How Israel Is Helping Make America's Tanks Even Deadlier

Bradley Bowman, Andrew Gabel

According to an industry announcement last week, the U.S. Army has received its first delivery of the Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection System (APS), which the Army plans to install on many of its M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to protect them against incoming rockets and missiles. The shipment represents the latest example of the Department of Defense expeditiously acquiring cutting-edge Israeli technology to address urgent operational threats, thereby buying time for the development of a domestic U.S. capability.

Active protection systems are mounted on armored combat vehicles and detect, track, and destroy incoming rockets and missiles in mid-air before they reach the vehicle itself. Systems such as Trophy accomplish this by launching on-board projectiles to intercept incoming hostile rockets and missiles in-flight.

Trophy has been operational since 2011 and represents one of the most advanced designs currently in use. Today, it can be found on Israel’s Merkava tanks and Namer Infantry Fighting Vehicles. There are approximately 1,000 Trophy systems in active use by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Like the IDF, the U.S. Army has identified the APS as a key capability, launching the “Modular Active Protection Systems” program to develop a common, layered, and networked APS. However, as of last year, this U.S. program was not as mature as Trophy.

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