The US and Israel worked together to integrate Rafael’s Trophy defense system for four tank brigades within both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Abrams variants.
The first Trophy active defense systems to shield US Army Abrams tanks from a variety of anti-armor threats has been delivered on time, Israeli defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced on Tuesday.
“The deliveries are the culmination of a multi-year qualification process,” Rafael said in a statement, adding that a “joint team of government and industry from both the US and Israel worked together to adapt and integrate Trophy for both Army and Marine Corps Abrams variants.”
The US Army awarded a contract last year worth close to $200 million for Israel’s Trophy active defense system to shield its Abrams tanks, “in support of immediate operational requirements.”
The delivery marks the first of several that will outfit four brigades of tanks.
Rafael CEO and President Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Yoav Har-Even said the delivery of the system “marks a major milestone in US-Israel cooperation. There is no greater pride and satisfaction than the knowledge that the technology developed by Rafael and Elta over many years of investment, trials, and combat performance will play an instrumental part in safeguarding American lives, just like it has saved Israeli lives and revolutionized the way our armored forces perform their missions.
“Rafael and Leonardo DRS are proud to deliver the first Trophy systems to US war-fighters on time. We were tasked to meet challenging production time lines, an integration process and the most challenging test scenarios.”
Designed to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles, the Trophy system has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as anti-tank-guided-missiles (ATGMs), and rocket-propelled grenades. Once a projectile is detected, the Trophy system fires a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat.
Under the terms of the contract, the systems, countermeasures and maintenance kits will be supplied by the American defense contractor Leonardo DRS, Inc., which partnered with Rafael to manufacture them.
The systems will be manufactured both in the US and Israel.
“We are proud to deliver the first advanced defensive protection systems for our front-line tanks to give our war-fighters a needed layer of survivability against real and emerging battlefield threats,” said William J. Lynn, CEO of Leonardo DRS. “Our partnership between Leonardo DRS and RAFAEL has worked tirelessly to bring this battle-proven technology to the US military while improving the system to meet the stringent needs and requirements from the customer.”
The Trophy Active Protection System (APS), developed by Rafael, is the only fully operational and combat-proven APS in the world. According to Rafael, the company has provided some 1,000 systems to all major Israeli ground combat platforms.
According to a 2016 US Army training handbook on foreign weapon systems, “the anti-tank guided missile is the single greatest threat to tanks today,” with a variety of platforms to launch them continuing to increase.
The Trophy has been installed on Israel’s Merkava tanks since 2009, and has also been installed on the IDF’s Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle and the IDF’s new armored personnel carrier, the Eitan.
The Trophy System received its “baptism by fire” on March 1, 2011, when it neutralized an RPG antitank rocket that had been fired from a short range toward an IDF Merkava Mark-IV tank close to the border with the Gaza Strip.
The system has since proved its efficacy in several operations, especially during Operation Protective Edge, where IDF tanks were able to operate in the Gaza Strip without suffering any losses.
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