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Next Generation of Active Defense Systems Makes Combat Debut

Thanks to several tipsters for pointing this out. The Israeli army’s active defense system for its Merkava tanks saw a baptism by fire recently when one successfully defeated an RPG  fired at the tank on patrol near the border with Gaza.

From Defense Update:

According to IDF sources, the Merkava tank was patrolling the border with Gaza, when a ‘missile launch’ was detected by the tank’s defensive system. Trophy uses the Elta System’s EL/M 2133 ‘WindGuard’ radar as the primary sensor detecting missiles and RPG threats. When such threat is classified by the system as ‘acute’ (aimeing directly at the protected vehicle), the system alerts the crew and tracks the missile closing-in on the tank. As the RPG enters the system’s kill-zone, Trophy automatically activates its hard kill countermeasure (Multiple Explosive Formed Penetrators – MEFP), destroying the threat at a safe distance from the tank. Some reports indicated the intercept was close enough to trigger the tank’s automatic fire ‘Spectronix’ protection, which have lead to Palestinian claims of actually hitting the tank. Shortly afterwards, IDF soldiers identified several terrorists in the launching area and fired in their direction, scoring a hit.

A variant of this next generation armor defense is being tested in the United States for use on Stryker armored vehicles where it’s rumored to be performing well in tests. Trophy-maker Rafael is apparently developing a lighter version of the system for use on MRAPs as well as another version that could make its way onto patrol boats.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam March 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

"Shortly afterwards, IDF soldiers identified several terrorists in the launching area and fired in their direction,"

Firing on the Israeli army does not make you a "terrorist". The Israeli army are legitimate targets.

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NashKlein March 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

these days people call anyone they dont agree with "terrorists". but I agree with you the current rules of war state that any military target is a legitamate target.

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Jacob March 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Have the Palestinians exhausted all non-violent options to resolve their dispute with Israel? If not, then their use of violence is not justified and unfortunately that means they're terrorists.

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NashKlein March 2, 2011 at 11:16 pm

why would they waste thier time with something we all know will not work, we all want to beleive that we can reason with anyone but the ones refusing to listen are us not them.

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 5:47 am

They have NO desire to resolve their dispute with Israel by non-violent means. They only desire to destroy Israel and drive all non-muslims out of the middle east. You will see NO reference to any so called "Palestinians" before 1948 that does not exclusively refer to Jews. That is why Golda Meir said there was "no such thing" as a "Palestinian people". They are a mishmash of Arabs who flocked to what became Mandated "Palestine" (after WW1 the Ottoman Empire fell to the Allies) for jobs and economic opportunites under the returning Jews, starting about 1895; and a few others who were, really, long term residents of the area. Most people do not know that the Jews continuously lived in their land ever since Abraham! Sorry! I'm an historian. I guess it shows :-)

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 5:54 am

One last thing on the history bit. There is no "Palestinian" history book in existance. The British used Hadrian's "Palestine" name; however, the the Turkish Ottoman Empire and everyone after the Romans, called the area Judea and Samaria!

Sam March 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Not much of an historian. It shows.

Muhammud March 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Hamas are by definition "terrorists", and their "constitution" for Gaza includes an insane collection of broken islamic quotes, twisted ideas from Mein Kempf and declared genocidal plans (not implicit, *explicit*). The kind of things that makes your skin crawl.

They are also MB, the movement that spawned *Al-Qaeda*.
P.S. the last time the people in Gaza tried to demonstrate (about the gaz prices, for god sake!) they opened fire from MACHINE GUNS on the crowd.

I'm an american of palestinian descent and I'm telling you now - these people are fuck*** bat-shit crazy. Calling them "terrorist" is an insult to terrorists everywhere. They are a death cult of maniacs.

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6471960 March 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

These non-terrorists (according to you alone) become occupants at Guantanamo if they are caught by US forces for doing the same thing to us. You sound just like a haji.

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Wayne March 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Sam in that part of the world it does!!

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ray March 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

SO ARE YOU SAM!!!

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sam March 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Moron!

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blight March 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Firing on the Israeli army means you wish to engage in combat. You will be summarily killed, depending on the rules of engagement.

There, feel better now?

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Dawneagle March 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

So, it works with a single missle. What happens with a half dozen or dozen RPGs, LAWs are launched at once? Will it be easily defeated by swarm tactics? Sounds like there is still a need for real armour.

