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What's the current doctrine on operating APS equipped tanks in an urban environment?


On the way
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You would like to see some tank infantry co-operation in an urban setting. I mean no tank platoon is going to go solo into a town or city without some dismounted or mounted infantry accompanying it. But what is the safety distance for accompanying infantry if the tank's APS (like Trophy) is activated? Or are they completely safe from it?

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I doubt they are, but it heavily depends on the design of the system and the effectors. AMAP-ADS happens very, very close to the vehicle, so if you're safe from the explosion of the attacking projectile's warhead I suppose there is no elevated risk from the countermeasure. Diehl Defence claims that their AVePS is free of fragments; if true, the hazard radius is probably similar to the overpressure radius of the attacking projectile's warhead.

Drozd is decidedly unkind to nearby infantry, although the attempt was made in later variants to direct the fragments in a downward angled cone, IIRC. Which is better than nothing, but not exactly confidence building. Clearly, an omnidirectional fragmentation effect is highly undesirable.

 

The other question is what the detection and intercept ranges are. In urban terrain a lot of shadowing from nearby buildings and other objects is to be expected that might mask the approach trajectory of an incoming missile from the system's sensors. So the question is if the projectile gets spotted before it is inside the intercept envelope, and if the launcher has an unobstructed launch window for the intercept grenade. Typically the reduction of the attacking projectile warhead is range-dependent. If you can prematurely detonate a HEAT jet 50m away from you the protective effect clearly is (much) better than if the range was just 5m, or less.

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Minor side-note - Drozd and Arena have "close protection" mode vs infantry.

Edited by bojan
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I wonder if APS can be fitted with training munitions, like talcum powder TP ammo. I am not convinced that they would be safe enough to have infantry around.....but it would be a start. 

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3 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Modern APS seek to neutralize the warhead itself, and use the bare minimum of fragments. So they are going to be at least 90% of the time safer than letting a missile hit the target, even if the armor absorbs it well.

Safer for whom, exactly? Infantry aren't going to be comforted at the potential loss of one infantryman to protect 4 tank crew. (for example).

Even if you try to explain the cost-benefit analysis of lower overall risk because the IFV/Tank is supporting them, they're still not going to want to be near the angry box.

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3 hours ago, DB said:

Safer for whom, exactly? Infantry aren't going to be comforted at the potential loss of one infantryman to protect 4 tank crew. (for example).

Even if you try to explain the cost-benefit analysis of lower overall risk because the IFV/Tank is supporting them, they're still not going to want to be near the angry box.

Safer for the infantry, not crew.

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3 hours ago, DB said:

Safer for whom, exactly? Infantry aren't going to be comforted at the potential loss of one infantryman to protect 4 tank crew. (for example).

Even if you try to explain the cost-benefit analysis of lower overall risk because the IFV/Tank is supporting them, they're still not going to want to be near the angry box.

If I understand correctly, I think there are a few factors in play:

  • "supporting infantry" does not necessarily equal "infantry standing right next to a tank"   Tanks operate out in the streets, which is a very dangerous place for an infantryman to be.
  • A hit on a tank, by a LAW or ATGM, is going to generate blast and fragments anyway, so the incremental danger is only the range/danger-area of the APS that is greater than the danger zone from the LAW/ATGM warhead explosion
  • To what I think is Zuk's point, if an APS hit disrupts the warhead so that it doesn't explode at all, then the blast/fragments of the APS may actually be less than the blast/fragments would have been from, for instance, an ATGM hitting the tank
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Very interesting question.  Have there been any recorded incidents of infantry injuries from friendly vehicles fitted with APS systems?  I recall in the past similar questions have also been asked about vehicles fitted with ERA and infantry are nearby when the ERA box is detonated.

 

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3 hours ago, Gavin-Phillips said:

Very interesting question.  Have there been any recorded incidents of infantry injuries from friendly vehicles fitted with APS systems?  I recall in the past similar questions have also been asked about vehicles fitted with ERA and infantry are nearby when the ERA box is detonated.

 

Nope. But then, APS were only used for roughly a month in Gaza in 2014.

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On 5/27/2021 at 6:55 AM, bojan said:

Minor side-note - Drozd and Arena have "close protection" mode vs infantry.

What does that mean? How is that safer for the infantry?

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On 5/27/2021 at 4:32 AM, Ssnake said:

I doubt they are, but it heavily depends on the design of the system and the effectors. AMAP-ADS happens very, very close to the vehicle, so if you're safe from the explosion of the attacking projectile's warhead I suppose there is no elevated risk from the countermeasure. Diehl Defence claims that their AVePS is free of fragments; if true, the hazard radius is probably similar to the overpressure radius of the attacking projectile's warhead.

Drozd is decidedly unkind to nearby infantry, although the attempt was made in later variants to direct the fragments in a downward angled cone, IIRC. Which is better than nothing, but not exactly confidence building. Clearly, an omnidirectional fragmentation effect is highly undesirable.

