Active protection systems such as Rafael’s Trophy and IMI Systems Iron Fist are perceived as exceptional systems, due to their extreme capabilities and performance. It now seems that NATO is choosing the path taken by Israel some time ago – deploying active protection systems for its combat vehicles.
This week, Swedish BAE Systems, announced it has received a contract from the Netherlands for supplying its CV90 combat vehicles with active protection systems. The active protection system will supply a protection suit against RPG rockets, anti-tank missiles and other threats endangering the APC and its personnel.
BAE will install the Iron Fist – an Israeli developed automated protection system. The Iron Fist was developed by IMI (former state owned Israeli Military Industries), and is already integrated into many of the IDFs “Namer” APCs, based on the renowned Israeli “Merkava” tank. Iron Fist is an automated system, using a RADA tactical radar to detect and track threats, taking action to eliminate these.
Infantry fighting platform
“Iron Fist will give the Dutch Army a highly sophisticated defensive tool on its CV90s to counter threats and improve the safety of the vehicle and its crew,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of Sweden-based BAE Systems Hägglunds. The CV90 combat vehicle was developed in Sweden in the 80es. It was designed to supply the Swedish army vehicles with high mobility, air defence and anti-tank capability, high survivability and protection. The BAE vehicles have enjoyed great popularity ever since. The current geo-political tensions have led Estonia to acquire new vehicles from the series, while the Netherlands deployed 200 CV90s only two years ago.
“During this test phase we will pre-qualify the active system against our threat specification, and together with our partners analyze system safety and prepare for its integration onto our CV9035NL vehicles,” said Hans de Goeij, project manager at the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation, Ministry of Defence. “We expect to make a decision on the next phase by early 2018. With Iron Fist, the Netherlands is expected to become the first NATO country with an Active Protection System of its kind on combat vehicles.”
Iron Fist with double edge
IRON FIST employs a sophisticated, multi-sensor early warning system, utilizing both infrared and radar sensors, providing the crew with enhanced situational awareness and early warning from potential threats. Upon a threat warning, the modular system employs the multi-layered defenses, comprising electro-optical jammers, Instantaneous smoke screens and, if necessary, an interceptor-based hard kill Active Protection System (APS). The system effectively protects against the full spectrum of Anti-Tank (AT) threats including AT Rockets fired at short range, in open area or urban environment, AT Guided Missiles, High Explosive AT and Kinetic Energy rounds.