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Trophy's AESA radar and dummy launcher
|Place of origin||Israel|
|Designer||Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elta Group|
Trophy (Israel Defense Forces designation מעיל רוח, lit. "Windbreaker") is a military active protection system (APS) for vehicles. It intercepts and destroys incoming missiles, rockets, and tank HEAT rounds with a sniper-like blast. Its principal purpose is to supplement the armour of light and heavy armored fighting vehicles. Developed by long-time partner Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel and currently fielding over 1,000 systems to all major Israeli ground combat platforms (Merkava Mark 3 & 4 and Namer APCs), as well as U.S. Abrams M1A1/2, and tested on the Stryker APC's and Bradley AFV's, TROPHY enables not only protection against a wide variety of anti-tank threats, but also maximizes the vehicle's ability to identify enemy location to crews and combat formation, thereby providing greater survivability and maneuverability in all combat theatres.
Trophy's first production contract was signed in 2007. Safety certification was granted in 2010. First deliveries started immediately afterward. The design includes the Elta EL/M-2133 F/G band fire-control radar with four flat-panel antennas mounted on the vehicle, with a 360-degree field of view. When a projectile is detected, the internal computer calculates an approach vector almost instantly, before it arrives. Once the incoming weapon is fully classified, the computers calculate the optimal time and angle to fire the counter-measures. The response comes from two rotating launchers installed on the sides of the vehicle which fire a very small number of a MEFP's (Multiple Explosive Formed Penetrators) which form a very tight, precise matrix, aimed at a specific point on the threats Anti-Tank weapon's warhead. The system is designed to have a very small kill zone, so as not to endanger personnel adjacent to the protected vehicle. Trophy is a modular system that enables connectivity to other systems, such as soft-kill, C4I systems, remote-controlled weapon stations, etc.
The system is designed to work against all types of anti-tank missiles, rockets, and tank HEAT rounds, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades or recoilless rifles. The system can simultaneously engage several threats arriving from different directions, is effective on stationary or moving platforms, and is effective against both short- and long-range threats. Newer versions of the system include a reloading feature for multiple firings. The Trophy development plan includes an enhanced countermeasures unit to be available in the future for protection against kinetic energy penetrators.
The primary role of Trophy is defence against missile strikes, particularly for lighter armored personnel carriers, which are very vulnerable to rocket attacks. Since 2011, the system has achieved 100% success in all low and high-intensity combat events, in diversified terrain (urban, open and foliage). The system has intercepted a variety of threats, including the Kornet ATGM, RPG-29, etc. the U.S Army has reported similar success in tests. “I tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed,” said US Army Col. Glenn Dean. According to Rafael, by 2017, Trophy has accrued over 500,000 operating hours in deployment, bringing the system to a maximum reliability level. In order to ensure minimal collateral damage and low residual penetration, Rafael selected a unique kill mechanism for Trophy, with a surgical effect. The system uses a miniature EFP which penetrates the threat envelope and disintegrates RPG's at a safe distance from the vehicle. In the ATGM's case, the EFP will affect the chemical energy jet, dramatically decreasing its penetration capability into medium-sized platforms. Moreover, it has been proven in tests and wartime, that such a kill mechanism poses an extremely low risk to dismounts around the vehicle, and therefore does not affect usual combined arms tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP). In order to provide thousands of systems to its customers, Rafael established the first Trophy production line in Israel in 2007, which began delivery in 2010. An additional production line was established in the U.S in 2012, which started deliveries in 2015, with a primary purpose of providing Trophy systems to the IDF as part of the FMF (Foreign Military Funding). Both production line will be used for the U.S. contract and others.
