COLOGNE, Germany — The German and Israeli defense ministries have signed an agreement for the purchase of the Rafael-made Trophy active protection system for the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 tanks, the two governments announced Feb. 23.
The deal, inked Feb. 22, will see the defense system, which shoots projectiles at incoming anti-tank munitions, installed on a company’s worth of tanks by 2025; that’s 17 operational vehicles plus one reference type for testing.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is the contractor to install Trophy components on the tanks in the course of an upgrade from the A6-A3 configuration to the A7-A1 version, according to a memo to the German parliament by defense officials in late January that requested funding for the project.
The missive was approved by lawmakers at the time, paving the way for the agreement with Israel and manufacturer Rafael. The 23 Trophy sets and 586 interceptors sought by Germany come with a price tag of $48 million. Leopard-maker KMW stands to get roughly double that for the integration work, which will leave the government with 18 tank hulls no longer needed after the upgrade.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the Trophy system a “product of Israel’s groundbreaking defense industry,” with Germany’s nod representing an “expression of confidence” in the two countries’ defense cooperation.
The Bundeswehr, or German military, decided to equip its tanks with an active protection system because “modern anti-tank guided missiles pose a significant threat,” defense officials wrote to lawmakers. The current effort to introduce Trophy is meant as a “first step” toward wider use of similar technology, the memo stated.
German defense officials considered Trophy, which is already in use on Israeli and American tanks, the most advanced and operationally proven system available on the market, they told lawmakers.
Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.