IDF to equip new wheeled fighting vehicles with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Light Decoupled systems

IDF to equip new wheeled fighting vehicles with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Light Decoupled systems
Iron Fist Light Decoupled systems

The Production and Procurement Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Elbit Systems a $31 million contract to equip Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) new wheeled fighting vehicles with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) systems.

IFLD uses a number of independent optical sensors, tracking radar, launchers and countermeasure munitions to defeat threats at a safe distance from the defended combat vehicles.

The system is designed to provide 360-degree protection coverage for close-range scenarios in both open terrain and urban environments. Its low size and weight, versatile high-performance, negligible residual penetration and ease of integration position IFLD as an optimal active protection solution for any fighting vehicle.

The system’s sensor suite uses two sensing technologies, radar and optics for quick, robust and accurate detection, and provides reliable data with a negligible number of false alarms. It automatically detects and identifies a broad range of hostile anti-tank threats including short range RPGs, recoilless rifled ammunition, and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), while the heavier configuration also handles tank rounds such as HEAT and KE.

The computerized control unit receives sensor data and calculates the optimal interception point and time for successful threat neutralization.

The APS utilizes a blast interceptor for an effective and safe interception process.

The small blast warhead is initiated at a safe distance from the defending platform, and counters the threat by producing a shock-wave effect at a precisely calculated location and time. This results in the destruction of the threat without initiation of its warhead and the creation of a jet formation with minimal residual effects

Iron Fist Light Decoupled systems

The sensor suite can handle simultaneous, multi-threat scenarios and provides the crew with accurate counter attack capabilities against the launching source.

Under the contract, the IFLD systems will be used for the Eitan Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) of the IDF.

Elbit Systems land division executive vice-president and general manager Yehuda (Udi) Vered said: “We are proud to be in a position to provide the IDF with such an important operational capability.

“This award adds to the growing interest in the Iron Fist by many modern armed forces who seek to enhance the protection capabilities of their AFVs.”

Work on the five-year contract is to commence in 2021.

Defence Insight Analysis

Iron Fist series of Active Protection Systems (APS) is designed to deliver high-performance protection against anti-tank threats while increasing the survivability of the platform or vehicle.

The series includes a light configuration for armored fighting vehicles (AFV), infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) and logistic vehicles, and a heavier configuration for main battle tanks (MBT).

Iron Fist breaks the survivability paradigm of a direct relationship between threat levels to vehicle and ballistic armor weight.

The light configuration is specifically designed and optimized for light to medium AFVs, providing highly effective protection and enhancing the survivability of both AFVs and MBTs without adding massive weight or hampering the crew’s operational capabilities in any way.

The solutions provide interception of anti-tank threats by precise-detection technologies and capabilities to detect, identify, classify the threat, and respond to hostile fire threats in various engagement scenarios, all without endangering the operators or harming the defending platforms.

The Iron Fist APS utilizes a blast interceptor to defeat the threat without initiating its warhead.

C2 and on-board systems integration

The Iron Fist series fully integrates with existing systems such as battle management systems (BMS), fire control systems (FCS), and Elbit Systems’ ‘see through armor’ Iron Vision technology.

The APS solution does not impede or limit the range of operations of these critical systems, and effectively augments their functionality.

The sensor suite enhances the platform’s situational awareness capabilities, while providing 360° day/night surveillance sight and hostile fire detection (HFD) from its sensors up to gunshot fire and small arms bursts detection

Key features

• Modular, compact design compatible with various platforms
• Two independent sensing techniques: RF and passive IR
• Minimal integration constraints
• Miss-to-kill concept – minimal collateral damage
• Energy-efficient
• Optional soft-kill jammer against ATGM

Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org
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