CONTENT PREVIEW
Infantry Weapons

IAV 2020: Elbit’s Iron Fist engages kinetic energy round

24 January 2020
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An image of the IFLD munition just before it intercepts an RPG. Elbit has not released any imagery of the IFLK defeating an APFSDS. Source: Elbit Systems

Key Points

  • An Iron Fist Light Kinetic (IFLK) round has successfully intercepted an APFSDS projectile in tests
  • It is unclear how interchangeable the IFLK is with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) system ordered by the US and Israeli militaries

Elbit Systems' Iron Fist active protection system (APS) has successfully engaged a 120 mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) projectile under test conditions, Adam Griffiths, programmes and engineering director at Elbit Systems UK, told the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference in London on 21 January.

The presentation included video footage of what Griffiths described as a "miss-to-kill" interceptor that was launched by the Iron Fist Light Kinetic (IFLK) system exploding near an APFSDS, thereby altering its trajectory. This would result in it hitting a vehicle fitted with the APS at a less-optimal angle, reducing the resulting penetration.

The development raises the prospect of armoured vehicles effectively defending themselves against main battle tanks as well as man-portable anti-tank weapons.

Griffiths said the IFLK is designed to intercept APFSDS and anti-tank guided missiles, while the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD), a system already ordered for the US Army's Bradley and Israeli military's new Eitan infantry fighting vehicles, is better suited to rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and recoilless rifle projectiles.

He did not explain how the two systems differ or say whether the IFLK interceptor requires a different launcher.

He said Iron Fist includes a solution to the problem of APS radar emissions giving away the location of vehicles but did not explain how this has been achieved.

The problem was touched on during a later presentation by Rheinmetall Protection Systems, which indicated that an APS with a 200 W-radar system could be detected from a range of 500 km by electronic intelligence assets.

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