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Trophy (countermeasure)

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Trophy AESA radar and dummy launcher
Place of originIsrael
Service history
WarsGaza–Israel conflict
Operation Protective Edge
2023 Israel-Hamas war
Production history
DesignerRafael Advanced Defense Systems
ManufacturerRafael Advanced Defense Systems
EuroTrophy GmbH
Mass820 kilograms (1,810 lb) (Trophy HV) 480 kilograms (1,060 lb) (Trophy MV/VPS)[1]
Trophy's radar and covered projectile launcher.
Merkava Mk 4m equipped with Trophy APS technology during Operation Protective Edge.

Trophy (Israel Defense Forces designation מעיל רוח, lit. "Windbreaker") is a military armored vehicle active protection system (APS) designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Its principal purpose is to supplement the armor of light and heavy armored fighting vehicles. The system is in active use on Merkava Mark 3 & 4 and Namer APCs and U.S. Abrams M1A1/2, and tested on the Stryker APCs and Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs).

Trophy protects against a wide variety of anti-tank threats, while also enhancing the vehicle's ability to identify enemy location to crews and combat formation, thereby providing greater survivability in numerous combat environments.



Trophy's first production manufacturing contract between IDF and Rafael was signed in 2007. Israeli Government/IDF Safety certification was granted in 2010. First deliveries began immediately afterward. The design is centered on the Elta EL/M-2133 F/G band fire-control radar with four flat-panel antennas mounted on the vehicle, this provides a 360-degree sensing field around the protected vehicle.

The system allegedly relies heavily on high-speed computational technologies. Upon detection of an incoming projectile, the system automatically computes various parameters, such as the approach vector, nature of the threat, time to impact, and angle of approach. The defensive projectiles are launched by two rotating projectile launchers positioned on the sides of the vehicle. These launchers deploy a number of small EFPs (Explosively Formed Penetrators), forming a precise and closely spaced matrix, targeting an area in front of the anti-tank projectile. The system has been engineered with a narrow kill zone to ensure the safety of friendly personnel in close proximity to the protected vehicle.[2]

Trophy is a system that enables connectivity to other technologies, such as soft-kill, C4I systems, remote-controlled weapons stations, etc. The system is designed to defend against many types of anti-tank guided missiles, rockets, and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, shoulder launched weapons such as rocket propelled grenades and recoilless rifles.

The system can simultaneously engage numerous threats arriving from different directions, it is effective on stationary or moving platforms, and is effective against both short- and long-range threats. Newer versions of the system include an automated reloading feature for multiple firings of defensive counter projectiles. Rafael's development program for the system includes an enhanced countermeasures unit - to be available in the future to protect against kinetic energy penetrators.[3]

Based on data from 2013, adding the Trophy system to a Merkava Mk. IVM[4] potentially adds 30 percent to the cost of each vehicle.[5]

By 2023, 40 Trophy systems and 500 countermeasures were being produced per month.[6]

Capabilities and effectiveness


Trophy as an active protective technology system has proven highly effective in protecting armored vehicles such as armored personnel carriers, tanks, and related mechanized armor. By 2017, according to the manufacturer the Trophy system had 50,000 hours of active operational usage.[7]

Since 2011, Israel claimed that the Trophy system has been operationally successful in low and high-intensity combat situations, including urban, open and forested environments. The system has intercepted a variety of threats, including the 9M133 Kornet ATGM, RPG-29, etc. The U.S. Army has reported similar success in tests.[8]

The system utilizes small EFPs which are projected towards the incoming threat; energy, debris and explosive pressure waves disintegrate the incoming projectile at a safe distance from the vehicle. In the ATGM's case, the EFP will affect the shaped plasma jet, dramatically decreasing its penetration ability. Trophy is claimed to be effective in defending armored vehicles from so called top attack missiles, or an attack on the thinner upper armor of an armored vehicle.[9]

Rafael established the first Trophy production line in Israel in 2007, which began delivery in 2010. Another production line was established in the U.S in 2012, beginning deliveries in 2015, with a main purpose of providing Trophy systems to the IDF as part of the Foreign Military Funding (FMF) program. Both production lines will be used for the U.S. contract and others.[10]

Use of the system as a target locator


The radar system of the Trophy technology searches, detects, and classifies incoming projectile risk. It feeds all data to the vehicle's onboard computer and also to an external network for data sharing among other supporting units. This capability notifies both the crew of individual vehicles and the wider combat formation about incoming threats and the exact locations of potential shooters. This feature makes the system highly effective for both single vehicles and by larger combat groups.

