The Israel Defense Forces Armored Corps will this week hold a field test of Me'il Ruach (Windbreaker), an active armor defense system that is being marketed abroad under the name Trophy. The system must undergo a final series of tests before becoming operational as a defense system for Merkava battle tanks against anti-tank missiles.
Produced by Rafael, the system employs sensors and radar to identify an incoming missile, and dispatches interceptor missiles which neutralize the hostile weapon before it can strike the tank.
The decision to develop the system followed the experience of the Second Lebanon War, in which a number of tanks were damaged by advanced anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah guerrillas.
The system will be installed in the Mark IV Merkava, and a second battalion of tanks will feature the new equipment by mid-2011.
Armored units have recently held exercises using the new equipment and this week, for the first time, an actual missile will be fired at a tank in order to test the system in the field. The missile in the exercise will not carry a warhead, so if the system fails, it could strike the tank but there will be no blast and no injury to the crew. The commander of Battalion 9, Lt. Colonel Itai Brin, will be one of the members of the tank's crew.
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