Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shields Up Scotty

New Vehicle Mounted Defense System To Act Like "Forcefield" against RPGs.

The Trophy active protection system creates something equivalent to a hemispheric "force field" around the protected vehicle. It has three elements providing – Threat Detection and Tracking, Launching and Intercept functions. The Threat Detection and Warning subsystem consists of several sensors, including flat-panel radars, placed at strategic locations around the protected vehicle, to provide full hemispherical coverage. Once an incoming threat is detected identified and verified, the Countermeasure Assembly is opened, the countermeasure device is positioned in the direction where it can effectively intercept the threat. Then, it is launched automatically into a ballistic trajectory to intercept the incoming threat at a relatively long distance.

Specific details about the composition and mechanism of this explosive interceptor device are vague. From the briefing provided by US sources, Defense Update understands that Trophy is design to form a "beam" of fragments, which will intercept any incoming HEAT threat, including RPG rockets at a range of 10 – 30 meters from the protected platform. The Trophy development roadmap considers an enhanced countermeasure unit to be available in the future, and protect against kinetic energy (KE) threats. Trophy was designed to effectively operate in a dense urban environment, where armored vehicles operate closely with integrated infantry forces. Therefore, direction, formation and energy of the fragments are designed to ensure effective target kill with low collateral damage, and low risk to nearby troops. While not in use, the system is maintained in the stowed position, protected by an armor shield. The system has an automatic reload mechanism to handle multiple attacks.

The system can simultaneously engage several threats, arriving from different directions, is effective on stationary or moving platforms, and is effective against short and long range threats (such as RPGs and ATGM). Trophy was designed to be effective in open or closed terrain, including urban area and can be operated under all weather conditions.

On March 30, 2006 General Dynamics announced the successful completion of a firing test, conducted at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Office of Force Transformation (OFT), to validate the Israeli Army's tests that demonstrated Trophy's ability to detect, track and destroy incoming rocket propelled grenades (RPG) at safe distances from the host vehicle. Trophy underwent this U.S. validation testing in support of OFT's Project Sheriff, or the Full-Spectrum Effects Platform (FSEP). FSEP program officials seek to meet urgent operational requirements for a range of lethal and non-lethal technologies on a rapidly deployable platform. Trophy was selected in 2005 to be FSEP's active protection solution. During the test, Trophy detected, tracked and defeated an inert incoming RPG while the Stryker combat vehicle was on the move. Similar tests were successfully conducted in Israel in late February.