JERUSALEM — The Trophy active protection system has completed a series of interception tests in Germany as part of the country’s plan to safeguard its Leopard tanks, according to the APS manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
The Israeli government said the system achieved a threat interception rate exceeding 90 percent.
Rafael said the Trophy APS completed “challenging live-firing tests on the Leopard 2 tank” following a government-to-government agreement reached in February. The agreement was led by the Israeli firm and the country’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, which is part of the Defense Ministry. German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is installing the system on the tanks.
The deal is for a company of tanks, including interceptors, spare parts and operational training. Israel says the systems will be delivered over several years, but neither the ministry nor Rafael would specify an exact timeline.
“The advancement achieved by our industries in cooperation with our German friends and partners will further strengthen the capabilities of both our defense establishments. We will continue to work at the forefront of tech capabilities, prepare for every operational scenario, and deepen our relations with partners around the world,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said after the tests.
The Trophy system has already been deployed with Abrams tanks, with the first systems delivered in October 2019 under a partnership with Leonardo DRS. The APS was developed by Israel to protect tanks like the country’s Merkava IV and its Namer armored personnel carrier.
The APS saw its first combat interception in 2011. Rafael says it is combat proven against rockets and missiles, and that the system has accrued more than 1 million hours, including more than 5,400 successful field tests. It is now under contract for serial production of more than 1,800 systems.
Rafael already has a footprint in Germany. For example, the European nation hired Rafael and French company Atos in 2019 to work on a so-called glass battlefield in which unmanned aerial systems and combat vehicles are used to create a 3D picture of mobile operations in real time.
Rafael has also partnered with German defense firms Diehl Defence and Rheinmetall Electronics on the Eurospike program, which supplies thousands of Spike missiles and launchers to the German Army.
Seth J. Frantzman is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflict in the Mideast since 2010 for different publications. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is a co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.