Should the US Army decide to acquire the added defensive technology, they will be the first army outside the IDF to install the battle-tested, ‘Trophy’ active protection system.
After years of testing Israel’s Trophy active protection system, the US Army is close to giving the green light to having it installed on the M1A1 Abrams tank.
The US Army would then be the first army outside the IDF to use the system.
Maj.-Gen. David Bassett, who is in charge of the US Army’s programs in the area of ground combat systems, was quoted by the DefenseTech website as saying that he plans to make the decision on the system as soon as possible.
“We’re very close to a decision on the Trophy system,” he said, adding that “we’re looking to make those decisions rapidly so that we can spend money in the next fiscal year,” he said.
The estimated cost of the Trophy system per tank is $350,000.
With American troops operating in theaters such as Syria or Iraq, the US has understood that ground forces and armored vehicles are sitting ducks without any active protection systems.
Designed to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles, the Trophy system has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) and rocket-propelled grenades. Once a projectile is detected, the Trophy system fires a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat.
The Trophy Active Protection System (APS), developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Group, has been installed on Israel’s Merkava tanks since 2009 and is the only fully operational and combat-proven APS in the world.
Israel’s ‘Namer’ APC, has Merkava Tank armor, is outfitted with the Trophy anti-tank missile protection system and now with a 30 mm cannon.
It has also been installed on the IDF’s Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle (above) and the IDF’s new armored personnel carrier, the Eitan (below), which is set to enter operational use for infantry battalions in the coming year.
IDF’s Eitan, 8-wheeled APC going through rigorous training exercise.
Apart from the Trophy system, the US Army is also considering two other active protection systems – the Iron Curtain, developed by the American firm Artis, and Iron Fist, designed by Israel Military Industries.
IMI’s Iron Fist uses a radar to detect, track and intercept incoming RPGs and antitank missiles among other threats to the vehicle and its crew. In addition, the system can also identify the source of the fire.
The Iron Curtain APS system was developed to neutralize incoming enemy fire at extremely close range.
According to the company, Iron Curtain can be integrated onto any ground vehicle platform, as well as rotary-winged aircraft, watercraft and fixed sites, such as buildings.
But unlike the Trophy system, both Iron Fist and Iron Curtain have not been operationally proven.
“One of the things that makes acquisition go faster is by picking things that don’t require as much design,” Bassett is quoted as saying, adding that he is “not interested in developing; I’m interested in delivering.”
According to the report, Bassett ultimately envisions “a brigade’s worth of capability of Trophy on the Abrams,” one of the most heavily armored vehicles in existence.
The Trophy system received its “baptism by fire” on March 1, 2011, when it neutralized an RPG antitank rocket which 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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