US Army Testing Israeli Trophy System

The US Army realized the need for an active defense system. Hence, examining Rafael's Trophy system, the only operational system that has been proven on the battlefield. Are we about to witness the first export deal of the Trophy?

 

The RAFAEL Trophy installation on the LAV III included four IAI Windguard radar panels covering the entire vehicle surrounding and two modules accommodating the active elements of the Trophy APS, mounted on the two sides. Photo: Rafael

US Army is examining the Trophy, according to defense-aerospace website. According to other online reports, the examination is made on the Stryker and the LAV3. It seems that the United States would prefer to purchase an operational product.

The reason for this examination lies in the American understanding (finally) that US ground forces cannot operate in an environment full of anti-tank missiles, such as Syria, Iraq or Yemen, without active protection systems. It makes armored vehicles like sitting ducks. Even if it has a passive-reactive armor. Another reason is the failure of American industries to achieve results. The only proven system that works in actual combat conditions is the trophy.

Rafael began its US operation in this context with the DRS Technologies company in 2012 (source). Back then, the Trophy system was proposed for the M1 Abram tank, the IAV Stryker and the Humvee. A videotaped proof of this can be found in the YouTube video, showing the system on the LAV3 and the Humvee. And this is just one example. A quick search on Google will offer many more examples.

No American system

In recent years, the United States has invested many millions in attempt to develop such a system itself, so far without success. Raytheon Company has developed the Quick Kill system. ARTIS Company has developed the Iron Curtain. Both of them were not operationally proven.

The US Army is currently working on a solution called MAPS (Modular Active Protection System), as reported on Lexingtoninstitute website. The idea is to develop an open source modular infrastructure, that will allow the US Army to give each armored vehicle a combination of existing system. In other words, to avoid a situation of dependency on a single supplier. In the operational aspect, to enable quick recovery, using whatever is available at any given moment.

Manufacturing in the US?

Other than online publications, not much is known about the negotiations of Raphael and DRS with the US Army. If it's even happening, or it is merely POC. But if we assume that such negotiations are underway, the question is where and how the system will be produced: in Israel or in the United States, using funds from the defense aid or perhaps from a special budget, allocated for the subject, as happened with Israel's missile defense systems.

If we look at the US armored vehicles order of battle, we realize that there are hundreds of vehicles to equip. US armored vehicles are operating all over the world, unlike the IDF, who operates in confrontations along the border. Meaning, this is a requirement that is far greater than the production capacity currently exists in Israel. Since 2006, The IDF equipped part of the Armored Corps with the systems. In terms of APCs, only recently the first Namer emerged from the factory equipped with the Trophy system.

This means that if the United States decides to go on and purchase the Trophy, production will almost certainly be in the US. Israel will obviously enjoy it. If several production lines will be built in the US, Israel as a client will be relatively marginal one, in comparison to the demand of the US Army. Not to mention the Humvees or the JTLV's that are to replace them.

Another advantage is that the US does not see many wars, as opposed to Israel. And in times of war, production capacities are affected, for many reasons. Therefore, Israel also has an interest in the transfer of technology and production to the United States. Again, this is only a hypothesis.

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