IDF tests Trophy anti-tank-missile system before deployment

System is said to be capable of intercepting missiles aimed at Merkava tanks, that will be deployed on Gaza border in coming weeks.

December 23, 2010 02:12
1 minute read.
Merkava Mark 4 with Trophy anti-missile system.

Merkava tank anti missile 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Amid rising violence in the South, the IDF on Wednesday tested the Trophy anti-tankmissile defense system ahead of the planned deployment in the coming weeks of Merkava Mk 4 tanks along the Gaza border.

The test was supposed to include a live anti-tank missile fired at the Merkava equipped with the Trophy active-protection system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and said to be capable of intercepting incoming anti-tank missiles.

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After a number of bereaved families sent letters to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s office demanding that the missile test be canceled due to the planned presence of soldiers in the tank, the IDF decided to fire a dud missile instead.

The Trophy system creates a hemispheric protected-zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank, which has operated prominently in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Using advanced radar, the system is designed to detect and track a threat and counters it with a projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.

On Tuesday, Ashkenazi revealed that two weeks ago a Russian-made Kornet antitank missile – one of the most sophisticated in the world – hit an Israeli Merkava tank and penetrated its hull. As a result, the IDF has decided to deploy Battalion 9 of the 401st Armored Brigade (the “Tracks of Iron” Brigade) along the Gaza border since its tanks are equipped with the Trophy active protection anti-tank-missile defense system.

On Wednesday, the IDF Ground Forces Command tested the system by firing a dud missile, which impersonated some of the advanced anti-tank missiles in Hamas and Hizbullah hands. The Trophy successfully intercepted the enemy missile.

Defense sources said that the Trophy had been tested hundreds of times by Rafael but that what was significant in the latest test was the presence of soldiers and commanders inside the tank which was fired at.

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