Sunday, December 19, 2010

Israel Tests Trophy Tank Protection System

The “Trophy” system to protect tanks from anti-tank missile was tested as part of an exercise by 9 Battalion on its way to becoming a fully operational system. "We now have the ability to fight effectively, fast and secure than ever before," said the deputy commander of 401 Brigade.

The "Trophy" active protection system for tanks was tested during the first week of regimental exercises by 401 Brigade. It had been previously tested, and provided specific feedback, in controlled environments, but this trial was conducted by the 9th Battalion of the Armored Corps in areas of the Golan Heights.

"Trophy" is the fruit of a joint development by Rafael, Elta and the American company General Dynamics. It identifies, with special sensors, threats directed against the tank, such as anti-tank rockets and missiles, and fires a special charge to neutralize them.

Since 2005, when the system was first was presented, industry has been working on its service introduction by IDF armored divisions, with the main objective of fitting it to Merkava 4 main battle tanks.

The first combined company exercise using the system recently took place with 9 Battalion. During the exercise, soldiers learned how to respond to environmental stimuli, such as emissions of smoke from other tanks, or other heat sources.

"Thanks to Windbreaker we have the ability to fight more effectively, faster and more securely than ever before," said Lt. Col. Haim Ido, deputy commander of 401 Brigade. "In this respect, it certainly has proven itself as an exercise area."

However, stressed Lt. Col. Ido, the system cannot human eyes. "The system does not change the way soldiers must act and behave inside the tank.”

“Trophy” improves various aspects of a tank’s different capabilities, and provides more protection from threats such as anti-tank missiles, but a soldier remains a soldier and must remain vigilant. Furthermore, soldiers of the brigade must learn to work with the advanced Merkava 4 tank, and its many new technologies and systems, and this requires them to be very skilled indeed.”

"The issue of absorbing new technological capabilities in the tank division is gaining significant momentum," said Lt. Col. Tommy. "We must learn to use them more effectively in the exercises we perform" and this will translate into improved operational capabilities.

So, among other things, there was high satisfaction among participants about the enhanced communications systems tested in the exercise. "The combination of various systems has created fantastic communications capabilities between the tanks, practically without using the radios."

At least in the eyes of the soldiers who participated in the exercise, "Trophy" is a success.

"This is something important and innovative," said Nico Gabay, a gunner in the battalion, at the end of exercise Gabay. "Of course there were several glitches, but they were not critical. It is apparent from the training scenarios is a very useful system that will protect the tank."

"We learned about its developer, the basic functions in it and some details about how it operates," said Sergeant Gabay.

The expectation is that in the coming months, the system will be gradually introduced in the battalion’s companies. Ultimately, the entire battalion will use the "Trophy" when it is fully operational.

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