Trophy destroys RPGs by intercepting them away from a targeted vehicle. From anti-tank guided missiles to RPGs, fighting vehicles and soldiers remain at risk, and have taken many casualties due to these weapons. For over 16 months, military commanders in Iraq have urgently requested help from the Pentagon to defend against these attacks.
The Trophy system was developed in Israel by Rafael Armament Development Authority, and is a proven active-protection system. The system combines smart detection and advanced hard-kill technology that neutralizes what were once threats, by creating an impenetrable shield around fighting vehicles.
When a rocket or missile enters Trophys radar layer, the system detects, tracks and classifies the threat. If the vehicle is about to be hit, a hard-kill mechanism is activated and neutralizes or detonates the incoming weapons in mid air with virtually no residual effects.
Trophy maintains full kill performance even while on the move, and provides 360 degree protection. Because this high tech system is capable of neutralizing most missiles without detonation, its believed that soldiers within close proximity of the engagement would rarely incur injury.
According to Greg Gant of the Defense News: ...the army is passing up on Trophy to pursue an alternative system that wont be fielded until 2011 or later.
How many more casualties can we expect in the next four years that could be prevented with a proven system such as Trophy, and what kind of message is this sending to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The Israeli military has lost a number of tanks and troops due to RPGs, and is currently deploying the Trophy system with a 90% kill probability. Officials from the Pentagons Office of Force Transformation went to Israel and tested the Trophy defense system more than 30 times, and found it to be more than 98% effective in destroying RPGs. They purchased several Trophy systems at a cost of $300,000 to $400,000 each and planned on testing them on the battlefield in Iraq.
Critics claim that the entire project was scrapped by the U.S. Army without legitimate reasoning. The hierarchy in the Army claims that Trophy has not demonstrated its capability successfully, and does not have an automatic reload in place, which could put troops in jeopardy during the reloading process.
This is far from the truth, according to Israeli officials. Colonel Didi Ben Yoash, who helped develop Trophy, claims that auto-reload is intact and fully operational, and he is confident that this system can save lives.
The Armys claim was also disputed by Pentagon officials in a document obtained through a network news organization. An e-mail from a senior official in the Pentagon stated: Trophy is a system that is ready today. We need to get this capability into the hands of our war fighters ASAP, because it will save lives.
The U.S. Army, using the buddy system, recently awarded a $70 million defense contract to Raytheon Corporation to develop similar weaponry. Colonel Donald Kotchman is in charge of the program and considers the Israeli system a threat to the Armys program to develop its own RPG system from scratch. If the Trophy proved to be effective, then the Army would have no reason to go forward with the Raytheon system, and might have to terminate it. A technical team was appointed to evaluate competing RPG defense systems, and nine of the 21-person team happened to work for Raytheon. They ultimately concluded that their system was the best, even though it would not be operational until 2011.