The United States Army M1 Abrams tank, an American third-generation main battle tank, is being upgraded with an invisible shield that will destroy all chemical energy anti-tank threats and other threats before reaching the vehicle.
In other words, America’s main battle tank is adding an invisible force field to its defensive measures, which is straight out of a military science fiction novel.
Known as Trophy, this is the world’s first and only fully operational “Active Protection and Hostile Fire Detection System for Armored Vehicles,” said Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. This cutting-edge technology will provide M1 Abrams tanks with 360-degree security from all threats, as advanced algorithms are continually detecting, locating, and neutralizing anti-tank threats on the battlefield.
According to Fox News, the United States Army has chosen Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ tech to upgrade 261 M1 Abrams tanks into an unstoppable war machine. Here is what the cable news channel reported:
The Army has chosen Raphael’s tech to upgrade 261 M1 Abrams tanks with Israeli-made Trophy active-protection systems. For nearly a decade, Trophy has already been protecting Israel Defense Force Merkava main battle tanks and relied on in conflicts in the Gaza Strip for example. Now approximately 3 brigades worth of U.S. tanks will also bring Trophy into battles.
Several relevant militaries have already equipped some of their tanks with active protection systems. Russia is one country that has been aggressively ramping up their tanks and other assets with active protection systems like Trophy. They’ve also armed them with a deep arsenal of anti-armor weapons that can seriously damage or destroy the targeted tank in spite of its armor.
Trophy Active Protection system employs advanced algorithms that use radar to provide continuous 360-degree protection. The bolt on kit includes four antennas and two rotating launchers mounted on the turret of each tank (see below).
Once the threat is discovered, the algorithm classifies the threat, and if a direct hit is calculated, the countermeasure systems are automatically activated, and a tight pattern of explosively shaped penetrators launches at the warhead to neutralize the threat (as shown below).
The United States Army is planning for decades of hybrid wars, the Trophy system mounted onto its tanks could be the best deterrent from Chinese or Russian advanced anti-tank threats. Here is why:
Neutralizes a wide variety of anti-armor threats, from RPGs to the most modern anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs)
Very high kill probability at distances that greatly reduce the chance of residual penetration
Engages threats only if they pose a danger to the platform • Extremely low false alarm rate proven over years of developmental testing and operational employment
Minimizes collateral damage through kinetic (non-explosive) intercept
Immediately calculates and reports shooter location to the crew and/or Battle Management System
Neutralizes threats fired at very short range, and multiple, simultaneous threats from the same or different directions
User-defined protection zones optimize safety and flexibility for differing employment scenarios
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems says the Trophy system has been thoroughly tested, qualified, and already in production for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armor force. The system debuted in 2009 and had proven to work exceptionally well in the Gaza Strip and other hot spots around Israel.
For some time, Trophy has been tested by the Army on its M1A2 tanks in Europe and the Middle East. With the Army’s recent order of 261 units, it is still unclear what region of the world the upgrades will go.
Last year, Robert Walsh, chief of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said existing active protection systems for military vehicles have proven effective against emerging threats.
“Rockets, artillery, mortars, guided anti-tank weapons, those kinds of things are proliferating…so much that to put our Marines and our soldiers out into that kind of environment without that kind of protection…it is getting to the point where we have to have it [Trophy system],” Walsh said.
Back in October, we dissected the Army’s latest Training and Doctrine Command report, which provides us with the understanding that the next round of hybrid wars could be five to seven years from today.
In the meantime, we’ve been documenting the Army’s current state of readiness, along with its introduction of new weapons and war machines to fight the hybrid wars that are ahead.
Two days ago, we reported that the Army is preparing to replace its legacy M249 SAW and the M4 Carbine, with a higher chamber pressure assault rifle. This will allow soldiers to penetrate the world’s most advanced body armor from even further distances.
Lastly, Army officials have reiterated they plan to keep the M1 Abrams in service for several more decades. Today’s much-needed upgrades of invisible force fields to protect the M1 Abrams from anti-tank weapons provides us with a hint that Washington is preparing their main battle tank for the next evolution of hybrid wars.