This data sharing and shooter location assist in the units combat effectiveness, allowing other assets to acquire the hostile target and not just a single armored vehicle. Trophy can identify if a threat will miss the targeted platform, in this case it will not activate the countermeasure but provides shared location data, enabling rapid engagement by the full combat team.[11]

System limitations


The system is currently incapable of defeating kinetic energy anti-tank weapons. Current and future systems based on technologies that resemble the cancelled MGM-166 LOSAT technology and the Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (CKEM) designs - are able to easily defeat the Trophy system.[12]

One of the concerns with this system is its weight. The core system, designed for heavier frontline tanks, weighs approximately half a ton.[13][14] In comparison to the weight of a modern main battle tank, which is around 73-tons, it might be viewed as acceptable. However, on smaller vehicles the core system certainly impacts the power-to-weight ratio. There are numerous offerings for lighter armored vehicles which address this concern.[15]

The system utilizes small EFPs which are projected towards the incoming threat; energy, debris and explosive pressure waves disintegrate the incoming projectile. As such, the system has a risk to dismounted infantry, and this system impacts traditional infantry supported mechanized warfare tactics.

The Trophy system have a donut-hole like window of vulnerability to attacks from directly above, or the slow speed of the drone and the gravity-dropped grenade might have caused it to be filtered out by the Trophy’s sensors. In October 2023, Hamas used civilian DJI and Autel quadcopter drones, which dropped shaped-charge grenades to damage several tanks.[16]

According to an informational 'flyer' distributed by Hamas, the system can be defeated by firing an RPG-7 from within 50m, or using a weapon with a projectile that exceeds the speed of sound, such as the SPG-9 recoilless gun. Firing multiple rounds in quick succession is also a tactic for overwhelming this system.[17]

In October 2023, Hezbollah used AT-14 Kornet missiles during engagements with Israeli forces after the onset of the 2023 Israel-Hamas War. The missiles were used from the Tharallah Twin ATGM system,[18] which is a quadripod equipped with two Kornets fired in rapid succession. This arrangement is designed to overwhelm the Trophy APS of Merkava tanks by having a second missile available before the APS can react after the first intercept (reloading requires at least 1.5 seconds). Hezbollah reportedly acquired the Tharallah ATGM system in 2015.[19] In July 2024, Hezbollah published a video recorded by a camera installed on ATGM targeting Merkava tank, which activated the Trophy system. The video was followed by footage from another camera showing smoke from the tank location. Israel did not comment on video, similarly to how it ignored previous videos.

As active defense becomes the norm in armored vehicle designs, it adds to inherent maintenance complexity. Areas such as the radar sensors are fundamentally exposed and vulnerable and this is a design concern.[20]

Trophy MV/VPS

A Namer AFV equipped with Rafael's Trophy system.

Formerly known as "Trophy Light", Trophy MV/VPS was introduced by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems during Britain's DSEi 2007. Unlike the standard Trophy system, which was primarily designed for main battle tanks, the Trophy MV/VPS was specifically engineered for integration with light and medium armored vehicles, such as the Stryker and Bradley. Notably, this system was anticipated to be approximately 40% lighter and smaller than the standard Trophy, offering cost savings without compromising on performance or reliability. This achievement was made possible through the continued utilization of major critical components, including the sensor suite, mission computer, and hard-kill mechanism, along with the application of the same combat algorithms as the Trophy HV variant.

Furthermore, it was reported that Leonardo DRS, Rafael's partner for the Trophy system in the United States, would be responsible for providing the modified auto-loader required for the Trophy MV/VPS.

In the summer of 2018, Rafael conducted an extensive series of qualification tests for the Trophy MV/VPS in Israel. These tests saw the participation of over 130 decision-makers and technical experts from more than 15 countries. Notably, these tests were carried out in extreme scenarios, encompassing both rocket and anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) threats. Impressively, the reported success rate from these tests exceeded 95%. This outcome underlined the system's capability to effectively defend against a variety of threats, solidifying its standing as a reliable and advanced solution for enhancing the protection of light and medium armored vehicles.[21]

Trophy LV


In June 2014, Rafael unveiled Trophy LV, a lighter application of the system designed to offer protection to light military vehicles (less than 8 tons) such as jeeps and 4x4s. The system weighs 200 kilograms (440 lb), significantly less than other Trophy applications.[22][23][24][25][26]

Combination with Iron Fist


In December 2014, it was revealed that Rafael, IAI, and Israel Military Industries (IMI) had agreed to jointly develop a next-generation active defense system for vehicles, based on a combination of the Rafael/IAI Trophy and IMI Iron Fist. Rafael will act as the main contractor, system developer, and integrator, and IAI and IMI will be subcontractors. The Defense Ministry had pushed the companies to work together and combine their systems.[27] No progress has been reported since then.

International operators






In February 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the German Federal Ministry of Defense signed a government-to-government agreement to supply the Trophy system to the German military, for its fleet of Leopard 2 tanks.[28] Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Defense said the covers the supply of systems for a tank company, interceptors, spare parts, and operational and technical training.

