We have discussed Active Protection Systems many times before, but it is another thing seeing one work operationally. The video below depicts a Merkava IV tank being fired on in Gaza by an RPG, with Trophy intercepting and destroying the explosive projectile before it could plow through the tank's side armor.
Operation Protective Edge is really Trophy's first operational debut. So far it is said that the system has intercepted no less than five explosive projectiles fired at Israeli tanks.
Much like its much larger Iron Dome cousin, Trophy, which is called Windbreaker locally, tracks objects rapidly approaching the vehicle it is mounted on via an array of fixed radar antennas placed around the vehicle. The system automatically predicts the objects trajectory and then instantly aims a launcher that fires a canister of ball bearings at high speed directly at the object.
The idea is that trophy will detonate or disable the enemy munition before its high-explosive anti-tank warhead can send its molten spray into the vehicle's hull. The whole event is fully automated and happens in mere seconds. or even a fraction of a second if the projectile is fired at very close range. After the intercept has occurred, Trophy's display panel gives the occupants of the vehicle the precise location where the attack emanated from.
The Trophy system, designed and built by Israeli defense giants Elta and Rafael, has been honed for over a decade, and it is said to be so reliable that troops can now operate close to the sides of the tank with little chance that the system's shotgun-like projectiles will hit them as the intercept takes place at an ample distance from the vehicle itself.
Trophy is built not just to counter RPG's and recoilless rifles, but also anti-tank missiles, such as those fired out of the cannons of Russian main battle tanks. It is rumored that Trophy can also work against air-launched anti-tank missiles, even those that fly a "top down" attack profile.