It has taken about a decade, but after millions of research dollars and countless testing, so-called "active protection" technology could soon be ready for the battlefield. Developed by researchers in America and Israel, according to Wired's Noah Shachtman, these defenses can stop grenades and bullets before they hit.
"In March, the Israeli system -- known as 'Trophy' or 'Windbreaker,' and seen in the cheesy video [below] -- was used in combat for the first time, shooting down a missile before it could hit a Merkava 4 tank along the Gaza border," Shachtman wrote on Danger Room. "Now, according to documents unearthed by Aviation Week's Paul McLeary, an American active protection is getting ready for 'field testing' and 'transition to combat forces.'"
Trophy uses a system of flat-panel radars to monitor the skies for incoming fire. Should an incoming projectile be detected and verified as a weapon, Trophy's active protection tools will decide the best angle to return fire with jets of molten metal. The entire process, from detection to destruction, takes just seconds.
The system being built for the United States military, to be used for armored vehicles in Afghanistan, is actually a combination of something similar to Trophy and a remote weapons station. Already found on top of many U.S. vehicles, the weapons station can be synced with Crosshairs, the Trophy-like system that uses a series of microphones and radars to triangulate the direction and distance of incoming missiles. Once synced, the weapons station can automatically return fire at the spot where the missiles originated. The technology companies working on these systems refer to that last bit as "facilitating shooter neutralization."
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