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Zachary Anderson March 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thats a lot of resources to waist on one tank not to mention the fact of how hard it would be in the heat of battle to time and successfully coordinate 6 to 12 RPG/LAW launches from different locations aimed at the same target.

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nraddin March 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Lets say that it is easily defeated by launching two or more missiles/rockets at the same time at it. That doubles the enemies risk, and doubles or more the enemies cost to kill a single vehicle. Given that man power is more expensive that any other piece of equipment on the battlefield, that sounds like a win to me.

To the point however, these systems are designed in layers and generally can kill more than one incoming threat at a time.

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Hale March 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Man power is not expensive to extremists, otherwise they'd plant bombs instead of becoming them.

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nraddin March 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

The willingness to sacrifice man or material into a fight is not a good indicator of it's worth. An effective use of an asset even to the point of loosing the asset, might have a greatest impact on your goals than to hold it in reserve or use it conservatively.

A suicide bomber is a very expensive resource for any organization, training, location, equipment, and most expensive indoctrination. However they are very effective in achieving their goal of causing fear. If they where cheap, you would see them hundreds of times a day all over the world, thankfully they are not.

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NashKlein March 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

how do you train a suicide bomber? it's not like they can practice blowing themself up!

STemplar March 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

What happens? The enemy has 6 less RPGs for the next tank, which is a problem if there are 200 coming across a border.

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

The system only responds to missiles that will actually hit the Tank. It's fully automatic and fast! Coordinating an attack of this nature in a combat zone is extremely difficult. I don't think RPG's can disable a tank. I know LAW's cannot. This system will handle them; but is mostly for AT missiles. One of its features is that it is not concerned with direct interception of the incoming weapon. It will knock it off course if not destroying it. This system frees up the tank crew to concentrate more on its mission and less on its defense against shoulder mounted weapons.

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Sev March 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Hell YEAH! F**K those Haji's up!

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STemplar March 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

You're right, one of the practical reasons the general's were trying to tell the morons in DC that this kind of system wasn't such a swell idea in dismounted patrol ops in an urban environment. We want it, but they tried to explain that it was going to be of limited use in Iraq back when everyone was gaga over this system a few years ago.

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Sev March 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Riiight. Im sure that if dismounted infantry were next to a vehicle that didn't have this and was hit by and RPG that they wouldnt be wounded then. Its a fricken RPG, if it hits the vehicle or gets blown up in flight, people can get wounded if they're outside the vehicle. Id rather have the system so at least the vehicle and those inside survive

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STemplar March 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I'd rather have one thing exploding than two if I'm the poor trooper operating under your logic.

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STemplar March 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

There were other practical reasons as well. Can it deal with a narrow urban environment? Would it be able to 'see' a threat in time? It was a 360° perimeter not a dome so a shot from above would be a freebie. Patrols weren't being conducted in a vacuum, intercepting a round with the system could mean huge casualties among civilians. The cages on vehicles were adequate for dealing with simple RPGs, and this system was more tailored towards high end anti tank weapons. Most vehicles were being damaged by IEDs not RPGs. Lots of reasons.

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Joe Schmoe March 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

To answer all your questions; yes, yes, yes, no. It has a very narrow "spray area", meaning that in the 360 degrees around a vehicle, there is less that 1% of injury to nearby personnel. Also this system identifies which kind of missile is incoming and neutralizes it.

In the American tests a few years back, Trophy had over a 98% kill average.

Sean42 March 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

STemplar, I concur with YOUR logic. I'm a grunt that could possibly be on the ground next to that MGS Stryker that may have that system on it, although those specific vehicles are used to support us Infantry as a support by fire platform.

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Engineers March 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm

If you are standing next to a tank when an RPG or "Missile" of what ever kind hits it you are not likely to survive whether or not it has this system on it. I would rather have these systems to minimize casualties of personnel on the ground and in the tank without them you could possibly lose both.

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STemplar March 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I don't really think of ulawful combatant as BS, it really is just putting a name to what is spelled out in the LOAC.

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Brok3n March 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I wonder if such a system can be adapted to a helicopter one day? Regardless, the Israeli concept seems more efficient and effective than the current American concept of shooting another **** rocket at it..

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Lance March 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Wonder when this system becomes stranded on Magtech M-60s?

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@7thwave March 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

My problem with this system, and I do not think it is a very good debut of a weapon system is where was the infantry that was supposed to be supporting the tank?

See, it is very easy to become dependent on technology to defeat a threat. And unfortunately that replaces such thing as good battle field tactics, and training.

