America’s Bradley infantry fighting vehicle is set to receive the Iron Fist active protection system (APS) produced by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems.
The anti-missile system will be installed on a full brigade of M2 Bradley fighting vehicles.
Bradley fighting vehicles, which are intended to transport infantry or scouts with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy troops and armored vehicles, are included in the package of military aid the United States plans to send to Ukraine.
The US Army made the commitment to equip its M2 Bradley vehicles with the system in 2016. However, the original system required changes to its installation configuration.
Elbit Systems and the system’s lead integrator, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, spent years tweaking the system until the challenges were overcome.
Radars, optical sensors and other parts of the system had to be mounted and tuned in different ways, Lt. Col. Mario Iglesias, M2A4 Bradley product manager told Defense News. In addition, the software and the cabling associated with the computer hardware had to be reconfigured.
The system is now able to counter threats 70 percent of the time, Iglesias said, as seen in testing from February to September 2022 at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The system can also counter drones, in addition to targeting other threats such as rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided munitions.
“That was a capability that wasn’t required as part of our initial requirement but due to what we see in Ukraine, there has been some interest in what we can do to protect our vehicles from UAVs,” Iglesias noted.
The new version of the system is now called Iron Fist Light Decoupled.