting material on KAZs, on“ active armor ”... but the problem (!): How to systematize this material (i.e. make an article. ..), how to send it ... it is advisable to "squeeze" it into the material, for example, illustrations ... a number of illustrations should be created using programs known to "IT specialists", but which I do not know now ... There are 2 more topics that I would like to do: 1. Are there any prospects for the development of ground-based air defense?; 2. Mine-sabotage "technology" of saboteurs of the past centuries of the pre-capsule "era" ..., but I'm afraid that if I still take up the articles, I can finish them when by that time there are similar articles written by other authors!
  9. V.I.P.
    V.I.P. April 18 2020 11: 35
    Although the world's first KAZ "Drozd" was installed on combat tanks in the USSR, at this stage in the Russian Federation there are no combat tanks with KAZ. At the same time, it seems like there are KAZ "Drozd-2", "Arena-M", "Afganit" in the Russian Federation, something is busy at exhibitions and is offered to foreign buyers, but there are no orders. There is no point in talking about the parade-exhibition "Armata".
    In the USA, the MAPS missile defense plant was developed, but according to the results of the tests, it was decided to put the Israeli Trophy air vehicle on the abrams.
    KAZ "Trophy" has 3 types. The first "Trophy" (ASPRO-A) for installation on tanks, the second "Trophy Light" (ASPRO-AL), for various armored vehicles weighing 15-30 tons, the third "Trophy Ultra-Light" (ASPRO-A-UL), designed for lighter devices. They are produced jointly by Rafael and IAI.
    KAZ "Trophy" will be installed on new German tanks "Leopard 2A7". Integration and testing it in English "Challenger-2" are also carried out. In Germany itself, IBD Deisenroth Engineering (IBD) is working on the "SMART-PROTech" protection system. Although this is not quite a KAZ .. Also in Germany developed KAZ "AMAP ADS" serves to protect armored vehicles of various weights and purposes. In 2011 it was sold to one of the countries of Southeast Asia.
    In Israel, there is also a KAZ "IRON FIST" for heavy equipment (judging by the videos it can shoot down BOPS) and "Bright Arrow" for light equipment. Manufactured by IMI Systems LTD.
    In Ukraine, the KAZ "Zaslon" has been developed on the Soviet basis. It was sold to the Turks and will be installed on M-60 tanks there. KAZ will be manufactured under license by ASELSAN. But judging by the photo, the "Barrier" installed on the T-64 and participating in the battles was still incapacitated ..
    China has created KAZ "GL5". Installed on MBT-3000 and VT-4 tanks. At the same time, the PLA tanks are protected by a laser countermeasure system.
    In general, after Israel, many countries decided to equip their KAZ tanks. It’s a pity that this is not done in the Russian Federation. What does the so-called modernization of the T-72B3, T-80BVM and T-90M tanks mean ...
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I April 18 2020 12: 37
      Quote: V.I.P.
      At the same time, it seems like there are KAZ "Drozd-2", "Arena-M", "Afganit" in the Russian Federation, something is busy at exhibitions and is offered

      There is also "Standart" ... for some reason, extremely little "illuminated" in the "press"!
      1. V.I.P.
        V.I.P. April 18 2020 16: 24
        KAZ "Standart" was made for "Object 195" or T-95. KAZ was created during the development work "Improvement-88" on the basis of the KAZ "Drozd". About 30 years ago, about .... No tank, no "Shtandart"
    2. prodi
      prodi April 18 2020 14: 30
      KAZ is most suitable for conflicts of low intensity and is more like a one-time system. Those. they won’t be able to fix it on the spot, but they won’t give it to the rear. It is wiser to invest in reservations and remote sensing, although work must continue
  10. Peter is not the first
    Peter is not the first April 18 2020 11: 37
    From the article and from the comments we can conclude that it is better to HAVE KAZ on technology than to have the most advanced, but in the drawings.
  11. Grading
    Grading April 18 2020 11: 52
    Quote: Navat
    KAZ "Trophy

  12. Bogatyrev
    Bogatyrev April 18 2020 12: 54
    And how many T-55 did Drozd manage to put? And how many tanks do you have now with KAZ?
    Would it not be wise to resume the production of low-cost KAZ and put them as a modernization module on the tanks of our forces in hot spots?
  13. Kars
    Kars April 18 2020 13: 01
    All the same, it seems to me a promising direction with the help of modern guidance systems and radar to achieve the opportunity to please the anti-aircraft gun from an anti-aircraft machine gun.
    1. prodi
      prodi April 18 2020 13: 30
      and the corners will not be too small in the sense of rebound?
    2. Cat
      Cat April 18 2020 16: 21
      Then it probably makes sense to give the tanks a separate ZSU, something like the land variant of the AC-630, only with a smaller caliber, for example GSh-6-23. There is no point in pushing a radar and a large base station onto each tank, but it is possible on a separate vehicle. That is, something like a BMPT, but with a radar and a fast-firing gun, sharpened to combat anti-tank
      1. prodi
        prodi April 18 2020 17: 40
        even more doubtful: with the determination of which of the wards it is flying to and must already be saved. Or is it already a network-centric component - the tank itself determines the threat and includes ZSU ... Density of fire may turn out to be suitable, although it is not a rocket against the sky, but the place of relative location is not very successful
      2. riwas
        riwas April 19 2020 05: 26
        Then it probably makes sense to give tanks a separate ZSU

        It will be more effective to use a separate missile defense vehicle armed with missiles with a range of 1-2 km and millimeter-wave radar. As a basis, you can take the guidance system like that of the Starstrick MANPADS. His targeting is carried out using a beam formed by two lasers located in the guidance unit. In this case, one of them scans in the horizontal plane, and the other in the vertical, in the tail of the rocket there is a laser receiver. Such a missile can also hit ATGMs attacking from above. Warhead shrapnel (fragmentation-beam) as in AHEAD shells. Remote timer fuse.
        1. prodi
          prodi April 19 2020 07: 02
          Such vehicles will need to stay in the battle formations of tanks in order to scan the horizontal plane and knock everything flying up from the front view, i.e. be armored enough.
          There are doubts about the effectiveness of slow-launching short-range missiles in ground combat
          1. riwas
            riwas April 19 2020 09: 46
            It is clear that such an installation is not intended for protection against grenade launchers at short distances, but for protection against land-based ATGMs, helicopters, drones and UR, UAB aircraft.
            1. prodi
              prodi April 19 2020 09: 53
              No, the idea is sound: to load BMPT with these functions, and not complicate the tank with them, but at least two such vehicles on the flanks of the tank unit will have to be provided, it will be necessary to ensure interaction
              1. riwas
                riwas April 19 2020 10: 12
                True, I called this installation a watch tank and proposed it back in 1999.
                And in the journal "TEKHNIKA-YOUTH", N5, 2000, an article on this topic was published "Tactics dictates technology".
  14. iouris
    iouris April 18 2020 13: 11
    Quote: "In a modern war ..." End of quote.
    All. The material is hopelessly outdated: the "modern war" is coming to an end.
    1. andreykolesov123
      andreykolesov123 April 18 2020 15: 10
      Quote: iouris
      "modern war" is coming to an end.

      Is it in Syria or what?
  15. lot
    lot April 18 2020 16: 23
    article for elementary school students. Well, nothing at all.
  16. SiberianGun
    SiberianGun April 18 2020 19: 45
    Something quite short, almost no new information.