In June 2018, Leonardo DRS and Rafael received a contract worth USD 193 million by U.S. Army to provide active protection systems (APS) for U.S. Army M1 main battle tanks. The TROPHY active protection systems will be installed in the Army’s new Abrams tanks. Developed by the Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Trophy-HV is the only combat proven active protection system available today. The system is fully tested and qualified and forms an integral part of the IDF Merkava MK4 main battle tank and other platforms.
This win is a milestone in the evolution of the relatively new market of APS, and it may be followed by orders from NATO members. But now it seems the market is developing into new applications, for lighter armored vehicles such as Bradley and Stryker Infantry fighting vehicles, or Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).
Defeating Live Rockets and Missiles
Installing APS systems on smaller platforms demands major changes to reduce the system’s weight without compromising the performance. This week Leonardo DRS and Rafael announced a successful completion of the re-design and the introduction of TROPHY Vehicle Protection System (VPS). They achieved up to 40% weight reduction and improved power management, with no reduction in its ability to protect against direct fire, anti-armor rocket and missile threats.
Integrated on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (photo above), the partners conducted an official tests in Israel that was monitored by officials from the US, NATO and other allied nations. It included over 300 live scenarios (live rockets and missiles), bringing the total number of live tests of Trophy to over 4000 since the start of the program. Threat defeat performance was well over 95%. During the next phase of the tests, Trophy VPS will be demonstrated in the US on the Stryker platform.
Meanwhile, the main competitor of Rafael’s APS, IMI Systems from Ramat Hasharon, Israel, introduced its own version of lightweight APS, called Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IF-LD) during AUSA 2018 Exposition thus week. IMI installed its system on Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The IF-LD APS is a hard-kill system that addresses a variety of threats such as short-range RPGs, anti-tank missiles, and more.
The IF-LD utilizes a blast interceptor for an effective and safe interception process. This results in the destruction of the threat without initiation its warhead while minimizing residual penetration. Due to its modular design which does not require penetrating the vehicle’s roof, the IF-LD provides an operational solution for all types of Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) from light armored vehicles up to MBTs.
IMI is in cooperation on its APS line General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) for the North American Markets. The Oshkosh JLTV delivers next-generation performance to serve ground forces missions, and will partly replace the Humvee in the US Army.