The Russian Armed Forces T-14 Armata and the German Army Leopard 2A7 are among the most advanced, powerful and highly-capable Main Battle Tanks in the world. Recently, the German industry defense group KMW demonstrated the latest upgraded variant of the Leopard 2A7 tank with the integrated Israeli Trophy Active Protection System at a military exhibition in the Czech Republic. The addition of Trophy APS on the Leopard will highly increase the German tank battlefield survivability. The Trophy APS complex is considered to help the Leopard 2A7 tank become invincible.
The Trophy is an Israeli-made active protection system designed and developed by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elta Group. The main idea of the designer was to improve the survivability of the tank on the battlefield.
Trophy APS has the ability to make tanks invulnerable in certain combat situations, especially when combined with existing armour and passive protection of the tank.
Trophy protects against a wide variety of anti-tank threats, while also maximizing the vehicle’s ability to identify enemy location to crews and combat formation, thereby providing greater survivability and maneuverability in all combat theatres.
Trophy is a modular system that enables connectivity to other systems, such as soft-kill, C4I systems, remote-controlled weapon stations, etc. The system is designed to work against all types of anti-tank missiles, rockets, and tank HEAT rounds, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades and recoilless rifles.
The system can simultaneously engage several threats arriving from different directions, is effective on stationary or moving platforms, and is effective against both short- and long-range threats. Newer versions of the system include a reloading feature for multiple firings. The Trophy development plan includes an enhanced countermeasures unit to be available in the future for protection against kinetic energy penetrators.
The primary role of Trophy is defence against missile strikes, particularly for lighter armored personnel carriers, which are very vulnerable to rocket attacks. Since 2011, the system has achieved 100% success in all low and high-intensity combat events, in diversified terrain (urban, open and foliage).
The system has intercepted a variety of threats, including the 9M133 Kornet ATGM, RPG-29, etc. the U.S Army has reported similar success in tests. “I tried to kill the Abrams tank with ATGM 48 times and failed, despite the fact that some of them were supersonic,” said US Army Col. Glenn Dean. According to Rafael, by 2017, Trophy has accrued over 50,000 operating hours in deployment, bringing the system to a maximum reliability level.
In order to ensure minimal collateral damage and low residual penetration, Rafael selected a unique kill mechanism for Trophy, with a surgical effect.
The Trophy system is currently incapable of defeating kinetic energy tank rounds. Prior to Rafael’s declaration of its Medium-sized vehicle active protection Trophy variant (Trophy MV/VPS), there were claims regarding Trophy HV’s size and weight.
One more problem with the Trophy APS is that with the integration of this system with the battle tank, the tank overall weight increases and it becomes heavier, thus affecting its mobility and speed, so the tank now requires a stronger and much capable engine much better than the currently used 1500hp engine.
At the NATO day 2022 exhibition, the Leopard 2A7 tank integrated with the Trophy APS system war star of the event. It is worth mentioning that the Turkish Armed Forces has expressed special interest in the upgraded varient of the Leopard battle tank.
Although, Turkey is developing a new tank named as Altay, but turkey is also a large user of older series of Leopard Tanks, and that is why the Turkish Army is showing interest in the upgraded varient.
The Developers of the Trophy claim that it is the only Active Protection System in the world which is battle tested. Since 2010, the system has protected the Merkava Main Battle Tanks and the Namer APC vehicles of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Other Active Protection Systems developed by other countries are currently only on paper, and none of them has proven itself in combat.