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IAI Active Protection System for US M1 Abrams tanks.

| 2018

The US Army will equip its M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks with Elta's WindGuard Active Protection System, IAI announced on 13 November. Elta Systems, a division and subsidiary of IAI, was by Leonardo DRS to provide the US with the radar in addition to a contract for Rafael Trophy system which was signed with US Army last June.

IAI Active Protection System for US M1 Abrams tanks
The US Army will equip its MA2 tanks with ELTA’s WindGuard Active Protection System, IAI announced on 13 November. (Picture source: US Army)

The systems will be mounted on the Abrams tanks “to support immediate operational requirements,” IAI said, adding that the contract was awarded following successful performance demonstration in the Expedited Active Protection Systems Program on the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. “The WindGuard radar provides game-changing capabilities for the US Army with its ability to protect the Abrams tanks against modern battle threats. We are proud to be selected as part of the prestigious US Army MBT Active Protection System,” said Yoav Tourgeman, Elta CEO & IAI executive vice president, as reported by Caroline Biscotti on Hawthorn Caller.

The WindGuard system is the first operational hard-kill active protection radar in the world and along with the Trophy system, has been installed on Israel’s Merkava tanks since 2009. They have since been installed on the IDF’s Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle and the IDF’s new armored personnel carrier, the Eitan. The radar continually scans the surrounding vicinity for threats like anti-tank rockets, guided missiles or tank shells. Once a threat is detected, the crew receives an early warning and simultaneously activates the Trophy system to intercept and neutralize the threat by firing a shotgun-type blast before the platform is hit. The entire process takes a fraction of a second and is performed automatically with- out any human intervention.

According to a 2016 US Army training handbook on foreign weapon systems, “the anti-tank guided missile is the singular greatest threat to tanks today,” with a variety of platforms to launch them continuing to increase. Last month, Russia claimed that it had developed a new missile for its T-14 Armata tank, which could allegedly penetrate twice the armor of the M1 Abrams. According to Russia’s Izvestia daily, the missile has a range of 3.1 miles and can penetrate 900 millimeters of hardened steel plate.

The Trophy System received its “baptism by fire” on March 1, 2011, when it neutralized an RPG antitank rocket which had been fired from a short range toward an IDF Merkava Mark-IV tank close to the border with the Gaza Strip. The system has since proved its efficacy in several operations, especially during Operation Protective Edge, where IDF tanks were able to operate in the Gaza Strip without suffering any losses.

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