Anti-tank missile defense system stops attack on IDF tank

"Trophy" system is activated for the first time during an IDF operation; force identifies and kills the Gazan gunman.

By
March 1, 2011 19:18
1 minute read.
merkava 88 248

merkava 88 248. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Trophy missile defense system deployed with IDF armored units stopped an antitank missile fired by gunmen near the Gaza Strip security fence on Tuesday – the first time it was used during an IDF operation, and the first time a system of this type was successfully battle-tested anywhere in the world.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office reported that Trophy (known in Hebrew as “Meyil Ruah,” or “Windbreaker”) managed to identify and disable the incoming missile, saying no damage had been caused to the tank or its crew.

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“For the first time during operational activity, the Trophy system alerted and intercepted a missile,” the statement said.

Shortly afterward, IDF troops identified a gunman in the area and opened fire, killing him at the scene.

News of the 401st Armored Brigade’s successful use of the Trophy system was greeted with great fanfare in the IDF, which viewed the incident as “historic,” and emphasized that it had been the first successful application of any system of its type not only in Israel, but in any country’s armed forces.

No group in the Gaza Strip claimed responsibility for the missile attack on the tank.

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“Terrorist organizations are constantly operating to target Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers,” the army said. “The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it.”

Trophy made its debut in August 2009, when the IDF declared it operational and began the process of outfitting a battalion of tanks with the system. It is an active-protection system that stops incoming projectiles by spraying a small blast of buckshot-like material in their path. It was developed jointly by Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries.

A system of this type attained great importance following the Second Lebanon War, during which IDF Merkava tanks were repeatedly hit by anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah. It is currently being installed on every new Merkava tank being produced.

Rafael announced earlier on Tuesday that the United States had completed a six-week test evaluation of the system.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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