To augment the massive armor of modern AFVs, new Active Protection System (APS) or “active defense suite” concepts are developed, for heavy AFVs (main battle tanks), light tanks, wheeled armored vehicles, and armored infantry fighting vehicles. An active defense system commonly utilize various means of protection, activated at very close range, and designed to destroy, disrupt or degrade an incoming missile or projectile, thus eliminating or reducing its penetration capability.
Active Protection Systems commonly consist of an array of soft- and hard-kill techniques. Soft-kill methods, similar to Electronic Counter-Measures (ECM) in aircraft, seduce and confuse an incoming missile, by using decoys, smoke and electro-optical signals, infrared or laser jamming. Other concepts which include “Hard-kill” means, are designed to intercept and destroy the incoming projectile or missile before it hits its target. Countermeasures include fragmentation charges, steel bars, high pressure shock waves that will destroy the threat, destabilize or disrupt it flight path, or divert it from its course. The optimal implementation of APS should be “design-dependent” thus, make it adaptable to tracked or a wheeled vehicle as well as fixed positions. Most of the currently available systems are, however, too heavy and are therefore suitable only for AFVs with weight class over 25 tons. (In photo – US Army M-1A1 equipped with the VLQ-6 MCD system and M6 countermeasure dispensers, in Iraq, 2003)
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