Friday, December 31, 2010

Israel deploys APS-equipped Merkavas to Gaza border

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has decided to deploy its Merkava Mk 4 main battle tanks (MBTs) equipped with Rafael's Trophy active protection system (APS) along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip amid fears that Hamas has obtained advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs).

Hamas militants fired a Russian-made Kornet (AT-14 'Spriggan') ATGW at an Israeli Merkava tank stationed along the border with Gaza in early December that penetrated the tank, although none of the crew was injured. The laser-guided Kornet has a range of up to 5,500 m.

The attack prompted the IDF to reconsider its use of armoured vehicles and led to a decision to deploy Battalion 9 of the 401st Brigade, which operates Merkava Mk 4 tanks equipped with the Trophy system to the border.

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