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Israel: New weapon downed Gaza anti-tank rocket

A new Israeli weapons system knocked down a Palestinian anti-tank rocket in its first combat test, showing off technology that could protect the heavy vehicles that have been the mainstay of the world`s ground forces for decades.

Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 12:10 PM IST

Jerusalem: A new Israeli weapons system knocked down a Palestinian anti-tank rocket in its first
combat test, the military said, showing off technology that could protect the heavy vehicles that have been the mainstay of the world`s ground forces for decades.
Palestinian militants said they yesterday fired a
rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli tank as it patrolled
near the Gaza-Israel border, a frequent occurrence. This time,
the "Trophy" system sensed the incoming rocket and fired its
own projectile, blowing it up away from the tank, the military
said.

Trophy is thought to be the only active defense system
of its kind in the world. Up till now, tanks have relied on
heavier and thicker armor plating to protect against more
powerful anti-tank weapons.

Experts say the active defense concept, if it works
consistently, could allow the construction of smaller, lighter
and more efficient tanks.

The Israeli military did not make pictures or video of
the yesterday encounter available to the media, instead
issuing a short statement. It said a tank came under fire
while on routine patrol, and "for the first time during
operational activity, the Trophy system, ... designed to
actively protect against anti-tank missiles, identified,
alerted and intercepted the (anti-tank rocket)."
Israel began developing the Trophy after its 34-day
war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, when guerrillas with
simple rocket-propelled grenades hid in alleys and buildings
and took potshots at Israeli tanks, hitting dozens and killing
at least 19 Israeli tank crewmen.

The military did not say how many tanks are equipped
with the systems, estimated to cost about USD 200,000 apiece.
Last year, displaying the system to The Associated Press,
developers said it was installed on some Israeli tanks in a
pilot project.

PTI