DRS Technologies and Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are asking the U.S. Army to consider acquiring the Trophy Active Protection System, a vehicle-mounted technology engineered to instantly locate and destroy incoming enemy fire.
Using a 360-degree radar, processor and on-board computer, Trophy is designed to locate, track and destroy approaching fire coming from a range of weapons such as Anti-Tank-Guided-Missiles, or ATGMs, and Rocket Propelled Grenades, or RPGs, said Mike O’Leary, director of business development, DRS Technologies.
“Trophy will detect an inbound threat and classify that threat. It will compute an intercept point in space away from the platform and, if the threat poses a danger to the platform, it will launch a countermeasure to defeat the threat away from the vehicle,” O’Leary said.
The interceptor consists of a series of small, shaped charges attached to a gimbal on top of the vehicle. The small explosives are sent to a precise point in space to intercept and destroy the approaching round, he added.
“Radar is constantly scanning the entire perimeter of the platform out to a known range. When a threat penetrates that range, the system then detects and classifies that threat and tells the on-board computer which determines the optimal kill point in space,” O’Leary said.
Trophy was recently deployed in combat in Gaza on Israeli Defense Forces’ Merkava tanks. A brigade’s worth of tanks used Trophy to destroy approaching enemy fire such as RPGs in a high-clutter urban environment, he added.
“Dozens of threats were launched at these platforms, many of which would have been lethal to these vehicles. Trophy engaged those threats and defeated them in all cases with no collateral injury and no danger to the dismounts and no false engagement,” O’Leary said.
While the Trophy system was primarily designed to track and destroy approaching enemy fire, it also provides the additional benefit of locating the position of an enemy shooter.
“Trophy will not only knock an RPG out of the sky but it will also calculate the shooter’s location. It will enable what we call slew-to-cue. At the same time that the system is defeating the threat that is coming at it, it will enable the main gun or sensor or weapons station to vector with sights to where the threat came from and engage, identify or call in fire. At very least you will get an early warning to enable you to take some kind of action,” he explained. “I am no longer on the defensive with Trophy. Israeli commanders will tell you ‘I am taking the fight to the enemy.’”
The Israelis developed Trophy upon realizing that tanks could not simply be given more armor without greatly minimizing their maneuverability and deployability.
“The Israelis have developed the Trophy Active Protection System in response to some interesting events in their history. They were the first to encounter extremely advanced guided missiles going back to the 70s all the way up to 2006 and the Lebanon War,” O’Leary said.
Although deployed on Israeli tanks, Trophy could easily be configured for a range of U.S. combat vehicles including M1 Abrams tanks, Strykers and HMMWVs, he said.