Army to add Israeli anti-tank missile defense system

Breaking Defense:
The Army’s 2019 budget will upgrade 261 M1 tanks, enough for three brigades, to carry Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to guard against anti-tank missiles, service officials said this morning. That’s just one of many funding changes — from buying more howitzer shells to intensifying training exercises — meant to reorient the Army from its counterinsurgency-era focus on light infantry and helicopters to “great power competition” to deter a potential Russian blitzkrieg.

“If you look at what we’ve done in the last 15 years, it is a light, aviation-centric fight, so we took a fair amount of risk on the heavy force,” said John Daniels, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs, and Resources. “Now you are at a point where the system is starting to age out….If you look at the ages of platforms and how long it takes to rebuild a heavy brigade, you (need to modernize) about one, 1.5 a year to really make a substantive change.”

By contrast, there’s been rapid progress and clear direction on Active Protection Systems, which shoot down incoming anti-tank missiles in flight. The M1 is getting the Trophy Active Protection System from Israel’s Rafael. The rival Iron Fist (Israeli Military Industries) and Iron Curtain (Artis, USA) APS for the M2 Bradley and Stryker troop carriers respectively remain in R&D, with procurement timelines and funding to be determined, officials said. The Trophy APS comes on top of other long-planned improvements in the M1 Abrams main battle tank, including new infrared sights, reinforced armor, and improved horsepower and electrical power to handle all the upgrades.

There are other, lower-tech investments too. After years of expending only small quantities of artillery shells against scattered groups of Iraqi and Afghan insurgents, the Army is increasing purchases of 155 millimeter howitzer shells almost eight-fold, from over 16,000 rounds in 2018 to almost 150,000 in 2019. About one percent, 1,189, are Excalibur precision guided rounds, but the vast majority are for old-fashioned barrages against big formations.
There is more.

The piece covers several aspects of the modernization that will flow from the recent increase in funding after the lifting of the Obama era restrictions.  The Israeli system for defeating anti-tank missiles should offer the Abram's survivability in a new era of dealing with a response to tank warfare.


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