Eurosatory 2024 – EuroTrophy now well deserves its Euro definition

Paolo Valpolini

Until Eurosatory 2022 the Euro definition added before Trophy was mainly showing where the company established by Rafael, the Israeli company that developed the system, General Dynamics European Land Systems and KNDS, was based, its headquarters being in Frankfurt. At Eurosatory 2024 the Euro added to the system name is well deserved as now two major customers from the Old Continent have inked a contract for equipping their new Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks with that active protection system, APS in short

Already visible on a Leopard 2A7 two years ago in Paris, the EuroTrophy will soon be operational with the German and Norwegian armies, more land forces being close to follow in their steps. “The Czech Republic and Lithuania seem those closer to sign a contract for Leopard 2A8 in the same configuration, the Netherlands and Slovak Republic may follow soon after,” Dan Kalfus, the EuroTrophy GmbH Managing Director told EDR On-Line a few days before the exhibition opening. Italy was also very close to ink a contract for 132 Leopard 2A8, albeit these might be in a different version, the possibility that they will be fitted with the EuroTrophy being quite high; following the break-up of the agreement between KNDS and Leonardo the future of the Italin acquisition is unclear. It is unclear if Greece will buy new tanks or will upgrade existing ones, a programme has been around for some time for rejuvenating the Hellenic Leos, the upgrade path being also the one that should be followed by Spain. And Germany might decide to further increase the number of its MBTs, in the Cold War era the Bundeswehr fielded over 4,000 tanks, and if this will happen they will definitely be equipped with the APS of Israeli origin.

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Europe is also looking at next generation MBTs, and recently KNDS, which has finally become the official name of the two companies that were merged in the new bi-national land defence giant, with Nexter becoming KNDS France and KMW becoming KNDS Deutschland. The first common product, a hybridation between the Leopard 2 and the Leclerc, the chassis being German and the turret French, was shown at Eurosatory 2018 to demonstrate the will to cooperate, and again in 2022, this time in a much more evolved configuration, which included the EuroTrophy. What will become the MGCS, the Main Ground Combat System, which is being boosted by recent political decisions by Paris and Berlin remains to be seen, but EuroTrophy will definitely make all efforts to become a player in that programme.

Beside commercial considerations, the Trophy, hence the EuroTrophy, is also evolving technically. “We have proven its efficiency against drones in tests and in real operation already” Dan Kalfus confirms, a video having been shown at the International Armoured Vehicles conference that took place at the Twickenham Stadium in January. According to the Managing Director the results were obtained using the standard Trophy but with possible need in upgraded software. He underlines that there is a major difference between drones, which are relatively slow but have an unpredictable trajectory, and loitering munitions, which tend to have a much higher speed but a smoother trajectory, and that these differences are now mapped in order to optimize the next steps in the Trophy roadmap.

EDR On-Line understood that the Trophy roadmap sees as main threats loitering munitions, top attack weapons, drones and KE Rounds and the route to the future starts from the standard system with no major changes, then incremental upgrades in smaller steps in software and potentially hardware, and finally “further, bigger upgrades of the Trophy system which are now in the works”, the Manging Director stated, “with Trophy we are focusing on robust capabilities, with an effectiveness of well above 90%, not at a 70% solution”, he added. For the time being EuroTrophy is also looking at new platforms, the ASCOD and the Boxer being among them, and an ASCOD with the Trophy installed could be seen at Eurosatory on the GDELS stand, where the Trophy could also be seen at the Escribano booth on the Spanish company turret as well as on the KNDS booth, on the Leclerc Evolution and the Leopard 2 ARC 3.0, the two new versions of the tanks of French and German origin unveiled in Paris.

Photos by P. Valpolini