An IDF exercise in the South tanks helicopters 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz’s decision as the deputy commander of the
IDF in 2010 to order two Israeli defense contractors to combine their
independent tank-protection systems into a single platform was made without the
necessary staff work and a proper study of the issue, State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss wrote in his latest report released on Tuesday.
focused on the development of an active protection system for IDF tanks and
armored personnel carriers (APC), which was accelerated after the Second Lebanon
War in 2006. Initially, the IDF decided to purchase Trophy – a system developed
by Rafael – for its Merkava tanks and Iron Fist – a system developed by Israel
Military Industries (IMI) for its Namer APC.
In 2010, though, Defense
Ministry director-general Udi Shani and Gantz – then deputy chief of staff –
ordered both companies to join forces, combine their systems and develop one
single missile-defense system for tanks and APCs.
“The decision to
recommend to the chief of staff to create an integration of both systems was
done without a review by the IDF and the Defense Ministry of whether the
development of such a system is feasible,” the comptroller wrote in the
The systems work differently: Trophy fires off a cloud of
countermeasures at an incoming threat that is detected by a radar installed on
the tank. Iron Fist launches a projectile that IMI claims makes it also
effective in intercepting tank shells and not just anti-tank missiles –
something Trophy cannot do.
The 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.
The comptroller also criticized the
Defense Ministry’s decision not to issue an official tender for the development
of an active protection system for the Namer that would have required the IDF to
conduct a comprehensive review of its capabilities.
“This situation is
the result of a flawed decision-making process in the Defense Ministry and the
IDF... as well as the Defense Ministry’s failure to abide by the obligation to
issue a tender for the development of such a system,” Lindenstrauss wrote.