By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. The world success of the Rafael active protection systems continues. Rafael announced that its Trophy Active Protection System (APS) for armoured vehicles has been selected for the next phase of detailed assessment and integration by the UK Ministry of Defence for the Army’s Challenger 3 MBT. The selection is a result of a study conducted by the UK MOD as part of an upgrade program led by prime contractor Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), which will entail detailed integration and system trials of this lighter Trophy variant (Trophy MV), to fit the particular requirements of this vehicle.
Developed by Rafael in response to successful anti-armour attacks, Trophy APS provides mature, combat-proven protection against rocket and missile threats and simultaneously locates the origin of the hostile fire for immediate response. Trophy is the only fully-integrated, combat-proven APS in the world and has been installed on Israel Defence Forces’ Merkava tanks since 2010, and has also been installed on the Namer APCs. Trophy has also been supplied to four US Army Abrams MBT brigades, and will soon be supplied to Germany for its Leopard MBT’s.
Trophy has made numerous combat interceptions with no injuries to crews or dismounted troops or damage to platforms since its first operational interception in 2011. Trophy has accrued over 1,000,000 operating hours, including 5,400 successful field tests, and is now under contract for serial production of over 1,800 systems.
David Farmer, Team Leader for the Challenger 3 delivery team at Defence, Equipment & Support, the procurement arm of the UK MOD, said: “I am delighted to welcome Rafael to our cohort of industry delivery partners who are working together to bring Challenger 3 to life. This is a significant programme for Defence, and the British Army and represents a huge shift in the modernisation of our land forces. The pioneering new technology that we are planning to use will allow us to deliver an immense warfighting capability.”
Brig. Gen (Retd) Michael Lurie, head of Rafael’s land manoeuvrability systems directorate: “Trophy APS has saved the lives of numerous soldiers and has been instrumental in protecting assets on the battlefield and enabling tank crews to manoeuver safely under anti-tank fire and perform their missions safely and fully. This system has changed the rules of the game in the armoured warfare arena, and the UK’s decision to choose Trophy for the protection of its crews, ushers in a new era for its armored forces as well. We are thankful to our UK partners for joining other nations and tier-1 armoured corps who have put their trust in Rafael’s Trophy APS.”
Rafael has recently added an electro optical sensor to its Trophy protection system installed on Israeli, American and soon on German tanks. The electro optical sensor works in parallel to the radar system which is the main sensor of the Trophy. According to Rafael, the electro optical sensor shortens the reaction time and allows the tank crew to hit the enemy that launched an anti-tank weapon seconds after the weapon began its trajectory. The new sensor will be offered to the US army that is using the Israeli protection systems. Leonardo DRS, Inc. and Rafael have recently completed the delivery of Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) ordered by the US Army for installation on Abrams main battle tanks. This marks a major milestone in the Army’s efforts to outfit multiple brigades of tanks with APS to protect soldiers’ lives against increasing anti-armour threats.
Under contracts awarded on an urgent need basis by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, the companies delivered the first APS systems in September 2019 for both the US Army and Marine Corps. A joint team of government and industry from both the US and Israel worked together to adapt and integrate Trophy for the two services’ Abrams variants. This delivery culminates a multi-year effort by the Army to study and rapidly field active protection due to the urgency of the threat and the growing need for improved ground vehicle survivability.
The US Army is also assessing the next generation “Trophy VPS,” a smaller, lighter, equally-capable variant of Trophy that will provide protection to a broader range of US ground combat vehicles. Now Rafael will offer the new electro optical sensor as an upgrade to existing systems.
Press here for Trophy APS video: https://youtu.be/bFUynqiD7N0
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of the publication. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda