Currently one of the most widely used systems is the Trophy, developed and produced by Rafael of Israel. It is in use since 2011 with the Israel Defence Forces, on Merkava 3 and4 tanks and Namer personnel carrier, and later on in the US on the Abrams MBT family. It was also selected by the German army for the Leopard 2 MBT on the A7V version and by the British Army for the upgraded Challenger 3 tank. It was also integrated and tested on many other land armoured platforms. With the aim of increasing the system footprint I Europe in March 2022 EuroTrophy was formed as a joint venture between two major platform OEMS,
General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), and the Trophy produced, Rafael. With HQs in Frankfurt, Eurotrophy established two production lines respectively in Kassel and Kaiserslautern, those two towns hosting plants of the two European OEMS, respectively KMW and GDELS. According to information provided at IAV these are about to start production, while a logistic and supply chain is being established in Munich. EuroTrophy GmbH aims at becoming the European hub for the system, working hand in hand with platform providers from feasibility studies, to integration and after sales servicing. With an increasing European customer base the company will definitely establish other facilities in customer countries, and will also look at local subcontractors also to increase the security of supply.
The Trophy is in continuous evolution, and in late January EuroTrophy unveiled the new “Silent Mode” developed under the request of some customers that aimed at reducing the radiofrequency signature of Trophy-equipped platforms. Originally the system detection, identification and tracking was provided by four AESA flat antennas installed usually at the four corners of the turret providing 360° coverage, which provided data to the computer that then gave orders to one of the two trainable launchers, initiating the launch of the effector at the right time and in the right direction. Having radars always active increased the RF signature of the platform, hence the addition of an electro-optic sensor, known as Othello. This allows the crew, at the touch of a button, to switch off the radar maintaining the electro-optic system as the sole detection sensor. Being fully passive, it is used as a tripwire and when a potential threat is detected it automatically switches on radar that immediately resumes its role.
This solution has been developed and proven, and EDR On-Line understood it is in service with the IDF and probably with other customers, however Rafael declines to comment to avoid giving advantages to potential adversaries. Company representatives stated that the Silent Mode is now being introduced more and more often in RfQs, at least as an option. It can be of course provided for new installations, but can also be fitted to platforms already equipped with the Trophy as an upgrade kit. Discussing top attack issues, the Trophy is considered a last ditch solution, however its radars might be part of a surveillance suite, although they would need to be oriented upwards. The company considers that C-UAS is a layered business, and soft-kill measures should be used as first line defence, the APS system having a finite number of effectors that might be better used to defeat other threats.
Photos courtesy Rafael