European countries eye Israeli-made Iron Fist system

By Arie Egozi

Initial lessons from the fighting in Ukraine, have brought an unprecedented demand in Europe for active protection systems that protect main battle tanks and APC's against anti-armor weapons.

Two of the most advanced APS are being manufactured in Israel – the Trophy by Rafael and the Iron Fist by Elbit. Both companies are already in negotiations with some European customers and the competition according to Israeli sources is “fierce”.

The Iron Fist active protection system made by Israeli company Elbit Systems is currently being evaluated by current and future users of the CV90 armored combat vehicle in Europe.

The interest in the Israeli system follows a series of successful tests performed late last year by the Israeli ministry of defense.


Israeli sources said that only some of the Russian tanks that have been used in Ukraine carried active protection systems and that allowed the Ukrainians to hit many of them with relatively basic anti-tank weapons.

The sources added that Russia has some types of active protection systems and it is not clear why they have not been deployed on the tanks that were used heavily mainly in the first days of the invasion.

During the recent tests with the Iron Fist, the system was carried by the Israeli-developed Eitan APC and according to an official announcement managed to intercept different anti-tank weapons in “different and challenging scenarios”

According to the Israeli company the Iron Fist offers 360-degree coverage against threats from a variety of ranges in open and urban environments.

The system also gives the crew of the APC, situational awareness by alerting them to the presence and location of fire sources that could endanger the protected vehicle or the operational unit. Elbit says that in short sensor–shooter engagements this capability is essential.

The Iron Fist uses two launchers to enhance the kill probability of immediate threats.

The different versions of the CV90 APC are currently used by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic decided to purchase the latest version.

Israeli sources said that at this moment Estonia, the Czech Republic and Finland, are already in negotiations with Israeli companies.

European defense companies have been working with Israeli defense companies for years. But the war in Ukraine enhanced this trend.

On March 2022 a new joint venture for the production of the Rafael Trophy APS has been formally announced.

EuroTrophy GmbH, a new German-based company for the marketing, sales and production of the advanced Active Protection System (APS) for wheeled and tracked armored vehicles .

The new company was formed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) and Rafael.

According to an official release, EuroTrophy GmbH will focus its business activities on NATO and EU customers in Europe. The company will also provide qualified vehicle integration services and related through-life support for the APS. A transfer of technology will allow for the local production of the Trophy APS in Germany.

The Elbit European subsidiary and some joint ventures with European companies are now marketing the Iron Fist with demonstrations scheduled in Israel in the coming months.

The two Israeli APS systems are competing in Israel and in other countries.

While the Rafael Trophy protects the Israeli Merkava 4 main battle tank,

The Elbit Iron Fist was selected to protect the Israeli-made Eitan wheeled advanced APC.

In November according to the Israeli ministry of defense the Trophy has been tested successfully in Germany protecting Leopard 2 tank.



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