08 Agustus 2009

Israel has Successfully Tests Tank Defence System for Merkava IV Tank

8 Agustus 2009

Israel Tests Merkava IV Tank Defence System

The Trophy anti-tank missile defense system in action (photo : IDF)

The Israeli Army has successfully conducted a series of tests on the defence system for its Merkava IV tank, built to intercept and destroy a wide range of anti-tank missiles from a long distance.

During the test, anti-tank missiles, rockets and different types of artillery were successfully intercepted and destroyed by the new system, even while the tank was moving.

The defence system can create a hemispherical protected zone around the tank, detecting and tracking a hostile missile and then intercepting it by launching a projectile.

The system was developed by the Defence Ministry and the Rafael Armaments Development Authority.

The Armoured Corps will have the new system installed in its battalion of tanks by 2010.

Trophy Tank Defense System Operational
Firing seequence of the Trophy showing pre-intercept, detonation and sympathetic explosion of the AT-3 Malyutka (Sagger) type threat (photo : Defense Update)

The IDF Ground Forces Command has declared the Trophy anti-tank missile defense system operational, following a series of tests last week that surpassed expectations for the system's capabilities, it was revealed on Thursday.

The Trophy system, developed by Rafael, creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank, which operated prominently in Lebanon. The system is designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.
The Trophy Active Defense System (ADS) was developed by RAFAEL under an Israel Defense Research & Development Directorate (DRDD) support (photo : Defense Update)

The test was held last week in an IDF base in the South. The system was installed on old tanks and was tested in two positions - static and in motion. According to defense officials, it succeeded in intercepting all of the enemy anti-tank missiles.

Foreign military attachés from around the world were present at the test site and have expressed interest in possibly purchasing the system for their militaries.

The IDF sped up development of the Trophy following the Second Lebanon War, during which Merkava tanks came under heavy anti-tank missile fire from Hizbullah. The Trophy has already been installed on a number of Merkava Mk IV tanks in the 401st Armored Brigade, and by the end of the year will be automatically installed on tanks that come off the production line.

While the Trophy will be installed on tanks, the IDF recently announced plans to equip the Namer armored personnel carrier with the Iron Fist missile defense system, developed by Israel Military Industries.

The Iron Fist consists of a radar and passive optical system that detect incoming threats and destroy them by using a combustible blast interceptor within a fraction of a second. Unlike the Trophy, which fires off a large number of projectiles, the Iron Fist intercepts incoming threats by using a rocket in the shape of a mortar, which destroys the threat by using a blast effect that crushes its soft components or deflects

See Also :

Trophy Completes Integration to Retrofit the Merkava Mk4 Tank
Merkava IV MBT with Trophy system (photo : Defense Update)

In August 2009 Israel's first operational Merkava Mk4 tanks were declared operational mounting the Trophy Active Protection System (APS). Following a slow process that almost killed the program prior to the 2006 Lebanon War, the Israeli Ministry of Defense funded the trophy's integration with current Merkava Mk4 tanks as a retrofit. An APS will also be integrated into the Merkava based Namer Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV), scheduled for delivery next year.
However, it is not yet certain if the APS will be the Trophy or IMI's Iron Fist which is also under development. In fact, the IDF hasn't finalized its decision about how many and which types of APS it will field throughout the entire force. A mix of systems could prove valuable against a wide range of potential threats expected in medium and high intensity warfare.

Integrated Trophy into Merkava Mk4 turret (photo : Defense Update)

These images show the Trophy fully integrated into the Merkava Mk4 turret, showing the target acquisition radar, and the interceptor module (note deflector plates behind the interceptor. These are probably used to protect the crew from debris resulting from the Trophy effect. Similar deflectors were visible on the Sherif configured Stryker Vehicle which also mounted the Trophy).

During the first months of 2009 the Trophy system went through comprehensive operational testing and was cleared for operational use after a successful operational firing test conducted early August 09. By the end of the year all new Merkava Mk4 tanks will be equipped with the system. Until then, Trophy is being retrofitted to operational tanks.

(Defense Update)

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