by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
It’s possible that very soon, U.S. armored vehicles, including infantry fighting vehicles/armored personnel carriers (IFV/APC) and main battle tanks (MBT), will be receiving a new type of anti-RPG/ATGM (Rocket Propelled Grenade/Anti-Tank Guided Missile) active protection system. On March 30, 2006, a Stryker combat vehicle outfitted with the Trophy Active Protection System (APS)
a.k.a. Trophy Active Defense System (ADS)
successfully detected, tracked, and defeated an inert incoming RPG while the protected vehicle was moving. The live-fire test was conducted by the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Dahlgren Division
at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT)
in support of OFT’s Project Sheriff
, a.k.a. Full-Spectrum Effects Platform (FSEP)
Trophy APS is an explosive/fragmentation-based anti-missile vehicle protection system that was developed by an Israeli industry consortium headed up by RAFAEL Armament Development Authority Ltd., and including Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)/Elta Systems Group (a.k.a. Elta Electronic Industries Ltd.) to counter and defeat HEAT anti-tank munitions/missile threats, including short range RPG rounds and longer range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) rounds, all while the Trophy-outfitted vehicle is moving. The Rafael Trophy anti-tank munitions defense system was…
selected in 2005 to be FSEP’s active protection solution as part of FSEP program officials’ desire to meet urgent operational requirements for a range of lethal and less-lethal/non-lethal technologies/solutions on a rapidly-deployable platform (like the highly-mobile wheeled Stryker infantry combat vehicle, for instance). Marine Corps Col. Wade Hall, an OFT transformation strategist, had the following to say about Trophy APS/ADS, "As demonstrated today, the Department of Defense now has at its disposal technology that allows U.S. Forces to defeat both the ‘archer and the arrow." Hall added, "As General Patton once said, ‘A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.’ OFT and the Full-Spectrum Effect platform are executing today."
Up until very recently, the most effective anti-RPG (Rocket-Propelled Grenade) protection for amored vehicles has been slat armor
. Slat armor forms a metal frame barrier (a cage, basically) around the vehicle. It surrounds stands off the vehicle approx. 50 centimeters, totally surrounding it, so that any incoming anti-tank shaped charge warhead (including RPGs) from any angle will be intercepted by the slats. So, when the warhead hits, the shaped charge won’t be able to make direct contact with the vehicle, which means that the molten copper jet won’t be able to burn through the armor and kill everyone inside. Slat armor on Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV)/Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs)
and other armored vehicles has already proved very effective against High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) versions of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG). However, it’s not effective against high-explosive and fragmentation RPG warheads that explode befor they hit the cage. Slat Armor is manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems
But, General Dynamics Land Systems probably won’t need FCLAS, since it may soon be employing the aforementioned Rafael Trophy Active Protection System (APS)
on all of it’s armored combat vehicles, including Stryker, M1A2 Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank), and FCS (Future Combat System). The Israeli Merkava Mk4 MBT is reportedly going to be one of the beneficiaries of the Trophy APS
According to Defense Update
, the Trophy Active Defense System (ADS)
has already effectively neutralized anti-tank rockets and guided missiles with a high degree of safety, insignificant residual penetration of the vehicle, and minimal collateral damage in live-fire tests–hundreds of times. Trophy’s Threat Detection and Warning subsystem utilizes full hemispherical-coverage sensors (including flat-panel radars) to detect the threat. Once the incoming threat is detected, identified, and verified, the Countermeasure Assembly goes to work, opening up and positioning the countermeasure device in the direction needed to intercept the threat. The countermeasure device is then launched automatically and intercepts the threat with a "beam" of fragments at a range of 10-30 meters from the protected vehicle. A future version of Trophy ADS
is reportedly being developed to protect against kinetic energy (KE) threats (high-speed/high explosive penetration projectiles).
So, what if multiple attackers fire at the Trophy APS
-protected vehicle at the same time from different directions in a coordinated attack? Well, apparently nothing–once the system is perfected, of course (assuming it can be perfected). The fully-developed Tropy system should be able to detect, track and engage several incoming threats simultaneously, even if they’re arriving from different directions/locations. The system can be utilized for structural protection as well, since it will reportedly work just as well on stationary platforms, as it does on mobile platforms.
In the meantime, we would recommend that you watch the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) demonstration video clip.
To Download and Play Trophy APS Demo Video Clip:
Right-click on this link and then click on "Save Target As" to download a Fox News video clip on Trophy APS, which shows the technology being demonstrated.
Once you’ve downloaded the video clip to your system, right-click on the file, then click on "Open With". Then, click on "Firefox" (web browser). This will launch the video clip. If you don’t already have the Firefox web browser installed on your system, you will have to go to Firefox.com to download it, so you can play the Trophy ADS video clip. In the event that you don’t see "Firefox" when you click on "Open With", just click on "Choose Program", and then select the box for "Select the program from a list" and click "OK". "Firefox" should be displayed under "Recommended Programs". Click on "Firefox". The video clip should launch.