Arena (Russian: Арена) is an active protection system (APS) developed at Russia’s Kolomna-based Engineering Design Bureau for the purpose of protecting armoured fighting vehicles from destruction by light anti-tank weapons, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), and missiles with top attack warheads. It uses a Doppler radar to detect incoming warheads. Upon detection, a defensive rocket is fired that detonates near the inbound threat, destroying it before it hits the vehicle.
Arena is the successor to Drozd, a Soviet active protection system from the late 1970s, which was installed on several T-55s during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The system improved the vehicle’s survivability rate, increasing it by up to 80%.
The Arena active protection system was first tested at the Kubinka proving grounds in early 1995, successfully defending a Russian tank against an anti-tank guided missile. A Russian T-80UM-1, with Arena, was demonstrated to the public at Omsk in late 1997. Arena was also mounted on the BMP-3M modernization package, developed by the Kurganmashzavod Joint Stock Company, although the package has received no export orders.
An export variant, named Arena-E (Арена-Э), is available, worth an estimated $300,000. According to Russia, it was selected to be used on the South Korean K2 main battle tank, although this was not confirmed by South Korea.