Trophy tank system foils missile attack
Trophy tank system foils missile attackIsrael news photo: IDF

"The 'Trophy-Windbreaker' System will enhance the performance of our forces on the battlefield," Yom Kippur War hero Brigadier General (res.) Avigdor Kahalani opined following the first successful use of the anti-missile system. The system was first used in combat Tuesday when it intercepted an anti-tank missile fired at an IDF Merkava IV tank on routine patrol along the security fence between Israel and southern Gaza.

The system intercepted the anti-tank missile, fired by Hamas terrorists, and prevented it from damaging the tank or inflicting casualties. The terrorists were subsequently identified and killed by an IDF force operating in the area.

In a conversation with the IDF Website, Kahalani, who is now chairman of Israel's Soldiers Association (HaAgudah L'Maan HaChayal), explained that the system is "a real revolution for the Armored Corps. It is an especially significant active defense system that protects the lives of soldiers. Although Hamas does not have many [anti-tank] missiles, they can cause significant damage, especially to fighters, hence its importance. Over the years anti-tank weapons were the Achilles heel of the Armored Corps, and now it is resolved."

Kahalani also said the system must be installed as soon as possible on the rest of the IDF's tanks. "A tank's operating profile will necessarily be different," he explained. "Weapons systems can be deployed more freely and tanks will be able to focus on pursuit of the enemy. The crewmen sitting in the tank will be safe and won't have to fear rocket-fire from an unexpected direction. They will be concentrating on the battlefield and realizing goals more efficiently. It will make it easier to plan the battlefield." 

"We must praise the system developers," Kahalani said. "I say this not only from my own experience in the field, but also in my capacity as Chairman of the Agudah. The Trophy-Windbreaker system's ability to keep our soldiers safe is something wonderful and unusual," said Kahalani. "This is a further contribution to Armored Corps, who can do their duty with a clearer sense of  battlefield security."

 The Trophy-Windbreaker system, developed by Israeli weaponry manufacturer RAFAEL, is an active protection system that destroys incoming missiles and rockets in mid-flight. Details of how the system destroys incoming weapons have been kept deliberately vague. 

Avigdor Kahalani served as commander of an armored company on the Golan Heights in the Six Day War. He received the Medal of Distinguished Service for service in the war, after being badly wounded when his tank caught fire. He went on to receive the Medal of Valor for service during the Yom Kippur War, in which he commanded a hastily assembled group of tanks and crews from different armor units after the Israeli army was caught off-guard. The group repulsed a vastly superior Syrian force in what proved to be one of the turning points of the war.