Trophy (countermeasure)

Trophy (Israel Defense Forces designation מעיל רוח, lit. "Windbreaker") is a military active protection system (APS) designed to protect vehicles from anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank rockets, and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds.[2] A small number of explosively formed projectiles destroy incoming threats before they hit the vehicle.[3] Its principal purpose is to supplement the armour of light and heavy armored fighting vehicles. Developed by 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), 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 maximizing the vehicle's ability to identify enemy location to crews and combat formation, thereby providing greater survivability and maneuverability in all combat theatres.

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

DesignEdit

Trophy's first production contract was signed in 2007. Safety certification was granted in 2010. First deliveries began immediately afterward. The design includes the Elta EL/M-2133[4] 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 before the projectile arrives. Once the incoming weapon is 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 MEFPs (Multiple Explosively Formed Penetrators) which form a very tight, precise matrix, aimed at a specific point on the anti-tank projectile's warhead. The system is designed to have a very small kill zone so that it does not endanger personnel near the protected vehicle.[citation needed]

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 guided missiles, rockets, and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades and 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 to protect against kinetic energy penetrators.[citation needed]

AdvantagesEdit

The main role of Trophy is defence against missile strikes, more so 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 9M133 Kornet ATGM, RPG-29, etc. the U.S Army has reported similar success in tests. “I tried to kill the Abrams tank with ATGM 48 times and failed, despite the fact that some of them were supersonic,” said US Army Col. Glenn Dean. According to Rafael, by 2017, Trophy has accrued over 50,000 operating hours in deployment, bringing the system to a maximum reliability level. To minimize collateral damage and 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 RPGs at a safe distance from the vehicle. In the ATGM's case, the EFP will affect the chemical energy jet, dramatically decreasing its penetration ability into medium-sized platforms. It has been proven in tests and battle, that such a kill mechanism poses an extremely low risk to dismounts around the vehicle, and thus does not affect usual combined arms tactics, techniques, and procedures. To provide thousands of systems to its customers, 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, which began 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.[citation needed]

Trophy is claimed to even be effective at defending against top attack missiles.[5]

Maneuverability enablerEdit

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) ability, which alerts the crew and formation about incoming threats, and instantly provides an exact shooter location on the existing platform display. If Trophy identifies that a threat will miss the platform, it does not activate the countermeasure but provides a shooter's location, enabling rapid engagement by the combat team, thus preventing more attacks. In symmetric warfare situations, Trophy's built-in HFD ability can provide tank crews with the location of enemy tanks, enabling tank crews to respond to incoming attacks.

DisadvantagesEdit

The system is currently incapable of defeating kinetic energy tank rounds.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Trophy MV/VPSEdit

 
Rafael's Trophy on Namer AFV.

Formerly 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 ATGMs. The reported success rate was over 95%.

Trophy LVEdit

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.[6][7][8][9][10]

Combination with Iron FistEdit

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.[11] No progress has been reported since then.

International operatorsEdit

CurrentEdit

GermanyEdit

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] The trials included various scenarios to challenge the system, with over 90% of attacks on the tanks intercepted, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry,[15] 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.[16]

United StatesEdit

Trophy[9][17] has been evaluated with extensive testing on a Stryker vehicle[18][19] for possible adoption by the US Army,[20] and a Canadian LAV III.[21][22][23][24] 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.[25][26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

TrialingEdit

United KingdomEdit

On 24 June 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence and Rafael have announced that Trophy was selected for detailed assessment and 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.[29][30][31]

Combat historyEdit

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

Following the series of tests of the Trophy system, the IDF Ground Forces Command declared the Trophy operational in August 2009.[32] It was scheduled to be installed in a full battalion of Israeli Armored Corps tanks by 2010.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35][36][37] On August 1, 2012, Trophy successfully intercepted an anti-tank missile launched from the Gaza Strip at a Merkava tank near Kissufim junction.[38]

On July 14, 2014, the Trophy system successfully intercepted a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile fired from Gaza at an IDF tank.[39] 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.[40] 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.[9] 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.[citation needed] 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.[41] The appearance of near-invulnerable mobile land platforms suggest the current warfare paradigm may need revising.[42] 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 new Merkava IV tanks. In July, the Israeli MOD announced it has completed integratng 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.

