Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI Systems) will supply the US army with a new and lighter version of its Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS) in the coming years. IMI CEO Avi Felder estimated the potential of his company's agreement with the US army in the hundreds of millions of shekels.
IMI said that its Iron Fist system would be included as an element in the estimated $250 million Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) program being led by the US army. The program includes cooperation between IMI and US defense firm General Dynamics, in which some of the components for the defense system will be produced in the US company's plants in the US.
Under this program, US armaments companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will develop a central computer and new software on which the defense system will be based. Iron Fist was developed by IMI a few years ago for IDF ground troops to counter the threat of anti-tank missiles and RPG rockets against IDF infantry and armor.
The system, installed on armored personnel carriers (APCs) or tanks, operates automatically. When a threat against the vehicle on which Iron Fist is installed is detected, the system launches an interceptor towards it that explodes or neutralizes the threat at a great distance from the protected vehicle. IMI says that the system can provide protection against threats from any direction, and in both open field and urban warfare.
Lack of demand in Israel
Simultaneously with IMI's development, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has also made progress with its own APS, called Trophy.
The Ministry of Defense selected only the system offered by Rafael, which is currently installed in Namer APCs and Mark 4 Merkava tanks being delivered for use by IDF combat units. Given the lack of demand for Iron Fist in Israel, IMI is aiming its APS at foreign armies.
IMI previously said that its system had already been sold to a number of foreign customers, but refused to disclose further particulars of the sales. According to Felder, the APS slated for installing on US army vehicles, which is a new lightweight version of Iron Fist called IF-LC, is generic, and as such can be installed on light vehicles, APCs, and tanks. It is slated to undergo adaptation for being installed on Abrams tanks and Bradley APCs used by US forces. The improved version of Iron Fist to be delivered to the US army in the coming years will be unveiled by IMI at the Eurosatory 2016 exhibition opening next week in France.
"We are coming to the exhibition in France in greater numbers, because it is a very important event in systems used by ground forces, and IMI has a lot to display in this matter," Felder told "Globes."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 5, 2016
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