COLOGNE, Germany – The German and Israeli defense ministries have signed an agreement for the purchase of the Rafael-made Trophy active protection system for the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 tanks, the two governments announced on Feb. 23.
The Feb. 22 deal will see the defense system, which shoots projectiles at incoming anti-tank munitions, installed on a company’s worth of tanks, or 17 operational vehicles plus one reference type for testing, by 2025. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is the contractor to install Trophy components on the tanks in the course of an upgrade from the A6-A3 configuration to the A7-A1 version, according to a memo to the German parliament by defense officials in late January that requested funding for the project.
The missive was approved by lawmakers at the time, paving the way for the agreement with Israel and manufacturer Rafael announced today. The 23 Trophy sets and 586 interceptors sought by the Germans come with a price tag of $48 million. Leopard maker KMW stands to get roughly double that for the integration work, which will leave the government here with 18 tank hulls no longer needed after the upgrade.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the Trophy system a “product of Israel’s groundbreaking defense industry,” with Germany’s nod representing an “expression of confidence” in the two countries’ defense cooperation.
The German Bundeswehr decided to equip its tanks with an active protection system because “modern anti-tank guided missiles pose a significant threat,” defense officials wrote to lawmakers. The current effort to introduce Trophy is meant as a “first step” towards wider use of similar technology, the memo states.
German defense officials considered Trophy, which is already in use on Israeli and U.S. tanks, the most advanced and operationally proven system available on the market today, they told lawmakers.