Could the TOW 2B Aero/TOW 2B BGM-71F overcome APS like Trophy?

Templer!1

New Member
Could the TOW 2B Aero/TOW 2B BGM-71F overcome APS like Trophy because the missile is detonating some feet over the tank (due to the EFP- warhead)?

Screenshot_20200203-171357_YouTube.jpg
as you can see the missile detonates about 3+ meters over the tank due to the EFP-warhead.

1.Trophy intercepts only projectiles which would actually hit the tank, so no ammunation is wasted. For the radar of trophy it seems like the missile would totally miss the tank.

2.The missile could be out of the radar range. Or even if its in the range, due to the distance and EFP-warhead trophy cant intercept the target fast enough. ( EFP-warheads are also more difficult to destroy)
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Sorry for the necro, I was looking for other threads and was bothered by the lack of answer.

So I'll answer that, if you're still active in this forum - no. The TOW-2B was designed to overcome different problems, not an APS.

The concept of operation of the TOW, compared with the concept of operation of Trophy, or any other APS that uses non-static launchers, shows the TOW-2B would be intercepted just as easily as any other ATGM.

In their raw form, APS would not intercept a missile that misses. But such systems try to either classify a new missile or ID it via some look up table, or library, and then match a response. Responding to TOW-2B missiles only takes alteration of some data in a look up table, and distributing a software update.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Sorry for the necro, I was looking for other threads and was bothered by the lack of answer.

So I'll answer that, if you're still active in this forum - no. The TOW-2B was designed to overcome different problems, not an APS.

The concept of operation of the TOW, compared with the concept of operation of Trophy, or any other APS that uses non-static launchers, shows the TOW-2B would be intercepted just as easily as any other ATGM.

In their raw form, APS would not intercept a missile that misses. But such systems try to either classify a new missile or ID it via some look up table, or library, and then match a response. Responding to TOW-2B missiles only takes alteration of some data in a look up table, and distributing a software update.
Out of interest, would this still be true of high diving top attack ATGMs like Javelin and Spike LR2? IIRC the top attack mode of the former brings it down at approximately 45 degrees, with the latter apparently featuring a steeper 70 degree terminal dive as a counter-APS (CAPS) feature(?).
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Out of interest, would this still be true of high diving top attack ATGMs like Javelin and Spike LR2? IIRC the top attack mode of the former brings it down at approximately 45 degrees, with the latter apparently featuring a steeper 70 degree terminal dive as a counter-APS (CAPS) feature(?).
Any system with rotating launchers can potentially cover a hemisphere. Trophy specifically appears to have very high elevation angles that allow it to counter such missiles.

The German ADS, now called RAP, has static launchers but it is widely assumed they have internal arms that can help them defeat high elevation threats.

Systems like the Russian Afganit or Chinese GL-5 use grenades fired from static launchers and so are unable to defeat such top attack missiles.
Instead, the Afganit uses soft kill, but conceptually soft kill's effectiveness was always very limited.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Any system with rotating launchers can potentially cover a hemisphere. Trophy specifically appears to have very high elevation angles that allow it to counter such missiles.

The German ADS, now called RAP, has static launchers but it is widely assumed they have internal arms that can help them defeat high elevation threats.

Systems like the Russian Afganit or Chinese GL-5 use grenades fired from static launchers and so are unable to defeat such top attack missiles.
Instead, the Afganit uses soft kill, but conceptually soft kill's effectiveness was always very limited.
Thanks for the insight that is very interesting.

I find the APS concept fascinating in that it potentially breathes new life into the MBT as a platform. The impact on survivability strikes me as being quite dramatic - there must be very few (if any) contemporary ATGMs that could defeat an APS that covers against top attack. The implications for indirect fire (for example sensor fuzed munitions) are also interesting. I thought the following was an interesting read on what future counters may look like:


1.) Combined penetrator effector - Supplementing a kinetic energy penetrator with a precursor shaped charge provides an incredible excess velocity so that the EFP may be fired well outside the APS engagement range hitting unrecognized the explosive reactive armor and initiating it. The concept is visualized in Figure 3. An EFP charge may also serve as a deception device for APS, so that the KE penetrator survives and eventually engages the main target effectively. The precursor charge consists of a high strength metal such as tantal, a high-performance octogene-based high explosive charge like a KS33 or P31 with a reactive detonation wave shaper and a shock-hardened inline (electronic safe-and-arm device, ESAD) fuze system embedded into light weight titanium structure. A sub-caliber, high L/D tungsten penetrator is located behind and may be further improved through reactive materials. This cost-efficient and robust lethal package can be integrated into various systems like a hyper-velocity missile or an armor piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) munition.

