Germany to Field Trophy APS With Leopard II Tanks

 In Land, Europe, Defense, U.S. Army, EU, Germany, Environment, Norway, Israel, Threats, France, Domains, NATO

Germany plans to equip one tank com­pa­ny with Rafael Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to better pro­tect a rapid reac­tion force it plans to deploy as part NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). German offi­cials con­firmed the news at the International Armored Vehicles forum (#IAVevent) in London this week.

The unit is expect­ed to receive the Trophy sys­tems in 2022, is expect­ed to join the VJTF in 2023. The Bundeswehr oper­ates 328 Leopard II tanks of three types – the 2A6, 2A6M, and 2A7 types, cur­rent­ly being upgrad­ed. As the German Army (Bundeswehr) has not yet des­ig­nat­ed the unit, there­fore, the type of Leopard II tank to receive Trophy is yet to be deter­mined.

Trophy has yet to be inte­grat­ed with the Leopard II tank. Previous work was done on Leopard II tanks few years ago. The Bundeswehr has expe­ri­ence with Trophy and Iron Fist, as both sys­tems were eval­u­at­ed for the Leopard II in the past. The Bundeswehr also exam­ined the local­ly devel­oped ADS from Rheinmetall, but deter­mined it will not be mature to sup­port the upcom­ing deploy­ment. Leopard tanks have been used in combat in Aghanistan and Syria, where they suf­fered heavy losses from anti-tank guided mis­siles, a chal­lenge that brought the Turkish Army to rush APS to pro­tect the tank.

Trophy APS has already been select­ed to equip four brigades of US Army M‑1A2 SEP2 Abrams tanks, at least two are des­tined to deploy in Europe. The Dutch mil­i­tary also forsee APS as a pri­or­i­ty and has con­tract­ed BAE Systems to inte­grate the Iron Fist Light Compact (IF-LC) system on its CV9035NL.

According to the planned sched­ule ini­tial trials of Trophy on Leopard II are expect­ed to begin this year with inte­gra­tion and test­ing com­plet­ed by 2021, field­ing 17 tanks (a com­pa­ny of 13 plus four spares) to equip the select­ed com­pa­ny in 2022. The unit will train and qual­i­fy to oper­ate with the system in 2022, thus becom­ing combat ready for its VJTF deploy­ment in 2023. The pro­cure­ment is lim­it­ed at this stage to the 17 sys­tems and is not com­mit­ting the Bundeswehr to a future APS solu­tion.

The brigade size VJTF is part of 40,000 per­son­nel strong North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force (NRF). VJTF was formed to better respond to the chang­ing secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment to the east and south of the Alliance’s bor­ders. The force com­pris­es a small combat ele­ment and deploy­able Command and Control (C2) ele­ment and Joint Task Force HQ. It also com­bines an ini­tial follow-on forces group com­pris­ing other high-readi­ness forces that can deploy quick­ly fol­low­ing the VJTF, in response to a crisis. The VJTF will be able to deploy at short notice when tasked, between two to seven days, to combat threats against alliance sov­er­eign­ty.

A multi­na­tion­al brigade of approx­i­mate­ly 8,000 troops forms the VJTF. Last year, the lead brigade was pro­vid­ed by Italy. In 2019 Germany assumed com­mand of VJTF with the 9th Panzerlehrbrigade, part of the 1st Panzer Division, (a multi­na­tion­al German and Dutch for­ma­tion). Germany is expect­ed to con­tribute more forces in 2023.

Partners in this rota­tion also include the Netherlands and Norway, which will pro­vide capa­bil­i­ties such as avi­a­tion and mech­a­nized infantry while France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania will pro­vide troops. The NRF for this year was cer­ti­fied during Exercise Trident Juncture 18, which mainly focused on NATO’s abil­i­ty to move per­son­nel and armor quick­ly across Europe.

Source: Defense Update

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