 

The other question is what the detection and intercept ranges are. In urban terrain a lot of shadowing from nearby buildings and other objects is to be expected that might mask the approach trajectory of an incoming missile from the system's sensors. So the question is if the projectile gets spotted before it is inside the intercept envelope, and if the launcher has an unobstructed launch window for the intercept grenade. Typically the reduction of the attacking projectile warhead is range-dependent. If you can prematurely detonate a HEAT jet 50m away from you the protective effect clearly is (much) better than if the range was just 5m, or less.

Thanks for the good information.

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6 hours ago, Gavin-Phillips said:

Very interesting question.  Have there been any recorded incidents of infantry injuries from friendly vehicles fitted with APS systems?  I recall in the past similar questions have also been asked about vehicles fitted with ERA and infantry are nearby when the ERA box is detonated.

 

That should not be an issue for the APS manufacturer to figure out, right? How hard is it for them to park an AFV with APS in an mock urban training village, place dummies or mannequins all around it and fire off a RPG round at the vehicle. Then count the holes from the mannequins after that. No manufacturer is claiming their APS is infantry or civilian friendly, so that should be a worrying sign. LOL 

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5 minutes ago, On the way said:

What does that mean? How is that safer for the infantry?

I suspect it's close protection from infantry.

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Yes, which tells us there is a considerable fragmentation involved in those. In some early 2000s sales prospect there was a "danger zone" around tank for Arena, it was considerable, about 15-25m or so.

Edited by bojan
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7 hours ago, CaptLuke said:

If I understand correctly, I think there are a few factors in play:

  • "supporting infantry" does not necessarily equal "infantry standing right next to a tank"   Tanks operate out in the streets, which is a very dangerous place for an infantryman to be.
  • A hit on a tank, by a LAW or ATGM, is going to generate blast and fragments anyway, so the incremental danger is only the range/danger-area of the APS that is greater than the danger zone from the LAW/ATGM warhead explosion
  • To what I think is Zuk's point, if an APS hit disrupts the warhead so that it doesn't explode at all, then the blast/fragments of the APS may actually be less than the blast/fragments would have been from, for instance, an ATGM hitting the tank

Yes that is true, no infantry stands around a tank on the streets. They are hugging the buildings for cover or behind walls or what not. But the APS detonates at a range away from the tank. I don't really know what this range is or the blast radius, which is the purpose of this thread. I suppose it varies with different manufacturers. To my knowledge, no manufacturer has specified a safety distance either for accompanying infantry or surrounding civilians. The issue of APS disrupting the warhead away from the tank and not allowing it to explode brings up the issue of those APS designed to detonate the warhead before it gets to the tank. If that is the case, I would suppose the blast radius from the warhead and APS detonation would be substantial, I imagine. Like an 81mm mortar round going off?

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7 minutes ago, bojan said:

Yes, which tells us there is a considerable fragmentation involved in those. In some early 2000s sales prospect there was a "danger zone" around tank for Arena, it was considerable, about 15-25m or so.

I think so too, and yes 15-25m is substantial. The problem is the Singapore Armed Forces uses I believe Trophy on its Leo 2s And there is absolutely no safety regs for accompanying armour infantry or anything in the tank infantry co-operation for a safety distance. And Singapore is a completely urban area, with millions of civilians around.

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14 hours ago, DB said:

Safer for whom, exactly? Infantry aren't going to be comforted at the potential loss of one infantryman to protect 4 tank crew. (for example).

Even if you try to explain the cost-benefit analysis of lower overall risk because the IFV/Tank is supporting them, they're still not going to want to be near the angry box.

If they are close enough to be hit by the APS, I can't help but wonder if the explosion of the ATGM if it detonates against the hull side of the vehicle is going to be really that much less dangerous to the grunt.

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5 hours ago, On the way said:

That should not be an issue for the APS manufacturer to figure out, right? How hard is it for them to park an AFV with APS in an mock urban training village, place dummies or mannequins all around it and fire off a RPG round at the vehicle. Then count the holes from the mannequins after that. No manufacturer is claiming their APS is infantry or civilian friendly, so that should be a worrying sign. LOL 

Rafael claims its Trophy is user friendly, citing a less than 1% chance of injruries.

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9 hours ago, On the way said:

I think so too, and yes 15-25m is substantial. The problem is the Singapore Armed Forces uses I believe Trophy on its Leo 2s And there is absolutely no safety regs for accompanying armour infantry or anything in the tank infantry co-operation for a safety distance. And Singapore is a completely urban area, with millions of civilians around.

Singaporean doctrine is to confront a enemy invasion in the Malayan Peninsula, not in Singapore Island proper.

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9 hours ago, Manic Moran said:

If they are close enough to be hit by the APS, I can't help but wonder if the explosion of the ATGM if it detonates against the hull side of the vehicle is going to be really that much less dangerous to the grunt.

It probably is since most of the already poor fragmentation from ATGM will go to the sides, more-less parallel to the hull. If APS uses fragmentation method it is at least hand grenade sized fragment producer, which will produce larger kill zone than ATGM. If infantry is next to tank it won't matter, they are screwed anyway, if they are 10-15m away it might be quite a difference. Thing is with the "tanker vs infantrymen" psychology, which will only partially be negated with training.

Edited by bojan
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2 hours ago, methos said:

Singapore does not use the Trophy APS on the Leopard 2.

AMAP-ADS, as fas as I remember.

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