1.jpg

2.) High power electromagnetic effector - A mobile high power electromagnetic (HPEM) effector integrated into an anti-tank missile as displayed in Figure 5 seems interesting for defeating active protection systems sensors and communication devices of main battle tanks. Early studies generating electromagnetic effects through explosive devices date back several decades, e.g., [7, 8, 9] and recent feasibility studies of have already shown their high potential [10, 11]. The concept consists of an explosively driven flux compression generator (FCG), an electrical opening switch and the subsequent shaping of the electrical pulse into an high frequency (HF) radio signal (e.g., by applying a magnetron) that is radiated through an antenna system. This enables a compact design for integration into mobile applications such as missiles, shoulder-launched munitions, or artillery shells.

2.jpg
 
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Lone Ranger

Member
Just to share a group of diagrams that I have came across.

Based on it, most tank-based APS currently in use around the world are designed to counter ground threats. For example, the Russian Shtora-1 soft-kill APS used on the T-90 can only jam incoming missiles at up to 25° of elevation. The Russian Drozd hard-kill APS uses fixed, horizontal launchers, so its elevation is even worse, it can only engage incoming projectiles on a perfect horizontal plane. The Afghanit soft/hard-kill APS used by the Armata has 20° of elevation. Arena-M has 20° of elevation as well. The Italian Scudo hard-kill APS has 30° of elevation.

Some APS have better maximum elevation, but they are rare. The German MUSS soft-kill APS has 70° of elevation. The Israeli Trophy* hard-kill APS has an almost vertical maximum elevation (Big_Zucchini maybe you can help to verify this). However these systems are the exception, most tank-based APS have between 20 and 30° of maximum elevation.

@Lone Ranger Can you please provide source(s) for your graphic. This protects both you and the forum against allegations of plagiarism and is a requirment under the forum rules.
Done :)
 

Attachments

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Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Just to share a group of diagrams that I have came across.

Based on it, most tank-based APS currently in use around the world are designed to counter ground threats. For example, the Russian Shtora-1 soft-kill APS used on the T-90 can only jam incoming missiles at up to 25° of elevation. The Russian Drozd hard-kill APS uses fixed, horizontal launchers, so its elevation is even worse, it can only engage incoming projectiles on a perfect horizontal plane. The Afghanit soft/hard-kill APS used by the Armata has 20° of elevation. Arena-M has 20° of elevation as well. The Italian Scudo hard-kill APS has 30° of elevation.

Some APS have better maximum elevation, but they are rare. The German MUSS soft-kill APS has 70° of elevation. The Israeli Trophy* hard-kill APS has an almost vertical maximum elevation (Big_Zucchini maybe you can help to verify this). However these systems are the exception, most tank-based APS have between 20 and 30° of maximum elevation.
First I'll reply specifically on some mentioned systems.

1)Shtora was designed at a time when the west did not have any top attack munitions. In this case, mounting extra Shtora radiators on top would be counter-productive as it would obscure crew sights, take away valuable turret top real estate, and would be visible to aircraft at a long distance.

Optical effector based APS are very target-specific. The Shtora was specifically designed against TOW missiles, and even then not against all variants.

2)MUSS as far as I know, deploys grenades with various effectors like smoke and potentially chaffs. But I do not recall ever seeing a mount for a 70° elevation.
To truly create such a system, it would need some form of input from an automatic sensor, such as an IR sensor or radar, that would detect the threat, which in turn also requires integration with an FCS. As it stands, the MUSS is not yet integrated with any known FCS and sensor that I'm aware of.

Now I'll speak generally.
These systems you've mentioned, particularly hard kill, are of the old generation. It's much easier to make an APS that has static launchers, and only has to go through 2 logical loops - what is the location and speed of the threat, and when to deploy effector.

In systems that have to respond in split second, timing is a vital aspect of the system design. Any kind of calculation that can be reduced, any excess wire length, are cut.

There's one way I like to think of it - from the moment a certain electron returns to the radar, how much time is wasted inside the computers until he finally reaches the launcher? Of course, that's physically inaccurate, but it does put RF development in perspective.

