Mysterious Version Of US Main Battle Tank Spotted In Romania

U.S. Army Soldiers and Romanian Armed Forces held an opening ceremony for Justice Eagle 19 at Smardan Training Area, Romania, May 29. During the ceremony, several photos show an advanced version of the U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank with a new armor system on its turret.

According to Defense Blog, the new armor system is called Trophy Active Protection System (APS), designed to block incoming anti-tank missile threats, has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as anti-tank-guided-missiles (ATGMs), and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Once the system detects a projectile, it will automatically fire a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat.

The Army awarded Rafael Advanced Defense Systems a contract worth $193 million last July to outfit dozens of its main battle tanks with APS.

Defense Blog said the new M1 Abrams tank is called the M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 tank, or M1A2 SEPv3.

The M1A2 SEPv3 is considered the most technologically advanced main battle tank in the world.

The Trophy APS has also been mounted on Israel’s Merkava, the main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) 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 stopped 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 the tank.

Once the threat is discovered, the algorithm classifies the danger, 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 it.

Presenting at the 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 several years ago by Military.com as saying the Trophy APS “exceeded expectations.”

“I tried to kill the Abrams tank 48 times and failed,” he said.

The Pentagon’s much-needed modernization efforts of defense shields for its main battle tank suggests that the next major conflict could soon be on the horizon.