by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
September 5, 2007
Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. (Haifa, Israel) has introduced a very interesting next-generation multi-threat passive/reactive add-on armor system for vehicles called M-TAPS, which stands for "Multi-Threat Armor Protection System". M-TAPS is designed/developed to protect Israeli infantry warfighters (a.k.a. soldiers) against the same lethal trifecta–IEDs, EFPs, and RPGs–as the Urban Fighter’s armor suite, only the Rafael system (M-TAPS) looks like it may be even more advanced and capable (unconfirmed/unverified). DefenseReview will try to answer this question.
When it comes to add-on multi-threat vehicular armor a.k.a. vehicle armor protection solutions, including active armor systems like…
explosive reactive armor (ERA) suites, the Israelis appear to be staying right out there on the cutting edge. Then again, they have to. They really have no choice, since they’re surrounded on all sides by Arab countries that want to kill them and/or run them out of the region. Abject survival is a powerful motivator for creating innovative and practical solutions to dangerous, life-threatening problems.
Side Note (re previous article): That’s why the Israeli’s like the M113 Gavin so much , and use it as the base vehicle for a lot of their customized light armor solutions, including the Urban Fighter APC/IFV. The M113 works, and works well, whenever you need a light tank/tracked armored vehicle that can go anywhere, anytime, and take you along for the ride. The M113 Gavin excels at getting infantry warfighters (i.e. soldiers and Marines) to the fight quickly, wherever that fight might be–as well as out of it, just as quickly–and the Israelis know this. That’s why they use it. That’s why they like it.
Fortunately for them, the M113 Gavin is basically just a well-designed armored box on tracks, so you can pretty much do anything you want to it. It’s basically the perfect base vehicle for the military/tactical version of Pimp My Ride. Want to make it ride quieter and more comfortably while simultaneously giving it more speed and power? Just outfit it with rubber band tracks, a modernized (i.e. better) suspension, and a more powerful engine. Want to make it hybrid-electric drive? It can be done. How about revamping/modernizing/optimizing the interior (including air conditioning), and outfitting it with the latest hardware/technology? No problem. Anything you want to do.
Anyway, getting back to the subject of this article, it looks like the Rafael M-TAPS add-on passive/reactive vehicle armor combo solution can be applied to any military armored vehicle platform out there in short order (unconfirmed/unverified). DefenseReview will try to confirm this.
The following is what Rafael has to say about the new vehicle armor tech:
"Rafael Releases M-TAPS – New Add-On Armor for Combat Vehicles
August 20, 2007 – Haifa. Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. announces the release of the M-TAPS – Multi-Threat Armor Protection System – a new generation add-on armor technology for combat vehicles.
The recently developed M-TAPS is the newest generation hybrid (reactive / passive) add-on armor designed to defeat a variety of modern threats in the combat arena. The M-TAPS is a modular system that can be easily fitted onto any wheeled or tracked vehicle or MBT.
The system, when installed on a combat vehicle, is able to defeat Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP), high speed fragments from artillery bombs (simulated by FSPs) and Armor Piercing (AP) projectiles from heavy machine guns.
The M-TAPS technology is an upgrade of Rafael’s combat proven, Insensitive Reactive Armor system that has been successfully applied to the US Bradleys, IDF vehicles and a variety of NATO APCs.
The system has been intensively tested at Rafael’s facilities and by the IDF and has demonstrated its ability to defeat powerful EFPs and RPGs, as well as other threats.
"We anticipate the successful integration of M-TAPS in the MRAP II and MPV programs as it is the ideal solution against RPGs and EFPs, which make up the majority of threats to troop vehicles in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other current conflicts" says Mr. Nehemia Shachar, Head of the Protection Systems Sector of the Ordnance and Protection Division at Rafael.
RAFAEL designs, develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of advanced defense systems. These leading edge products include naval, air and ground precision weapons, electro-optic systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems, C4I and unmanned systems, acoustic defense systems, armored protection and training systems."
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