Today when you look at systems like the Trophy or Iron Fist, you can see a lot of logical loops that this electron goes through - you have to know the location and speed of the threat, but now you also have to create a visual map of it, then you have to draw from a look-up-table all the potential values and calculate which one's closest within a certain measure. And if it doesn't fit anyone, run a separate scenario.
Then you have to calculate the appropriate response based on classification result, calculate the necessary movement of the launcher servos based on their internal (non-zero response time) loop, wait for the non-light speed launcher to rotate, wait for an acknowledge command from the launcher that it's in position, recalculate ballistics to account for timing errors, and send command to launch.

Doing all these back when the static launcher systems were developed, would make them prohibitively slow, maybe even taking whole seconds to launch.
Software refinement is a process that takes a long time, especially when you have to write it in low level languages (low level is a language closer to how a machine understands it. Lowest possible level is writing 1s and 0s. High level is what's closest to human language like Python).

Of course, you've smartly given as example the Afganit. It's not the old Zaslon. So why did Russia opt for static launchers? There is no 100% factual answer I might give here.
But it may help if we looked at Russia's current state of arms development.
I could give examples from their air force, air defenses, or navy, but I'll settle for something on theme - their flagship Armata project, and sister projects Kurganets and Bumerang.
These projects were developed long before their debut in 2015. The Armata itself was developed at least since the 90's in various forms, particularly for its MBT variant.
And yet, since 2015 we've observed 2 conflicting things occur:
1)Russia's economical power has only steadily grown as the sanctions regime against it was already in place by that time, and it was adapting.
2)The programs have only been delayed time after time.

Why's that? Well Russia is still lagging behind the west in technological development. It may not have yet matured many technologies, particularly in electronics, that in the west are seen as a given for many defense companies.
So it is possible they still do not have the technology to progress past static launchers.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
First I'll reply specifically on some mentioned systems.

1)Shtora was designed at a time when the west did not have any top attack munitions. In this case, mounting extra Shtora radiators on top would be counter-productive as it would obscure crew sights, take away valuable turret top real estate, and would be visible to aircraft at a long distance.

Optical effector based APS are very target-specific. The Shtora was specifically designed against TOW missiles, and even then not against all variants.

2)MUSS as far as I know, deploys grenades with various effectors like smoke and potentially chaffs. But I do not recall ever seeing a mount for a 70° elevation.
To truly create such a system, it would need some form of input from an automatic sensor, such as an IR sensor or radar, that would detect the threat, which in turn also requires integration with an FCS. As it stands, the MUSS is not yet integrated with any known FCS and sensor that I'm aware of.

Now I'll speak generally.
These systems you've mentioned, particularly hard kill, are of the old generation. It's much easier to make an APS that has static launchers, and only has to go through 2 logical loops - what is the location and speed of the threat, and when to deploy effector.

In systems that have to respond in split second, timing is a vital aspect of the system design. Any kind of calculation that can be reduced, any excess wire length, are cut.

There's one way I like to think of it - from the moment a certain electron returns to the radar, how much time is wasted inside the computers until he finally reaches the launcher? Of course, that's physically inaccurate, but it does put RF development in perspective.

Today when you look at systems like the Trophy or Iron Fist, you can see a lot of logical loops that this electron goes through - you have to know the location and speed of the threat, but now you also have to create a visual map of it, then you have to draw from a look-up-table all the potential values and calculate which one's closest within a certain measure. And if it doesn't fit anyone, run a separate scenario.
Then you have to calculate the appropriate response based on classification result, calculate the necessary movement of the launcher servos based on their internal (non-zero response time) loop, wait for the non-light speed launcher to rotate, wait for an acknowledge command from the launcher that it's in position, recalculate ballistics to account for timing errors, and send command to launch.

Doing all these back when the static launcher systems were developed, would make them prohibitively slow, maybe even taking whole seconds to launch.
Software refinement is a process that takes a long time, especially when you have to write it in low level languages (low level is a language closer to how a machine understands it. Lowest possible level is writing 1s and 0s. High level is what's closest to human language like Python).

Of course, you've smartly given as example the Afganit. It's not the old Zaslon. So why did Russia opt for static launchers? There is no 100% factual answer I might give here.
But it may help if we looked at Russia's current state of arms development.
I could give examples from their air force, air defenses, or navy, but I'll settle for something on theme - their flagship Armata project, and sister projects Kurganets and Bumerang.
These projects were developed long before their debut in 2015. The Armata itself was developed at least since the 90's in various forms, particularly for its MBT variant.
And yet, since 2015 we've observed 2 conflicting things occur:
1)Russia's economical power has only steadily grown as the sanctions regime against it was already in place by that time, and it was adapting.
2)The programs have only been delayed time after time.

