Arie Egozi in Tel Aviv

Israel Military Industries (IMI) has launched tests of a helicopter-based version of its Iron Fist vehicle active protection system, which was developed to protect light ground vehicles from attack by rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), anti-tank missiles, shaped-charge warheads and armour-piercing anti-tank rounds.

Development of the countermeasures equipment has been spurred by Israeli concerns over the danger posed by advanced anti-armour systems to its forces in low-intensity conflicts.

The system uses several sensors, including fixed radar, mounted on the protected platform to detect potential threats, and to measure distance and trajectory. This allows the fire control system to calculate and prepare an engagement plan.

When a threat is identified as imminent, an explosive projectile interceptor is launched toward it. The interceptor, similar in shape to a small mortar bomb, is designed to defeat the threat even when flying in very close proximity. IMI says the Iron Fist uses a blast effect to defeat threats, crushing the soft components of a shaped charge or deflecting and destabilising a missile or kinetic rod in flight. The interceptor is made of combustible material that is fully consumed in the explosion. The use of a close-proximity blast, rather than a “hit-to-kill” mechanism, avoids complex interception techniques and reduces costs, it adds.

Meanwhile, Rafael is adapting its Trophy active protection system for use by aerial platforms, including helicopters. Its design detects threats such as rockets and anti-armour missiles and destroys them kinetically using a fragmentation “jet”.

Source: Flight International