Story by Winifred Brown on 01/18/2019By Wendy Brown
Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs
OROGRANDE, N.M. Soldiers assigned to Company D, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, tested a tank protection system at Fort Bliss Dec. 1-13, 2018, that engages threats in the air.
The Trophy Active Protection System for tanks eliminates enemy threats, such as rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles, said Lt. Col. James Edwards, test officer with the Army Evaluation Center, Army Test and Evaluation Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
"Pretty much what it does is it engages the threat before it hits the tank," said Edwards, present for the Fort Bliss testing. "We're trying to determine whether or not this capability will be applicable to the Abrams (tank) platform."
To do this, testers had Soldiers assigned to Co. D, 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., execute tank gunnery Tables III through VI. They used live rounds at Table VI, on both regular M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tanks and then with tanks outfitted with the Trophy system, Edwards said.
In addition, the Soldiers conducted a force-on-force exercise with both types of tanks.
Civilian mechanics installed the Trophy system on the hulls of tanks, Edwards said, and since it is heavy about 5,000 pounds the idea is to compare the tanks' performances with and without the weight.
"It's a considerable amount of weight, which is why we're concerned," Edwards said. "We're concerned about components like turret drives and turret breaks, and all the mechanics involved in traversing the turret."
When tank crews train, computer systems record everything they do so crewmembers can review their performances and that information also helps evaluators of the Trophy system.
The testing culminated with a simulated threat shot near, but not directly at, a tank, to see if the system would engage the threat, Edwards said. Civilians, not Soldiers, were in the tank during the testing.
Multiple U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command entities collaborated jointly in the combined test team event. Testing personnel from the Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas; the Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; the Yuma Test Center, Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona; and the Redstone Test Center, Huntsville, Alabama, participated in the testing, Edwards said.
The Israeli government first developed the Trophy technology, Edwards said, and the U.S. Army began developing the system for the Abrams about two years ago.
Production of the system would be a collaboration between General Dynamics Land Systems, Leonardo DRS and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. General Dynamics Land Systems is the Abrams tank Original Equipment Manufacturer; Rafael is the Original Equipment Manufacturer of the Trophy Active Protection System and is in partnership with Leonardo DRS.
Soldiers assigned to its Co. D said they are proud to test the system.
Capt. Chris Scott, commander, Co. D, 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., said the company's 72 Soldiers participating in the testing were excited to be the first in the Army to test the technology.
"We're taking advantage of a pretty unique opportunity to get to do something that no one else is getting to do " Scott said. "It feels great to help develop a new technology."
The company's Soldiers worked hard to get all the tanks ready for the testing, Scott said, and he is proud of them.
"Being a part of this and seeing guys I work with everyday getting to affect the rest of the Army is a fun experience for sure," Scott said.
In addition, the testing provided a great opportunity for training, Scott said.
In addition, 1st Sgt. Joseph Elkins, first sergeant, Co. D, 1st Sqdn., 1st Cav. Regt., brought an advantage with him when he switched jobs from the brigade's master gunner to the company's first sergeant Oct. 3, 2018.
Elkins, as brigade master gunner, helped design the testing range and has been working with the testers since they arrived in May.
"When they found out (the testing would include) this company and knew I was already coming here, well, I thought, This works out a lot easier.' There was continuity between all the organizers. I just came right in and continued with the mission," Elkins said.