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Wednesday, March 2, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

In first, Israel blocks Palestinian anti-tank rocket

TEL AVIV — For the first time, an Israeli system has intercepted an enemy missile fired toward a main battle tank.


The Israeli military said the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) intercepted a Palestinian anti-tank missile in the southern Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported. They said Trophy, also known as Windbreaker, stopped the missile before it struck a Merkava Mk-4 MBT on late March 1. The crew was not injured and the Merkava was not said to have sustained damage.

"For the first time during operational activity, the Trophy system, designed to actively protect against anti-tank missiles, identified, alerted and intercepted the missile," a military statement said.

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The statement said the Israel Army MBT was engaged in what was termed "routine activity" in southern Gaza. The military did not identify the Palestinian anti-tank missile but said its crew was tracked and struck in counter-fire.

"Shortly afterwards, IDF soldiers identified several terrorists in the area and fired in their direction, identifying a hit," the statement said.

A military source later said the projectile fired toward the Merkava was actually a rocket-propelled grenade. The source said the interception proved that Trophy could protect the Merkava from other threats, including anti-tank guided missiles.

Trophy, developed by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, was designed to detect, track and intercept incoming anti-tank missiles. The APS was programmed to fire a projectile that could destroy the incoming missile before reaching the MBT. Rafael said the United States has completed an evaluation of Trophy.

In December, Hamas fired a Russian-origin AT-14 Kornet anti-tank missile that penetrated the Merkava Mk-4. The Hamas operation sparked an Army effort to install Trophy on all Merkavas deployed along the Gaza border.

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