A Vehicle Protection System (VPS) is a suite of systems that provide force protection and system survivability. A VPS may include active and passive system survivability measures to avoid, defeat, or mitigate threats. An active protection system (APS) can be a component of a VPS and is designed to prevent anti-armor/anti-tank threat weapons from acquiring, hitting, and/or penetrating a target through soft-kill or hard-kill means. Hard-kill systems typically employ explosive countermeasures to disrupt, redirect, and/or destroy inbound threat munitions. In contrast, soft-kill systems typically disrupt threat munitions’ guidance systems, causing rockets or missiles to miss their intended targets. From a combat and tactical vehicle perspective, the combination of these approaches may serve to best improve existing VPS measures.
Considerable resources have been spent developing systems to counter incoming anti-armor threats over the past few decades. To date, no hard-kill APS has been fielded on a U.S. combat platform. The Marine Corps has fielded other survivability-related systems that contribute to anti-armor threat protection such as multispectral smoke and obscurants, passive and reactive armors, and a soft kill APS system.
The USMC M1A1 Trophy Technology Demonstrator (TD) is part of the US Army Ex APS program. This project will deliver a first increment hard-kill APS and enable crews to determine hostile fire point-of-origin. In 2017, the Trophy Active Protection System was installed and tested on a USMC M1A1; this effort has informed requirements, set the conditions for a future program of record, and contributed to performance characterization of the system with the Army.
The Marine Corps’ current and future ground combat vehicles lack the capability to detect incoming anti-armor threats and defeat those threats before impact. Active Protection Systems will improve vehicle survivability by detecting and defeating Anti- Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), and Recoilless Rifles (RR) improving combat vehicle survivability and crew force protection.
The Army and Marine Corps have similar requirements to protect maneuver forces from anti-armor threats. APS technology is maturing to the point of near-term usefulness and will be adapted to USMC mission profile requirements. The proliferation and employment of modern anti-armor munitions combined with the technical limitations of passive armor and USMC transportability requirements drive the operational need for an APS.
The M1A1 Trophy TD phase is complete. The USMC project is partially funded to procure (48) of (56) systems as a special mission kit for four tank companies. This project will transition with the US Army into the next phase of developmental and operational testing. It is currently scheduled to procure an initial system set in FY21, but efforts to accelerate the program to begin fielding in FY19 are currently being evaluated to ensure our continued alignment with the Army. The Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of (14) systems is planned for fourth quarter, FY21 and Full Operational Capability (FOC) for fourth quarter, FY23.
FY21 - QTY 14
FY22 - QTY 18
FY23 - QTY 24
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Haifa, Israel