In the ever-evolving landscape of modern warfare, armored vehicles face a constant threat from anti-tank weaponry. To counter these dangers and increase the survivability of platforms and vehicles, Elbit Systems has developed the Iron Fist series of Active Protection Systems (APS). This cutting-edge technology provides high-performance protection against anti-tank threats, revolutionizing the way armored vehicles defend themselves on the battlefield. The Iron Fist series comprises two configurations: a light version designed for armored fighting vehicles (AFV), infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), and logistic vehicles, and a heavier version tailored for main battle tanks (MBT). Both configurations offer interception capabilities for anti-tank threats using precise-detection technologies, enabling detection, identification, classification, and response to hostile fire scenarios. What sets the Iron Fist APS apart is its ability to accomplish all this without endangering operators or causing harm to the defending platforms.
One of the key advantages of the Iron Fist APS is its ability to increase the survivability of AFVs against a wide range of anti-armor threats. Regardless of the type of threat, whether it be RPGs, recoilless rifles, or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), the system effectively neutralizes them. This comprehensive coverage is made possible by the system’s 360-degree sight surveillance and situational awareness capabilities. Furthermore, the Iron Fist APS enables open hatch operations, allowing crew members to maintain situational awareness even while remaining within the vehicle. Elbit Systems has developed the Iron Fist APS with a focus on lightweight, small form factors to minimize the burden on the host vehicle. The modular and compact design of the system ensures compatibility with various platforms, and its integration constraints are minimal. This ease of integration allows for quick mounting and dismounting, enhancing the system’s versatility and adaptability on the battlefield. The Iron Fist APS adopts a miss-to-kill concept, minimizing collateral damage and ensuring the safety of nearby personnel and assets. This is achieved through the system’s precise interception process, which utilizes a blast interceptor to neutralize threats without initiating their warheads. The blast warhead is detonated at a safe distance from the defending platform, producing a shock-wave effect at a precisely calculated location and time. The result is the destruction of the threat without secondary explosions or significant residual effects.
The Iron Fist APS is specifically designed to address the unique constraints of lighter platforms, such as AFVs, while maintaining the ability to integrate seamlessly with a wide variety of combat vehicles. The light and compact units allow for easy integration, maintenance, and calibration. By being installed as an add-on to a pre-prepared platform, the system avoids adding significant weight to the vehicle, ensuring that operational capabilities and maneuverability are not compromised. At the heart of the Iron Fist APS is its sensor suite, which provides exceptional detection, tracking, and classification capabilities. The system combines two independent sensing techniques: radio frequency (RF) and passive infrared (IR). This dual-sensor approach enables quick, robust, and accurate detection of hostile fire sources, with a negligible number of false alarms. The sensor suite can simultaneously detect and identify a wide range of threats, including RPGs, recoilless rifles, and ATGMs. The heavier configuration is also capable of handling tank rounds such as high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and kinetic energy (KE) rounds. By providing accurate counter-attack capabilities against the launching source, the Iron Fist APS empowers crew members to respond effectively to multi-threat scenarios.
To maximize operational efficiency, the Iron Fist series fully integrates with existing on-board systems. This includes battle management systems (BMS), fire control systems (FCS), and Elbit Systems’ innovative “see through armor” Iron Vision technology. The integration with these critical systems does not impede their functionality but rather enhances their capabilities. The Iron Fist APS adds situational awareness and 360-degree day/night surveillance to the platform, while also incorporating hostile fire detection (HFD) capabilities. This comprehensive integration ensures that the defending vehicle remains an effective force on the battlefield. In conclusion, Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist series of Active Protection Systems represents a significant leap forward in enhancing the survivability of armored vehicles. With its lightweight design, precision detection capabilities, and seamless integration with existing systems, the Iron Fist APS offers an unparalleled level of protection against anti-tank threats. As modern warfare continues to evolve, technologies like the Iron Fist series become increasingly crucial for safeguarding armored vehicles and their crew in the face of evolving threats.