Some of the Israeli and German defense heavyweights – Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and General Dynamics European Land Systems – have announced their intention to create a joint venture called EuroTrophy.
The Germany-based company will supply European customers, primarily in Germany, with a variant of the Trophy active protection system that Israel has used to protect its tanks and other armored vehicles. Although the joint venture has yet to clear antitrust and regulatory hurdles, it could start integrating the APS Trophy on German Bundeswehr vehicles as early as next year.
The announcement noted that Germany is the first European country to adopt the Trophy system and is joining the United States in equipping their main battle tanks with the defensive system.
“Our joint strategic decision to establish the EuroTrophy joint venture is a clear commitment to Germany as a premier business location and underlines the importance of active protection systems”, explained Ralf Ketzel, CEO of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann . “On the battlefields of today and tomorrow, they will be an important element in the endurance, efficiency and protection of the crew. As a leading supplier of armored vehicle systems, integrating advanced capabilities into our products is essential. ”
A recent statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry gave more details, explaining that following a government-to-government agreement between Germany and Israel in February, the Bundeswehr conducted live-fire trophy tests on its Leopard 2 main battle tanks. The trophy provided “a threat interception success rate of well over 90%” and provided “the precise location of the fire source”.
The Israelis designed the Trophy active protection system to protect their Merkava main battle tanks, and the system does this by locating and shooting down a variety of incoming ammunition. Trophy “creates a neutralization bubble around the vehicle. It rapidly detects, classifies and engages all known chemical energy (CE) threats, including recoilless rifles, ATGMs, AT rockets, HEAT tank shells and RPGs, ”according to a Rafael Company statement. .
The trophy not only protects armored vehicles, but “also increases the lethality of combat forces, successfully neutralizing enemy anti-tank teams. It can locate the source of the fire, allowing the crew to respond effectively using the platform’s weaponry, or by interfacing with other combat platforms via the BMS network, ”the statement said. .
Trophy has a proven track record in combat, protecting Israeli tank crews in various combat situations since 2011. The protection offered by Trophy may cause a paradigm shift in armored warfare, as the Israeli active protection system, although it is not insurmountable, is highly efficient — no wonder Germany is eager to harness Israeli technology.
Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National interest. He lives in Berlin and covers the intersection of conflict, security and technology, focusing on US foreign policy, European security and German society.