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The US Army is expected to make key decisions regarding the integration of Active Protection Systems (APS) onto a variety of combat vehicles next summer, according to the program executive officer for Army combat vehicles.
The systems are intended to provide advanced protection for the Army’s combat vehicles against rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank guided missiles, and other threats. The Army has already worked on characterization testing on the M1 Abrams tank.
Defensenews.com reports that the service will characterize APS offerings on Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Stryker combat vehicles starting in January, Maj. Gen. David Bassett said during the BAE Systems unveiling of the service’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) at its facility in Pennsylvania.
The Army intends to install a range of matured and improved commercial APS solutions across the ground combat portfolio. By prototyping combinations of systems and vehicles cooperatively with the service’s science and technology branch, the Army hopes to reduce both acquisition and operational risk and get solutions fielded quickly.
Bassett said the service plans to wrap up testing of a range of APS systems on various vehicles and will make decisions on the right solutions next summer. While one system may work well on a Bradley, another system may be better suited for Stryker or Abrams, for instance.
The Army is looking at four different APS offerings, three of which are foreign, two are from Israel. Trophy — designed and manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems – has been battle tested during border patrols in the Gaza Strip as well as during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The Trophy is a situational awareness and active protection hard kill system that operates in three major stages: Threat detection and threat tracking followed by hard kill countermeasure activation and threat neutralization. The neutralization process takes place only if the threat is about to hit the platform. According to Rafael’s website, the system is adaptable to any combat platform. DRS Technologies is serving as a partner in the US.
The other Israeli offering is Israeli Military Industry’s (IMI) Iron Fist. It provides a combined Soft-and Hard-Kill Active protection System, adaptable to various platforms from light vehicles to heavy AFVs. IRON FIST employs a sophisticated, multi-sensor early warning system.
Rheinmetall Defence, a German company, is said to have a candidate – its Active Defense System – in the running. And Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain is the US-based offering. The Iron Curtain offers protection that defeats rocket-propelled grenades and other shoulder-launched threats, using high-speed sensing and parallel processing to intercept and destroy a multitude of threats.
Partly spurring the effort is the possibility that Russia is ahead of the US Army when it comes to armor protection.