US Army se­lects Is­rael Mil­i­tary In­dus­tries for APC ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By YAAKOV LAPPIN

The US Army has cho­sen Is­rael Mil­i­tary In­dus­tries to pro­vide it with an ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem for its ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers in a dra­matic devel­op­ment for Is­rael’s de­fense ex­port mar­ket.

The sys­tem will be in­stalled on APC rooftops. It will use a com­bi­na­tion of a radar and an elec­tro-op­ti­cal sen­sor to de­tect and in­ter­cept a range of in­com­ing mis­siles and rocket-pro­pelled grenades, IMI cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing Avi­noam Zafrir told The Jerusalem Post on Mon­day.

In an of­fi­cial state­ment, IMI said the US Army “se­lected our Iron Fist-based Ac­tive Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem tech­nolo­gies,” as part of its “Mod­u­lar Ac­tive Pro­tec­tion Sys­tems.”

Af­ter study­ing and test­ing it, the US Army chose IMI’s Iron Fist Light Con­fig­u­ra­tion, de­signed for light- to medium-weight APCs.

When the ve­hi­cles come un­der guided mis­sile fire, the sys­tem can jam the threats that have ad­vanced guid­ance sys­tems and cause them to fall harm­lessly to the ground. “Dumb” weapons, such as RPGs, are de­stroyed us­ing in­ter­cep­tors. Small war­heads are fired and ex­plode near the in­com­ing threat, de­stroy­ing it with a shock wave, Zafrir ex­plained.

The in­ter­cep­tion oc­curs at a safe dis­tance from the de­fended plat­form, he added. The sys­tem works in a “very close-range sce­nario in both open field and ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments,” an IMI state­ment said.

The sys­tem’s low weight, lack of shock af­ter it fires its in­ter­cep­tor, and “at­trac­tive price” were all fac­tors in the US army’s de­ci­sion to se­lect it, ac­cord­ing to Zafrir.

He hailed its “abil­ity to de­fend against rock­ets, RPGs, anti-tank mis­siles from the en­tire spec­trum, and even against re­coil­less gun mu­ni­tions.

“A boxer can put up both hands to ab­sorb blows – this is pas­sive de­fense. He can also strike out with a fist and hit be­fore he is punched. This is ac­tive de­fense, and it is what our sys­tem of­fers,” Zafrir said.

The sys­tem’s com­puter en­ables it to de­cide when to fire the in­ter­cep­tor, or to jam the threat, within a “split sec­ond,” he said. In cases of phys­i­cal in­ter­cep­tion, “We cre­ate a shock wave around the threat, and it falls as metal pieces to the ground,” he added.

Iron Fist’s sen­sors al­low per­son­nel in­side an APC to see other threats around them, such as gun­men in the vicin­ity.

“We be­lieve that the Amer­i­can army will be­gin ac­qui­si­tion and sup­ply within two years,” Zafrir said.

“We are con­vinced there is a very big po­ten­tial here.”

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