Operation Protective EdgeEdit

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.[43] The system, by identifying the source of fire, on occasion also allowed tanks to kill the Hamas anti-tank team.[43]

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."[44] 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".[45]

CostEdit

The Trophy "Heavy" system costs around US$900,000 to mount on a Merkava Mk. IVM.[46]

RelatedEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Trophy: Active Protection and Hostile Fire Detection System for Armored Vehicles (PDF). Leonardo DRS Land Systems (Report). St. Louis, Missouri. September 2019.
  2. ^ "Trophy Active Protection System for AFVs". www.rafael.co.il. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Freedberg, Sydney (March 5, 2018). "Trophy APS: The Best Defense Is Shooting Back". Breaking Defense. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  4. ^ "Brochure" (PDF). IAI-Elta. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Three US Army vehicle upgrade programs look smart after Russia’s Ukraine debacle. Breaking Defense. 18 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Trophy-LV is ready to protect (ES14E3)". Jane's. June 18, 2014. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
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  8. ^ "IAI will participate in Defexpo 2014". Israel Defense. February 2, 2014. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
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  11. ^ Rafael, IAI and IMI to jointly develop next-generation of active defense system for vehicle Archived January 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine - Armyrecognition.com, 30 December 2014
  12. ^ "Israel and Germany sign agreement to equip the German military with the Trophy APS (Press release)". Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. February 22, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Fiorenza, Nicholas (February 23, 2021). "Germany orders Trophy APS for Bundeswehr Leopard 2s". Janes.com. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
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  15. ^ Nicholas Fiorenza (November 4, 2021). "German Leopard 2 tested with Trophy APS for first time". Janes.com. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Danny Zaken (February 11, 2021). "Rafael's protection system installed on German tanks". Globes. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  17. ^ US-Israeli Team To Demo APS for Canada Archived October 20, 2013, at Archive-It - Defensenews.com, 15 October 2013
  18. ^ Colin Clark, US to try Israeli tank protector Archived November 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, DoD Buzz, October 25, 2010
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  21. ^ DRS Technologies completed tests with LAV-III armoured fitted with Active Protection System Trophy Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine - Armyrecognition.com, 26 October 2013
  22. ^ "Army shuns system to combat RPGs – Lisa Myers & the NBC News Investigative Unit – NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved September 6, 2006.
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  24. ^ "Analysis of Processes Used to Evaluate Active Protection Systems GAO-07-759". Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  25. ^ Missile Defense For Tanks: Raytheon Quick Kill Vs. Israeli Trophy Archived March 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine - Breakingdefense.com, 9 March 2016
  26. ^ Some Abrams Tanks Will Have 'Trophy' System By 2020: Army Archived October 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine - Military.com, 9 October 2017
  27. ^ Abrams tanks get new round of Israeli-made ‘shields’ to fend off anti-tank weapons. Army Times. 6 July 2018.
  28. ^ Army Tries (Again) To Protect Stryker: Rafael or Rheinmetall?. Breaking Defense. 8 January 2021.
  29. ^ Nicholas Fiorenza (June 25, 2021). "UK selects Trophy for Challenger 3". Janes.com. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  30. ^ "Rafael's Trophy Active Protection System selected for integration on the UK's Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank". www.rafael.co.il (Rafael Israeli website. June 26, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  31. ^ "Pioneering new technology for Challenger 3". www.army.mod.uk. June 24, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  32. ^ Katz, Yaakov (August 6, 2009). "Anti-tank missile defense system operational". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved August 6, 2009.[permanent dead link]
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  43. ^ a b Rescued 15 of tanks: Armored Iron Dome Gaza Archived February 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine אמיר בוחבוט יום רביעי, 30 ביולי 2014
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  45. ^ Israel To Equip Troop Carriers With Trophy APS By Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News 12:43 p.m. EST January 28, 2016
  46. ^ Zitun, Yoav (March 29, 2013). "לפיד מקצץ בביטחון: "חשש שמיגון טנקים ייפגע"" [Army prepares for budget cuts]. YNetNews (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2013.

External linksEdit