Rafael is currently producing the TROPHY active protection system (APS) for three customers: the Israeli Defence Force (IDF); the US Army; and the armed forces of an undisclosed Asian nation. Deliveries have now been commenced to all three customers.
In Israel, Rafael has already delivered several hundred systems to the IDF, from a total of over 1,000 under contract. The company also delivered its first 29 TROPHY systems to the US Army last month – two weeks ahead of schedule. Rafael plans to continue shipments to this initial US customer through 2020, with enough systems ultimately to equip four brigades of ABRAMS main battle tanks (MBT).
Rafael’s efforts to expand the presence of TROPHY in the US military are being completed through an exclusive teaming agreement with Leonardo DRS. Rafael’s Michael Lurie, a Vice President and Head of the Land Maneuver Directorate in the Land & Naval Division, commented, “No matter where we compete in the US, the company that competes for us is DRS.”
While TROPHY is currently manufactured in Israel, Rafael “buys a lot of content from different companies in the US,” noted Lurie, a former Israeli Army brigadier general. Indeed, for the TROPHY systems manufactured for the IDF, more than 50% of each system’s content is supplied by US companies, with final assembly and testing completed in Israel. Rafael is exploring opportunities to manufacture TROPHY systems in the US as more units are sold to the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Beyond these confirmed customers, Rafael successfully tested TROPHY fitted to a German Army LEOPARD MBT this past summer. This milestone has been parlayed into a wider business opportunity. The German MoD and KMW, the LEOPARD’s manufacturer, recently sponsored and conducted demonstrations of TROPHY in Germany, mounted on a LEOPARD2A4, for most European operators of this tank.
Beyond this emerging business opportunity in Germany, Rafael is in discussion with several other unspecified customers in Europe who are interested in fitting the systems on both tanks and 8x8 wheeled vehicles. This expanding interest complements, in part, the emerging interest intesting the integration of TROPHY on a US Army STRYKER vehicle.
Mr Lurie reported a current backorder of thousands of TROPHY systems, differentiating it from other similar systems on the market, noting “it has been tested and shot at more than 3,000 times. It has been used in actual military operations in Gaza twice. It performed. You can’t cover it – if it doesn’t perform 100% you hear about it.” And beyond, these metrics, it was emphasised, “We have had more than one million operational hours and there have been no false alarms. This is a very mature system.”
TROPHY’s technology base is expanding with a lighter version, ideal for 8x8 wheeled vehicles, which saves some 55% of the original system weight. While there is a reduced form factor, “it performs exactly the same as the original one – it has the same algorithm and same method of operation. And we have sold that version – so now we have two models, a larger one and a smaller one,” Lurie confirmed.
Further, Rafael is examining more, unspecified, technical improvements to expand TROPHY’s operational envelope.