Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, D.C., United States (4E) – U.S. Army M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be protected from RPGs and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) by Israel’s “Iron Fist Light” Active Protection System (APS).
Iron Fist Light was selected the interim APS solution for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and other light and medium armored vehicles in June 2016 as part of the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS). program. It is a “lighter” derivative of Iron Fist, an APS developed by IMI Systems (formerly Israel Military Industries) and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.
The Army said it will install Iron Fist Light onto a number of Bradleys for a second phase of more extensive testing and evaluation. IMI and General Dynamics are working to integrate and test the system.
The decision to select Iron Fist was made because of the system’s light weight, ability to fire interceptors without shock, and low cost. In December 2018, the Army said it will install Iron Fist on Bradleys of one armored brigade as a near-term APS. An armored brigade consists of 138 Bradleys.
Iron Fist Light is designed to always scan for threats and immediately detect these threats. Once detection takes place, the system slews to the incoming threat, and in microseconds knocks it out far from the vehicle using an interceptor. The shock wave from the interceptor’s blast causes the incoming missile to break apart in the air but not explode.
Iron Fist Light also has the capability is to defeat a wide variety of munitions in close-range urban environments, thereby minimizing collateral damage.
Military analysts say the Bradley is considered the most challenging AFV on which to deploy an APS. This is because Bradleys are equipped with a multitude of different sensor and weapons systems on its roof. All of these sensors compete for limited power and bandwidth.
“Bradley is the most restrictive of those three platforms today, and so it is a really perfect, natural fit for the Iron Fist solution,” said Kevin Sims, General Dynamics’ senior director of business development of munitions, armaments and platform systems.
“It’s smaller than the competition, it’s lighter than the competition and it has a lower profile than the competition.”
Iron Fist Light is designed to be integrated onto a wide variety of combat vehicles from tanks all the way down to small ground mobility vehicles. The system is platform agnostic, said Sims.
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