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Active Protection System (APS) for tanks

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43 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

I don't think there will ever be a case where an ATGM will have a longer range than the radar of the launcher-based APS. It's just not economical. I don't know about the radars on the Iron Fist (original one) and Trophy, but there were talks of the Afganit's radar being able to track aircraft because of its high range of 100km or so, and that they wanted to reduce the range by a bit. 


I however think that most radar systems used for active protection systems can be outranged by modern ATGMs. Take for example Iron Fist: the system makes use of the RPS-10 radar from RADA. The same company lists in a document the range at which the RPS-42 radar panels  - which are physicially larger and consume more energy, therefore they should have a greater range - can spot "short range missiles" up to a distance of 5 kilometres. Iron Fists' RPS-10 and also the ELM-2133 from ELTa should have a shorter range, simply based on panel size. Even the RPS-42 is too short-ranged to properly spot the launch location of modern ATGMs like Kornet-EM, Spike-ER, Spike-LR 2 etc. fired from the maximum possible distance.


Afganits radar might very well be able to track large aircrafts at a distance of 100 kilometres, but ATGMs are much smaller and therefore harder to track. The RPS-42 radar can spot and track heavy transport aircraft at a distance of 50 km and fighter aircraft at a distance of 25 km according to RADA. The smaller the target, the shorter the distance.


I think using a radar for tracking the launch location of an ATGM makes sense for the IDF, who frankly are not expecting to fight against enemies with high capacity electronic warfare systems in the near future. So there is really no downside to having larger radar detection ranges. For countries in other geopolitical situations I would suggest a combination of APS with short-ranged radar and other sensor systems, such as optical sensors, acustic sensors and laser warning systems, to detect the location of enemy ATGM squads.

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I will have to recheck some data on the radars but even with a spotting range of 5km, it's still very useful against any 2nd gen ATGM and to a high degree also 3rd gen unless it was fired above an obstacle, which is not usually the case (team still has to visually acquire target).


Trying to jam or track such radars (I'll even throw in a cool word "AESA". damn sounds good) is too much of a task to worry about, unless someone can put a jamming system on an ATGM which is a fun idea.


Optical sensors are nice but are not too useful in high intensity fighting unless you want them monitoring only a small area (i.e short range).


Last but not least, inofficially, the IDF is making strides to counter Russia's local, very advanced EW capabilities. More officially, Iran, Syria, and proxies now have some powerful EW tools to aid them, and overall for the past more than 10 years the main preparations were for a fight in a medium to high intensity warfare.

The days of fighting ragtag militia armed with AKs and at best a couple RPG-7's, are long, long over.

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Radar ranges from manufacturers, unless specified to a greater degree than they normally do, are pretty useless numbers.


There is the difference between the range where a radar can detect a target vs. the range that a radar can track a target vs. the range that the radar can give a fire control solution on the target.  There is also a question of what the RCS of the target is, and how much EM interference the radar is operating in, and whether the target is above or below the horizon.

Also, you can't necessarily rule of thumb "tracking range will be x% of detection range, and lock on range will be x% of tracking range."  Doesn't work like that.  You can optimize a radar for excellent detection, but very poor tracking (e.g. early warning radars).  Some early SAM systems had multiple radars, and this is part of why.

Unless they specify, the manufacturer is probably quoting a best-case scenario so their numbers look good because that way politicians and other cretins will be impressed by their high and useless numbers.

That said, if the goal of the system is to neutralize enemy munitions at as long a distance as possible (very important if intercepting APFSDS is a design goal), then radar will outperform passive sensors by a lot.  Radar gives direct range information, IIR, UV and other passive electroptical sensors do not.  Radar sensors can also cover a wider area than IIR sensors, which have to trade off resolution or angular coverage in a way radar does not.

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1 hour ago, SH_MM said:

Denel is testing improved interceptors against heavy ATGMs and KE penetrators. Previously the cooperated with SAAB (delivering the interceptors for the LEDS-150 APS), but it was canceled after nobody wanted to fund it.

Wait, so they're using an APS missile for a C-RAM, or a C-RAM's missile for an APS? Either way, sounds like quite a waste.

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Chinese APS "Raptor" (GL-5)





Active protection complex "Raptor" (GL-5). Destruction of incoming ATGMs and heavier tactical missiles is carried out by specialized small-size missiles of an ultra-short range type that are triggered by the small multifunctional radar operating in the Ka-band of millimeter waves.


Module and some stats:






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