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Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS)
Israel Military Industries (IMI)
In Eurosatory 2006 IMI is unveiling its new Active Defense System (ADS) called - Iron Fist. Until recently, the development of Iron Fist was shrouded in secrecy, as it was developed in parallel to a different Israeli developed ADS system - RAFAEL's Trophy, which entered full scale development in 2005. However, due to rapid development pace and successful testing, IMI expects to deliver the first systems for IDF testing and qualifications by mid 2007. Unlike competing systems, IMI's Iron Fist can be installed on light vehicles, including trucks and even Humvees, offering effective protection from RPGs. IMI conducted extensive testing against a full spectrum of threats, engaging various types of threats from stationary and moving armored personnel carriers. The system already demonstrated effective protection of light vehicles and heavy armored vehicles, from small rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and tank rounds equipped with shaped charge warheads as well as advanced kinetic threats (armor piercing tank rounds).
The system uses a fixed radar sensor, mounted on the protected platform, to detect potential threats, measure distance and trajectory, providing the fire control system with data for calculates engagement plans. When a threat is identified as imminent, an explosive projectile interceptor is launched toward it. The interceptor, shaped similar to a small mortar bomb, is designed to defeat the threat even when flying in very close proximity. Unlike other systems, the Iron Fist uses only the blast effect to defeat the threat, crushing the soft components of a shaped charge or deflecting and destabilizing the missile or kinetic rod in their flight. The interceptor is made of combustible envelope, fully consumed in the explosion. Without the risk of shrapnel, Iron Fist provides an effective, close-in protection for vehicles operating in dense, urban environment. The use of close proximity, rather than "hit to kill" mechanism avoids complex interception techniques and contributes to reduced cost.
One of the main advantages of the Iron Fist is its integration into routine operations. Its sensor provides essential input to situational awareness systems, based on ground radar surveillance, moving target detection, classification and tracking and motion detection. Furthermore, by loading other types of projectiles, such ass non lethal, anti-personnel, smoke or illumination, the system can be used in support of routine operation.
Iron Fist is supported by Israel's MOD Defense Research & Development Directorate (DRDD). The program is designed to protect medium and light vehicles, but based on its performance, has the potential to be fielded on heavy armor as well. In future configurations, the system has a growth potential to protect sensitive elements of fixed installations or patrol boats, protecting from RPG attacks, frequently encountered in counter insurgency operations.