Israel’s MOD (IMOD) is pursuing two parallel Active Protection Systems (APS) to satisfy the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) heavy and light armor protection requirements. Both systems, based on different concepts of operation, are funded by the IMOD are scheduled to mature for initial operation within 18 months will be able to provide full protection from advanced RPG and ATGW attacks, including those with tandem warheads. Israel’s investments in the two programs totaled well over $120 millions.
RAFAEL Wins with Trophy
Trophy Active Defense System (ADS) was developed in Israel, under domestic and international industrial collaboration. RAFAEL, the prime developer of the system is teamed with IAI/Elta to providing the target acquisition radar. As the system matured through hundreds of tests firings, a General Dynamics (GD) joined the program, lead the system’s marketing activities in North America. Further cooperation with other countries is also likely to mature as there is tremendous interest in the system, which is the first western system to mature, offering effective protection from conventional and advanced (tandem) shaped charges.
In 2005 GD offered the system to protect US armor in Iraq, among them M-1A2 tanks and Strykers APCs. The system has matured through hundreds of live test with the Israel Defense Forces and demonstrated effective neutralization of anti-tank rockets and guided missiles, demonstrating high safety levels, insignificant residual penetration and minimal collateral damage. The system entered full scale engineering phase launched in March 2005 and is scheduled to be ready for service entry with IDF Merkava Mk 4 tanks by 2007. On March 30, 2006 General Dynamics announced the successful completion of a firing test, conducted at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT), to validate the Israeli Army’s tests that demonstrated Trophy’s ability to detect, track and destroy incoming rocket propelled grenades (RPG) at safe distances from the host vehicle. Trophy was selected in 2005 to be active protection system to be used by the Full-Spectrum Effects Platform (FSEP), a vehicle mounting a range of lethal and non-lethal technologies. The Trophy system is designed to provide effective protection for the FSEP Stryker, when negotiating complex situations with lethal or non lethal means. By creating a hemispheric protected zone around the vehicle, the crew can develop a full situational picture of potential threats and engage relevant threats with non lethal or lethal force. Incoming threats which cannot be engaged by other means, such as RPGs and missiles, will be effectively intercepted and defeated by the Trophy’s interceptors. If procurement is funded, initial Trophy systems could be delivered to Iraq this year. In total, the US Army and USMC have requirements for a minimum of 14 FSEP prototype vehicles.
IMI Introduce the Iron Fist
In Eurosatory 2006 IMI is unveiling its new Active Defense System (ADS) called – Iron Fist. Until recently, the development of Iron Fist was shrouded in secrecy, as it was developed in parallel to a different Israeli developed ADS system – RAFAEL’s Trophy, which entered full scale development in 2005. However, due to rapid development pace and successful testing, IMI expects to deliver the systems for IDF testing and qualifications by mid 2007. Unlike competing systems, IMI’s Iron Fist can be installed on light vehicles, including trucks and even Humvees, offering effective protection from RPGs. IMI conducted extensive testing against a full spectrum of threats, engaging various types of threats from stationary and moving armored personnel carriers. The system already demonstrated effective protection of light vehicles and heavy armored vehicles, from small rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and tank rounds equipped with shaped charge warheads as well as advanced kinetic threats (armor piercing tank rounds).
One of the main advantages of the Iron Fist is its integration into routine operations. Its sensor is providing essential input to situational awareness systems, based on ground radar surveillance, moving target detection, classification and tracking and motion detection. Furthermore, by loading other types of projectiles, such ass non lethal, anti-personnel, smoke or illumination, the system can be used in support of routine operation.
Iron Fist is supported by Israel’s MOD Directorate for Defense Research & Development (DDR&D). The program is designed to protect medium and light vehicles, but based on its performance, has the potential to be used for the protection of fixed positions or heavy armor. In future configurations, the system has a growth potential to protect sensitive elements of fixed installations or patrol boats, protecting from RPG attacks, frequently encountered in counter insurgency operations.