The systems were to be delivered over the next several years, the ministry added. Rafael said it had been awarded a contract for an initial batch of Trophy systems and that Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) had also been awarded a contract. Rafael executive vice-president Ran Gozali, who heads the company's land and naval division, said the two companies would integrate and install Trophy on the Leopard 2 and future platforms. KMW told Janes Information Services on 23 February that it would install the systems on Leopard 2A6M3 tanks through to 2023. A KMW image of the tank after the upgrade designated it as the Leopard 2A7A1.

Rafael expected Germany to procure more Trophy systems to equip most of its Leopard 2s.[29] On 2 November 2021, Israel's Ministry of Defense and the German Federal Ministry of Defense have announced successful completion of trials of the Trophy system on Germany's Leopard 2 tanks, conducted on the prior week.[30]

The trials included various scenarios to challenge the system, with over 90% of attacks on the tanks intercepted, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry,[31] while the location of the source of fire was also accurately detected. The trials marked the completion of installation of the Trophy systems onto the German tanks.[32]

United States


Trophy[25][33] has been evaluated with extensive testing on a Stryker vehicle[34][35] for possible adoption by the US Army,[36] and a Canadian LAV III.[37][38][39][40] The Army tested the Trophy system in 2017, to be fielded within two years as an interim system until the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) program produces a system.[41][42] A 193 million dollar contract for Trophy was awarded to Leonardo DRS, Rafael's American partner, in June 2018, to equip a significant number of Abrams M1A1/A2 MBTs with Trophy.[43] In January 2021, Rafael and Leonardo DRS completed urgent deliveries of enough Trophies to the Army to equip all tanks of four armored brigades, some 400 systems.[44]

Under evaluation


United Kingdom


On 24 June 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence and Rafael have announced that Trophy has been selected for detailed assessment and potential integration into the British Army's Challenger 3 main battle tank. Rafael said in a press release that the selection was the result of a study conducted by the ministry as part of the Challenger upgrade program led by prime contractor Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, involving detailed integration and system trials of the lighter Trophy MV variant.[45][46][47]

Combat history

IDF Merkava Mk. IV tank with Trophy APS
Namer CEV equipped with Trophy APS

Following the series of tests of the Trophy system, the IDF Ground Forces Command declared the Trophy operational in August 2009.[48] It was scheduled to be installed in a full battalion of Israeli Armored Corps tanks by 2010.[49]

On March 1, 2011, stationed near the Gaza border, a Merkava MK IV equipped with the Trophy system foiled a missile attack aimed toward it and became the first operational success of the Trophy active defense system.[50] On March 20, 2011, a missile was fired at a Merkava MK IV tank equipped with Trophy system inside the Israeli area along the perimeter fence of the Gaza Strip. The system detected the attack, but determined that it did not endanger the tank and did not intercept it; it passed information about the shooting to the crew, who attacked the source of the fire.[51][52][53] On August 1, 2012, Trophy successfully intercepted an anti-tank missile launched from the Gaza Strip at a Merkava tank near Kissufim junction.[54]

On July 14, 2014, the Trophy system successfully intercepted a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile fired from Gaza at an IDF tank.[55] Since the beginning of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge to July 20, 2014, at least four Israeli tanks of senior commanders were protected by the Trophy system in the Gaza Strip.[56] According to reports from the front, since the beginning of the ground operation, the system successfully intercepted five anti-tank missiles that were aimed at armored IDF vehicles in Gaza.[25] On July 22, 2014, according to a video by a Palestinian group, the Trophy system installed on a Merkava IV tank successfully intercepted an RPG-29 rocket fired at the tank.

According to Debkafile, Hamas has tried to stop Israeli tanks with two kinds of advanced guided anti-tank missiles, the Russian Kornet-E, and the 9M113 Konkurs, but Trophy intercepted them successfully.[57] The appearance of near-invulnerable mobile land platforms suggest the current warfare paradigm may need revising.[58] As of 2016, Trophy is operational on all Merkava Mark-IV tanks of the IDF's 401st Armored Brigade, and with the 7th Armored Brigade 75th Battalion's new Merkava IV tanks.

In July, the Israeli MOD announced it has completed integrating Trophy on its first brigade company of Namer APCs. In November 2016, it was announced that the IDF will buy hundreds more Trophy systems to install on almost all of its Merkava 4 MBTs and Namer APC/IFVs.[59]

Operation Protective Edge


Israel claimed no tanks were damaged during Operation Protective Edge, with the Trophy Active Protection system performing over a dozen interceptions of anti-tank weapons including Kornet, Metis, and RPG-29.[60] The system, by identifying the source of fire, on occasion also allowed tanks to kill the Hamas anti-tank team.[60]

Giora Katz, head of Rafael's land division, stated it was a "breakthrough because it is the first time in military history where an active defense system has proven itself in intense fighting."[61] During the war, Trophy validated itself in dozens of events, protecting tanks and crews over three weeks of high-threat maneuvering operations in built-up areas without a single hit to defended platforms and zero false alarms.[62]



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