WASHINGTON — Israeli company Rafael will demonstrate its lighter active protection capability on a U.S. Army Stryker combat vehicle in the United States in early 2019, according to an industry source with knowledge of the activity.
Rafael is already supplying its heavier Trophy Active Protection System (APS) for four brigade sets of M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
But the company has also developed a lighter version it is calling the Trophy Vehicle Protection System (VPS) and recently demonstrated its capability in a test over a six-week period in July and August this year.
The demonstration used the same standards the U.S. used in testing the current model of Trophy for the Abrams in order to qualify key components of the lighter system.
Trophy VPS has the same radar, main computer, countermeasure and algorithms as the Trophy system on Abrams. The main difference between the two is that the size and weight of the components, such as the launcher, have been minimized in a way that is said to not affect the performance of the system.
Leonardo DRS will manufacture more than half of the heavier version of Trophy for integration onto Abrams in the U.S., but could also handle the same for a lighter version that could go on other combat vehicles.
The Army has been evaluating other APS systems on Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers as interim solutions before its vehicle protection suite is available for vehicles.
The service recently decided not to move forward with Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain system for Stryker, citing issues with its maturity.
The Army plans to move forward with evaluating other systems on Stryker in a rodeo in November this year that will likely include Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS). It’s unclear if Trophy VPS is the other system being evaluated or if there are other companies that will bring systems not already evaluated.
The Army is also behind its process to characterize Israeli company IMI’s Iron Fist on a Bradley, and is expected to make a decision on the way forward soon.
According to the industry source, the Trophy VPS demonstration on Bradley replicated as closely as possible the scenarios encountered during previous Trophy demonstrations on Abrams to include testing against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles; there was also a test against counter-APS tactics.
The demonstration additionally tested hostile fire-detection capability and situational awareness.
The source reported the six-week test as successful and validated the performance of the system.
Key Army leadership was in attendance to include the operational and research and development communities, materiel developers and Army staff, but there was also broad international representation.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.