US Army deploys in Germany M1A2 Sep V2 main battle tanks fitted with Trophy APS Active Protection System

According to a Tweet released by US Army Europe twitter account on July 18, 2020, the U.S. Army has deployed M1A2 Abrams Sep V2 main battle tanks in Germany fitted with the new Trophy APS (Active Protection System). The Trophy is an APS developed and designed by the Israeli Company Rafael that can be integrated into main battle tanks and combat vehicles. The goal of this APS is to intercept and destroy incoming anti-tank guided missiles and rockets with a shotgun-like blast.
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U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams SEP V2 fitted with Israeli-made Trophy APS Active Protection System deployed in Germany for the NATO military exercise Defender Europe 2020. (Picture source US Army Europe Twitter account)

The new M1A2 Abrams Sep V2 fitted with the Trophy APS (Active Protection System) will take part at the military exercise Defender Europe 2020. This NATO military exercise was designed as a deployment exercise to build strategic readiness in support of the U.S. National Defense Strategy and NATO deterrence objectives.

In September 2017, the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) has announced that General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan, has been awarded a $9,899,995 modification (P00027) to contract W56HZV-17-C-0067 to support and urgent material release and have first unit equipped on trophy installed on an Armor Brigade Combat Team’s M1A2 SEPv2.

The Israeli government first developed the Trophy technology, and the U.S. Army began developing the system for the Abrams about two years ago. Production of the system is a collaboration between General Dynamics Land Systems, Leonardo DRS and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

In October 2019, Leonardo DRS has announced the delivery of the first Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to defend the Army’s Abrams main battle tanks against a variety of anti-armor threats. The Trophy APS is mounted on M1A2 Abrams SEPV V2, radar boxes are mounted on each side the turret to provide 360° protection against anti-tank guide missiles and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades). When the Trophy APS detects threats, the radar detects and classifies the incoming threat. The system tracks the threat, computes intercept parameters and transmit alert to the crew and the Battle Management System (BMS). If threats pose danger, the system launches countermeasures to neutralize it away from the protected zone.

US Army deploys in Germany M1A2 Sep V2 main battle tanks fitted with Trophy APS Active Protection System 925 002
Trophy APS Active Protection System mounted on M1A2 Abrams main battle tank of the U.S. Army. (Picture source Leonardo DRS)

The TROPHY APS offers 360° azimuth protection and high-angle elevation coverage while maintaining user-defined safety zones for friendly troops on the ground.

The Trophy is able to intercept all types of anti-tank missiles and rockets, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades. 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 trophy is the only fully integrated, combat-proven APS in the world. Since its first deployment in 2011, and currently installed on the IDF's Merkava Mk3 and Merkava Mk4 tanks and Namer APCs, Trophy has made numerous combat interceptions with no injuries to crews, dismounted troops or damage to platforms. Having undergone over 4000 successful field tests, Trophy has accrued over 500,000 operating hours and is now under contract for serial production for thousands of systems.

The M1A2 SEP V2 is an improvement of the M1A2 SEP main battle tank. Upgrades include improved survivability, automotive power pack, computer systems, and night vision capabilities. As the second version in the M1A2 SEP, the V2 variant provides the Army with a digital tank with a new electronic backbone, powerful new computers, and an open architecture designed to accept future technologies without the need for significant redesign.

The main armament of the M1A2 SEP V2 MBT is similar to the M1A2 Abrams which consists of one 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon. The standard 12,7mm machine gun for the tank commander is replaced by a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) II developed by the Norwegian Company Kongsberg Defense armed with a 12.7mm machine gun. The CROWS II is fitted with detached Line of Sight (DLOS) enables the gunner to keep his sights on target, independent of ballistic solution for the weapon/ammo in use.