The IDF has completed the installation of the Trophy active protection system on
a first brigade of Merkava MK 4 main battle tanks.
The Trophy system,
developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, creates a hemispheric protected
zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank. It successfully
intercepted a rocket-propelled grenade last year along the border with the Gaza
The first brigade to be completely outfitted with the system is
the 401st Brigade, which served prominently in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead
and in Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War six years ago.
The system is
designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile
that intercepts the anti-tank missile. The army sped up development of the
Trophy following the Second Lebanon War, during which Merkava tanks came under
heavy anti-tank missile fire from Hezbollah.
The IDF is now debating
whether to begin installing the system on older-model Merkava tanks that are in
service or to begin outfitting reserves brigades.
While the installation
of the Trophy will continue, the IDF has yet to begin installing a missile
defense system on its new Namer armored personnel carrier (APC).
Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued a report last month slamming the IDF for
failing to develop a system for APCs and criticized the Defense Ministry’s
decision in 2010 to combine the Trophy with a similar system – called Iron Fist
– under development by Israel Military Industries.
Iron Fist launches a
projectile that IMI claims makes it effective in intercepting tank shells and
not just anti-tank missiles – something Trophy cannot do.
comptroller’s main criticism centers on the defense establishment’s failure to
develop or order an active protection system for the Namer. While Trophy is
already being installed on tanks, a decision from 2009 to install Iron Fist on
the Namer has been overturned and a replacement has not been found.