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William C. March 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I've seen all sorts of talk about Trophy over the years but I've never seen what exactly is the kill-mechanism and how you reload it.

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Joe Schmoe March 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

It reloads itself automatically. As to what it is…. better not discussed on public forums.

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 5:14 am

How it functions is on youtube. Also on the manufacturer's website

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Chuck March 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Phased plasma rifle in the 40 megawatt range
:-)

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Luis Lomeli March 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm

The Israeli Defense Forces DO NOT explode bombs inside civilian buses or Commercial centers, neither send missiles to unsuspecting population areas, Whoever perform this kind of acts is considered a Terrorist Body, they are terrorist armies as well, such as the Libyan Army right now killing they own population with tanks, airplanes, bombs, etc….

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Oblat March 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Sure they do they carpet bomb whole suburbs - sounds like you are a terrorist sympathizer.

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orly? March 2, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Where do all the gazans live then?

That nice mall with a buffet they put up a couple of years ago?

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 5:11 am

Do you even KNOW what 'carpet bombing' means? Obviously, not! They use surgical strikes. Otherwise there would be tens of thousands of deaths due to the high population density in Gazan cities (there are NO suburbs FYI). We kill more with our Predator strikes than the Israelis with their warplanes. Try learning from something other than the left wing dinosaur media! That way you might sound like you actually KNOW something instead of mouthing tired old agitprop.

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Hudson March 4, 2011 at 3:13 am

Oblat, just because Russia does it in Chechnya when no reporters are around, doesn't mean the same happens in Gaza, crammed full of BBC reporters and other European sympathizers with Islamic terrorism.

The previous war was covered to an absurd extent, and no carpet bombings. But keep sympathizing with a Iran-like Islamic militancy, you twat.

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blight March 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Firing a Hellfire missile into a house to get a terrorist by killing his family isn't quite the same as deliberately targeting civilians in a nonspecific fashion, but it's still killing civilians. As is rigging a bomb to a pressure switch or command det in someone's car.

If Hamas did the latter against Israelis, it would probably be construed as terrorism. It's a very messy war, indeed…

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yesjb March 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Oblat,
I wonder if you would be so kind as to support your comments with documented and verified facts, particularly the part about "carpet bombing".
I'm sure you are an expert on the matter so I will of course bow to your superior knowledge base.
But try not to enclude Hamas or Hezb'allah enclaves or sites where both launch missiles at Israel. And, oh yes, cropped photos to make it look like an entire city has been destroyed where in fact its a small building containing a missile launcher and human shields.
Or perhaps you're referring to cities like Coventry or London or even Munich or perhaps Dresden or Yokohama.
But hey, thanks for the tip. I'll check it out too!

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486772 March 2, 2011 at 11:37 pm

feels like an rpg probe to 'test" out the new reactive armor system and see how it works and figure out how to defeat it……

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6471960 March 3, 2011 at 5:19 am

No! They are just trying to damage the tank. The response, most probably, was a huge surprise for them. They are not exactly up to date on whats what; nor are they the smartest ones on their block!

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Airborne80 March 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

Rock Steady Israel!!!! You have an absolute right and indeed an obligation to destroy everything and everyone who seeks to harm anyone on your soil. Airborne!!!! Anyone who fails to support Israel is an enemy to freedom. period!!! And I am a Christian, right winged, proud American.

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ohwilleke March 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Sounds like the mission of armored units is increasingly going to become point defense instead of engaging enemy armor.

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AJ-47 March 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm

You wrote "Merkava tanks saw a baptism by fire recently" But the Israeli are not Christian so I would right it like this: "Merkava tank get is first combat proven award, by fire recently"

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blight March 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Followers of John were baptized in the River Jordan. They weren't Christian either…

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smilnjack March 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

To AJ-47: Perhaps you didn't know that John the Baptist was a Jew?

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nraddin March 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

I know you where trying to make me look the fool here but I figured I would answer your question anyway. You train them to fool security and police so that they may move in the crowd without being caught, you train them in how to setup, use the explosives that you wish for them to use. Often you have to send them to another country without the equipment they need in advance, they muse know how to live in that country (Without becoming enamored in a way that would make them not carry about the mission), get the supplies they needs, construct the device, and get it to it's location. All of this and you still have to convince them to kill themselves.

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blight March 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Palestinian is a newish name applied to a group of people in the Levant. The name may be new but the people have been there for generations, or more. Name changes don't diminish their status and claim to the land, any more than calling a Jew an Israeli wouldn't change their claim to the land.

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