On December 15, the Dead District Military blog shared photos showing what appears to be a local active protection system (APS) installed on two Armenian T-72B battle tanks.
One of the tanks was captured by Azerbaijani forces in the battle of Nagorno-Karabakh. Later it was showcased in the December 10 Baku Victory Parade. Another tank was destroyed in the battle.
Armenia and the Artsakh Defense Forces have not yet shared any information on the mysterious APS. Some experts took the destroyed tank photo as an evidence of the APS failure. Nevertheless, this was not likely the case.
— The Dead District (@TheDeadDistrict) December 15, 2020
The system is an infrared jammer with a design similar to that of the Soviet Shtora-1 APS. Infrared jammers are meant to stop a specific type of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), which are guided either by automatic or semi-automatic command to line of sight.
Most of the ATGMs and guided munitions used by Azerbaijani forces during Nagorno-Karabakh battle were not in fact command guided.
Azerbaijani forces relied on Turkish-made MAM-L and MAM-C munitions launched from by Bayraktar TB2 drones. These munitions are guided by semi-active laser. Infrared jammers can’t defeat this guidance system.
On the ground, Azerbaijani troops used laser-beam riding ATGMs, like the Russian Kornet, or optical guided ATGMs, like the Israeli-made Spike. Again, infrared jammers are not meant to stop such systems.
Azerbaijani forces also used loitering munitions, like the Israeli-made Harop and SkyStriker, which lock on their target using optical system.
As for now there is no way to tell how successful was Armenia’s mysterious APS. In Syria, government troops fielded a similar domestic system, dubbed “Sarab,” with much success, according to a number of sources.
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