The Army's chief of staff hinted to Congress on Wednesday that the service has decided to equip its armored vehicles with Israeli-made anti-missile technology.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., told Gen. Mark Milley that many lawmakers in Congress want to make sure that Army ground combat units have the ability to withstand anti-tank missile attacks from near-peer competitors such as Russia.
"Gen. Milley, what is the Army's plan to field protection against guided missiles across our conventional ground forces -- to include our Guard units?" Daines asked.
Milley described active protection systems as a "critical need" for the Army.
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"We are investing in that right now," he said. "There are only two countries whose industries produce complete systems ... one of them is friendly; one of them is not so friendly," he added, referring to Israel and Russia.
"We are working with the friendly country right now to go ahead and acquire active protective systems, which we have," Milley said. "We are testing to make sure they fit onto our armored vehicles because they have to be modified for each of the type vehicles."
Under the accelerated APS effort, Army testers are well into an evaluation of a Trophy APS-equipped M1 tank. The Trophy system, designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is the only APS in testing that has seen combat and actually defeated advanced anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) threats.
The Army is also evaluating the Israeli-made Iron Fist APS and the U.S.-made Iron Curtain.
"We intend to field those to first responding units, and we will eventually field them throughout the force for the entire total Army -- Guard, Reserve and active," Milley said.
"We, the United States, are working very, very fast to have the industrial base to produce some systems" and will eventually be ready to put American-made APS systems up for competitive bid for a larger effort to equip the Army with APS, he said.
"It's a very important capability, and we are going to make sure that our forces are adequately protected," Milley said.