Leonardo DRS and Israel’s Rafael completed successful live-fire qualifications for a lighter version of their Trophy active protection system (APS), demonstrating potential for future integration on smaller Army vehicles, including Bradleys and Strykers, the company said on Monday.

The updated Trophy vehicle protection system (VPS) achieves a 40 percent reduction in weight, addressing previous Army concerns on the protection-to-weight ratio of the heavier APS platform previously selected to be integrated on Abrams tanks.

Leonardo's Trophy APS, developed by Rafael, on an Army M1 Abrams Tank. Photo: Leonardo DRS
Leonardo’s Trophy APS, developed by Rafael, on an Army M1 Abrams Tank. Photo: Leonardo DRS

“Leonardo DRS and our Rafael partner have listened closely to our customers and these achievements represent our continuing investment in meeting their needs. We are leaning forward to bring added capabilities to Trophy for the Army’s Vehicle Protection System program,” Aaron Hankins, vice president of Leonardo DRS’ land systems division, said in a statement.

The Army previously awarded Leonardo DRS and Rafael $193 million in June to integrate the Trophy APS on its M1 Abrams tanks, the first active protection system for U.S. military vehicles (Defense Daily, June 26).

Trophy APS provides improved defenses against a full-range of weapon threats but adds over a half-ton in weight to the Abrams, causing Army officials concern over the potential to cause the vehicle’s turret to become imbalanced.

The live-fire qualifications with the Trophy VPS integrated on a Bradley fighting vehicle were conducted on a test range in Israel.

Leonardo DRS said the tests included over 250 live scenarios to demonstrate the lighter system’s ability to retain the full hard-kill defeat capabilities of the heavier Trophy APS. The platform proved capabilities to protect against direct fire, anti-armor rocket and missile threats, according to officials.

Company officials said Trophy VPS will be demonstrated next on Strykers at the request of the platform’s program office.

Last month, the Army announced plans to stop testing Artis’ Iron Curtain APS on Strykers after determining the system did not meet requirements for rapid deployment (Defense Daily, August 24).

Army officials are planning to hold demonstrations this November to find a potential replacement system to join ongoing evaluations for the Trophy APS on Abrams and Israeli Military Industries and General Dynamics’ [GD] Iron Fist APS on Bradleys.

Officials from the U.S., NATO and allied nations were attendance at the qualifications to monitor the tests.

“Rafael is encouraged by the extensive presence of U.S. and international visitors at the tests,” Moshe Elazar, head of Rafael’s land and naval division, said in a statement. “It shows the growing understanding that system maturity is not just a phrase. We are guaranteeing lower programmatic risk to our customers by leveraging proven performance and broad integration experience on main battle tanks, IFVs, 8X8s, and other platforms.”