Trophy as a maneuverability enabler
Trophy's radar is responsible for searching, detecting, classifying, locating, and reporting potential threats to the vehicle's onboard computer network and beyond to the tactical network, creating a Hostile Fire Detection (HFD) capability, which alerts the crew and formation from incoming threats, and instantly provides the exact shooter location on the existing platform display. If Trophy identifies that the threat is going to miss the platform, it will not activate the countermeasure but will provide the shooter location, enabling instantaneous engagement by the combat team, preventing further attacks. The advantage of the built-in HFD capability in symmetric warfare is its ability to provide enemy tank location as well, enabling the combat team to counter-attack the enemy tank.
The system is currently incapable of defeating KE tank rounds. Prior to Rafael's declaration of its Medium-sized vehicle active protection Trophy variant (Trophy MV/VPS), there were claims regarding Trophy HV's size and weight.
Previously known as "Trophy Light", "Trophy MV/VPS" was unveiled by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems at Britain’s DSEi 2007. While the standard Trophy was designed for main battle tanks, Trophy MV/VPS is designed for integration with light and medium armoured vehicles, such as the Stryker, Bradley, etc. It is expected to be about 40% less in weight and size of the standard Trophy and cost less while maintaining the same performance and reliability as the Trophy HV variant, this as a result of the use of the same major critical elements - the sensor suite, the mission computer, and the hard-kill mechanism, using the same combat algorithms. It has been reported that Leonardo DRS, Rafael's partner for Trophy in the U.S will provide the modified auto-loader for the system. In the Summer of 2018, Rafael conducted an extensive series of qualification tests for Trophy MV/VPS in Israel, with the presence of over 130 decision makers and technical experts from over 15 countries. The tests were conducted in extreme scenarios, using both rockets and ATGM's. The reported success rate was over 95%.
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. It weighs 200 kilograms (440 lb), significantly less than other Trophy applications.
Combination with Iron Fist
In December 2014, it was revealed that Rafael, IAI, and Israel Military Industries 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 and 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.. No progress has been reported since then.
Acquisition and tests by the United States
Trophy has been evaluated with extensive testing on a Stryker vehicle for possible adoption by the US Army, and a Canadian LAV III. The Army tested the Trophy system in 2017, to be fielded within two years as an interim capability until the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) program produces a system. A 193 million dollar contract for Trophy was awarded to Leonardo DRS, Rafael's American partner, in June 2018, in order to equip a significant number of Abrams M1A1/A2 MBT's with Trophy.
Following the series of tests of the Trophy system, the IDF Ground Forces Command declared the Trophy operational in August 2009. It was scheduled to be installed in an entire battalion of Israeli Armored Corps tanks by 2010.
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 defence system. 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 fire. On August 1, 2012, Trophy successfully intercepted an anti-tank missile launched from the Gaza Strip at a Merkava tank near Kissufim junction.
On July 14, 2014, the Trophy system successfully intercepted a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile fired from Gaza at an IDF tank. 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. 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. 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. The appearance of near-invulnerable mobile land platforms suggest the current warfare paradigm may need revising. Trophy is currently operational on all Merkava Mark-IV tanks of the IDF's 401st Armored Brigade, as well as with the 7th Armored Brigade 75th Battalion new Merkava IV tanks. In July, the Israeli MOD announced it has completed the integration of Trophy on its first brigade company of NAMER APCs. At the same time, it has also been declared that the Trophy is slated to be fitted on the IDF's "Eitan" wheeled armored vehicle. in November 2016 it was announced that the IDF will purchase hundreds more Trophy systems to be installed on almost all of its Merkava 4 MBTs and NAMER APC/IFVs.
Operation Protective Edge
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. The system, by identifying the source of fire, on occasion also allowed tanks to kill the Hamas anti-tank team.
Giora Katz, head of Rafael's land division, stated that it was a "breakthrough because it is the first time in military history where an active defense system has proven itself in intense fighting." 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".
- Drozd – The first attempt at making an active protection system by the Soviet Union.
- Arena – An updated and more effective version of Drozd.
- Zaslon – Ukrainian APS for use on BM Oplot tanks.
- Iron Fist – Another Israeli active protection system developed by Israel Military Industries.
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