Why's that? Well Russia is still lagging behind the west in technological development. It may not have yet matured many technologies, particularly in electronics, that in the west are seen as a given for many defense companies.
So it is possible they still do not have the technology to progress past static launchers.
Out of interest, what are your thoughts on the feasibility of using an APS to defeat KE threats like APFSDS rounds? My understanding is that this is not something that Trophy can do, but I think I remember you mentioning that Iron Fist may be capable of it. I have heard it claimed that Afghanit may have the capability as well.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Out of interest, what are your thoughts on the feasibility of using an APS to defeat KE threats like APFSDS rounds? My understanding is that this is not something that Trophy can do, but I think I remember you mentioning that Iron Fist may be capable of it. I have heard it claimed that Afghanit may have the capability as well.
Yes, it is possible to do. When looking to make a traditional APS more capable of defeating APFSDS, you have to consider 2 factors for upgrade - reaction time, and warhead design.

Iron Fist and Afganit have the necessary warheads to defeat an APFSDS. There is nothing really complicated about it.
The entire mechanism revolves around having a warhead use directed energy (in a circle) instead of fragments, to tilt the rod.
According to an IMI official in a press release in 2015, a 7 degree tilt can reduce an APFSDS' energy by 80% and penetrate 30-40mm at best.
That's pretty significant considering most APCs today have more than that in front and side armor (there is a difference between 30mm of infinite armor, and standalone 30mm but still valid), and also considering such a warhead typically tilts it by 30°-45°.


As for reaction speed, it's best to be able to fire at APFSDS fired from even point blank range. Consider a scenario of a tank firing from 500m away, with a muzzle velocity of 2,000m/s (existing APFSDS actually leave the barrel at 1,500-1,750m/s). If velocity drop is negligible, you have less than 1 quarter of a second to finish the entire loop and fire.
From there you can think about incremental software-enabled time improvements.

So why can't Trophy defeat APFSDS? That's because its development was rushed, and designing a warhead against APFSDS and qualifying it would delay the program, and would obviously cost more.
Since then Rafael has offered upgrading it to a higher standard, but that was not financed, and it resumed with incremental upgrades at its own expense in other directions like size reduction, false alarm reduction, etc.

Proposals to save money and mate Iron Fist warheads with Trophy's architecture have yet to bear fruit.

And in addition to all that, anti-APFSDS warheads used to be big, often prohibitively, so anti-CE APS were more common for a while.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Interesting. So assuming that Iron Fist can provide the same coverage (eg vs top attack) it sounds like it may be the more capable system vis a vis Trophy. Seems odd, though, that it has been pitched more at lighter vehicles/IFVs rather than MBTs of late?
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Interesting. So assuming that Iron Fist can provide the same coverage (eg vs top attack) it sounds like it may be the more capable system vis a vis Trophy. Seems odd, though, that it has been pitched more at lighter vehicles/IFVs rather than MBTs of late?
Iron Fist was originally a product of IMI, a financially failed company that was in an eternal decline until its eventual acquisition by the successful and ever growing Elbit Systems.
From 2005 (when first details of an APS competition emerged) until its acquisition in 2018, not much work has been done on the Iron Fist, while the Trophy has secured pretty steady cash as a project, as Rafael was also quite successful, albeit not so much for its size.

With the acquisition by Elbit, the Iron Fist project received a significant influx of cash, and the project enjoyed from Elbit's solid marketing and modern workforce structure.

Already secured by Rafael, the Abrams APS project was pretty much the only large scale acquisition the market would see in the near future.
In the meantime, the light to medium weight AFV market was recently revived and very vibrant, ripe for such opportunities.
So there is no technical aspect here - purely smart marketing and good strategy.

If so, why was the Trophy not offered for lighter platforms? That is because the steady cash flow for the project was slow, and their strategy poor. What's equally important is that in everything related to export, Rafael has the innate hurdle of extra bureaucracy and proprietary data sharing issues as it is a governmental company.
The Trophy can be mounted on lighter vehicles, for example the Singaporean Hunter AFV, but the Iron Fist has the advantage of versatility, and Rafael have been slow to respond, for whatever reason.

Although silent on the media, the Iron Fist is gaining more traction in the IDF, and the word has been that the IDF's mulling an integration of its warheads with the Trophy system specifically in the context of the Merkava 4 Barak and the next gen vehicles.
 
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