image Photo: IMoD Spokesperson’s Office

Israel unveils hi-tech armaments

The government and defense establishments have rolled out the first-ever wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier, a new robotic unmanned combat vehicle and new drone technology.

By Erin Viner

The Tank and Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMoD) has completed initial serial production of the first-ever wheeled APC in the world, named the “Eitan.”

The first serially produced Eitan drove off of the production line during a ceremony at the “Merkava” (Chariot) factory located in the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate at the Tel HaShomer base.

According to a statement TV7 obtained from the IMoD Spokesperson’s Office, Head of the Tank and APC Directorate, Brig. Gen. Guy Paglin, said that the Eitan Project was initiated following Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war with the Islamist Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza.

“A few months ago, we completed the development and began serial production of the Eitan in tens of industries in Israel and abroad, with the assembly taking place here in the Merkava factory,” said BG Paglin, explaining that the APC will “gradually be integrated into IDF combat units” with the aim of replacing outdated technologies to ensure troops are equipped with “the best, most advanced defense equipment for all combat scenarios.”

The 750-horsepower, 8 wheeled Eitan was based on “Merkava” and “Namer” technologies. Outfitted with high all-terrain maneuvering capabilities, it can travel at a speed of around 90 kilometers per hour while transporting up to 12 combat personnel and remain in operational use for multiple days at a time.

It’s state-of-the-art technologies includes Elbit‘s “Iron Fist” Active Protection System, peripheral cameras equipped with day and night vision to ensure security, front calculation and processing capabilities using computerized technology, and touch monitors and processors used for the system of systems. Additionally, multiple other technologies were developed together with Israeli security industries, IDF Ground Forces, and the IMoD’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D),” said the statement.

The IMoD has also announced development of a robotic unmanned vehicle (M-RCV Medium Robotic Combat Vehicle), that integrates a number of cutting-edge technologies including advanced maneuvering capabilities, the ability to carry heavy and varied mission loads and a system to transport and receive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones). It also incorporates sights, an Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) missile launcher and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ “Spike” missiles, said the IMoD Spokesperson’s Office.

Similar to the Eitan, the statement said that the M-RCV is equipped with the “Iron Fist” defense system and also able to remain operational night and day in all-weather scenarios, presenting “a highly autonomous solution for forward reconnaissance, and controlled lethality in all-terrain conditions” while demonstrating “operational effectiveness, simplicity, minimum operator intervention and integration into heterogeneous unmanned arrays.”

The system was developed as part of the autonomous battlefield concept led by the DDR&D in collaboration with the Tank and APC Directorate and national security industries, “while implementing an open architecture for integrating future capabilities and integrating the robot alongside other tools and capabilities,” said the statement, revealing that it includes a new robotic platform type BLR-2 made by BL, a 30 mm autonomous turret developed by the Tank and APC Directorate for the Eitan APC, fire control and mission management systems, a robotic autonomous kit, in addition to situation awareness systems. The vehicle also features a capsuled drone for forward reconnaissance missions, and a passive sensing kit developed by Elbit Systems and Foresight.

The M-RCV is expected to start field tests during 2023 in representative scenarios.

The first public demonstration of Israel’s new robotic combat vehicle was at the Elbit Systems’ pavilion at the Eurosatory Defense and Security Exhibition on Monday.

Meanwhile, military experts and journalists were invited to attend a special display of new UAV technology rolled out by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) today in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

The IAA is a division of the Economy Ministry charged with the national development of industrial R&D.

The exhibition featured a delivery drone flight of several hundred meters to a mailing distribution facility equipped to automatically intercept packages for distribution to designated mailboxes. Recipients of the goods are then informed of the arrivals and sent links to open their postal box when they are in close proximity.

In a celebratory gesture, the first UAV transported a box containing a champagne bottle and 2 glasses.