New Syrian Army Infrared Jammer Protects Tanks vs TOW and other ATGMs
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) of dictator Bashar al Assad has developed and deployed a home grown active protection system (APS) that's defeating U.S. and Russian wire-guided anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) being used to devastating effect against its tanks.
This APS is what's called a "soft kill" counterneasure that doesn't destroy an oncoming ATGM but instead confuses its guidance system, causing it to miss its target. Named "Sarab-1," this countermeasure system was rapidly mounted onto the SAA's Russian-made tanks, mainly four decade-old T-72s, to defeat ATGMs fired from long range.
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The nemesis of the SAA's tanks are the U.S. BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) missile with a range of 4,200 meters; the Russian 9M113 Konkurs with a range of 4,000 meters and the Russian 9K115 Metis with a range of 1,000 meters.
Numerous YouTube videos posted by anti-Assad fighters show these ATGMs repeatedly blowing-up with apparent impunity SAA tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and other military equipment. SAA operates over 4,000 tanks, mostly obsolete Russian models.
The Syrians said Sarab-1, which was developed by the Syrian Scientific Research Center (SSRC) and deployed in early 2016, has dramatically reduced the vulnerability of its armor to rebel ATGM attacks. The original Sarab-1 has since been upgraded to Sarab-2.
SSRC described Sarab-1 as an infrared jammer that disrupts the optical command line used by second generation Semi-Active Command to Line of Sight (SACLOS) ATGMs such as TOW, Konkurs and Metis.
The system mimics the signal emitted by the flare positioned at the missile's tail. It feeds false positional information to the command system's sensor, causing the missile to miss its target.
The Israeli army first introduced this principle in Lebanon in the 1990s. The technology was later adopted by the Russian Ground Forces with its SHTORA system developed for the T-90.
Sarab-1 uses powerful Infrared LED lights and magnifying lenses that were claimed to be 80 percent effective against SACLOS missiles. The entire system includes multiple emitters covering the frontal arc of a tank such as a T-62 or an IFV. It has only six hours of battery life before it shuts down.
Sarab-2 was completed and delivered to combat units towards the end of 2016. Sarab-3, the latest iteration, provides 360 degree coverage and stacked IR light sources. It might also have laser diodes that emit more advanced deception patterns.