Active Protection is a countermeasure against threats to an armored vehicle. The term covers a wide range of systems intended to supplement the vehicle's own armor.
Some active protection systems use "hard-kill" methods to intercept incoming anti-vehicle weaponry or counterattack the platforms using them. Examples include the "Iron Fist" system developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI), reactive armor, and close-in weapon systems.
- Main article: Active Defense System
— In-game description
Active Protection is by far the most common countermeasure deployed by ground vehicles as it offers protection benefits in ways the IR Smoke and IR Flares cannot. It can absorb a large amount of damage while activated (2.5 seconds while green lights are on). After running for 5 seconds it will enter a recharge phase where it will have a red light glowing on and off, requiring about 20 seconds until fully recharged, leaving the vehicle vulnerable throughout the entire duration.
Although its benefit of invulnerability to most projectiles for a limited amount of time, the Active Protection has multiple shortcomings. It is notorious for its complication for use by newer players, as many tend to make the mistake of activating the countermeasure prematurely or too late for optimal protection. Another shortcoming is its vulnerability of being unable to break missile and laser locks in the way IR Smokes do, leaving the vehicle open for multiple guided munitions to penetrate the vehicle's defenses after countermeasure expenditure. With guided munitions, the operator of the Active Protection can be "tricked" into deploying prematurely if the munition launch source deliberately breaks weapon lock after firing and then re-acquiring the target when the countermeasure expires. Other weapons such as STAFF Shells or MBT LAW have the ability of spoofing both the counter measure and the operator itself into deploying it in surprise, as both weapons do not reveal their presence until within close proximity of the target. In most similar cases, it is not uncommon for Active Protection operators to activate the countermeasure too late for it to take effect, leaving users in the belief that Active Protection cannot protect against these weapons when it fact it can.
While able to neutralize threats such as JDAM Bombs and 30mm GAU Cannon fire, the countermeasure cannot protect against certain other weapons such as the TV Missile and deployed explosive munitions such as Anti-Tank Mines or C4, even if it is detonated away from direct-contact. The TV Missile is a peculiar case, as the munition is identified as a "vehicle" instead of a "munition" by the game engine of which the Active Protection targets, and thus is completely ignored by the countermeasure. This discrepancy is not particularly well known or familiar by the many operators of the countermeasure whom are commonly seen activating the countermeasure in vain of protecting their vehicles from in incoming TV missile to no avail, leaving them vulnerable to other munitions which would otherwise be neutralised by the countermeasure.
Another note of the Active Protection is that enemy forces firing weapons such as unguided rockets at point-blank range can damage or kill themselves or others upon detonation by the Active Protection whilst leaving the targeted vehicle undamaged, registering as a "suicide" on the killfeed. This can also affect friendly infantry within the same distance of proximity.
- As of the Battlefield 4: Community Operations update, the Active Protection's activation time has been reduced to 2.5 seconds from the original 5 seconds, contrary to the patch notes released by the game developers noting about making the counter measure system more "reliable".