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Israel to display its ‘Trophy’ tank defence system soon

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Israel’s ‘Trophy’ advanced active protection system creates an impenetrable protection shield around fighting vehicles.

HAIFA (ISRAEL) (AP): On a dusty, wind-swept field overlooking the Mediterranean, a small team of researchers is putting the final touches on what Israel says is a major game changer in tank defence: a miniature anti-missile system that detects incoming projectiles and shoots them down before they reach the armored vehicles.

If successful, the "Trophy" system could radically alter the balance of power if the country goes to war again against Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon or Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Its performance could also have much wider implications as American troops and their Western allies’ battle insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I think people will be watching the Israelis roll this thing out and see if they can get the hang of it," said John Pike, Director of the military information Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Alexandria, Virginia. "The future of the United States army is riding on the proposition that something like this can work."

The Trophy is believed to be the first of a series of so-called "active defence" systems to become operational. Such systems aim to neutralize threats before they strike the tank.

In the past, tanks have relied on increasingly thick layers of armor or "reactive" technology that weakens an incoming rocket upon impact by setting off a small explosion.

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