Back in April, we discussed how the U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank, an American third-generation main battle tank, was in the process of being upgraded with an invisible missile shield that will destroy all chemical energy anti-tank threats and other threats before reaching the vehicle.
It is part of a modernization program that the Pentagon is preparing its main battle tank for the next evolution of hybrid wars, expected to start in the mid-2020s, or before.
According to The Times of Israel, the U.S. Army awarded a contract worth $193 million for Israel’s TROPHY Active Protection System (APS) for its Abrams tanks “in support of immediate operational requirements,” Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced.
Designed to block incoming anti-tank missile threats, the Trophy system has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as anti-tank-guided-missiles (ATGMs), and rocket-propelled grenades (RGPs). Once the system detects a projectile, it will automatically fire a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat.
Under the terms of the contract the TROPHY Active Protection System (APS), countermeasures, and maintenance kits will be supplied by the American defense contractor Leonardo DRS, Inc., which partnered with Rafael to manufacture them.
TROPHY Active Protection System (APS) will be manufactured in the United States and Israel, which is seen as a win for the Trump administration, as wartime marches closer.
The system, developed by Israel’s Rafael Defense, is the world’s first and only fully operational active defense system [invisible shield] and hostile detection system for armored vehicles. Rafael mentioned that over 1,000 systems had been deployed on all major Israeli ground combat platforms.
“Rafael has provided protection solutions to US service members for over two decades via lifesaving passive and reactive armor on vehicles such as Bradley, Stryker and AAV7. We are excited to continue to do so with TROPHY,” said Moshe Elazar, Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Division.
“The majority of TROPHY components are manufactured by the American Defense Industry and we are excited by the opportunity to increase manufacturing in the U.S., including for Israeli systems, as the U.S. acquires additional systems,” Elazar added.
The Trophy Active Protection System (APS) has been mounted on Israel’s Merkava, the main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces since 2009, and has also been installed on the IDF’s armored personnel carrier vehicles. The system saw its first action in March 2011, when it thwarted an RPG attack on an IDF Merkava near the border with the Gaza Strip.
The 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).
Presenting at the U.S. Army’s annual convention and exhibition in Washington, D.C., Col. Glenn Dean, the Project Manager of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Combat Ground Systems was quoted last year by Military.com as saying the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) “exceeded expectations.”
“I tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed,” he said.
The Pentagon’s much-needed modernization efforts of invisible shields for its main battle tank suggests that the next major conflict could soon be on the horizon.
Video: U.S. Army’s Bassett discusses the Trophy Active Protection System, AMPV, Future Vehicle Tech