The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate has announced that a second prototype of the Eitan (Hebrew: steadfast”) 8-wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) has been produced. Eitan is an armoured fighting vehicle to replace the ageing M113 armored personnel carrier in use by the Israel Defense Forces. It is hoped it will be able to replace hundreds of M113s currently in service. The vehicle will complement, not replace, the Namer tracked APC; as a wheeled vehicle, it will cost half as much as the Namer and, unlike tracked vehicles, can transport infantry squads on roads without relying on tank transporters.
It said on 17 June that the new version has been developed on the basis of lessons learned from the first prototype, which went through a series of trials with infantry units in various types of terrain. The first Eitan AFV (armoured fighting vehicle) was unveiled on August 1, 2016.
The MoD said the second version will have a different 750-hp engine and its body has been changed to improve protection for the crew and the on-board systems. Improvements have also been made in its steering, electrical systems, transmission, wheels, and brakes. It is to be an 8-wheeled vehicle much lighter than the Namer, weighing less than 35 tons, and will be fitted with the Trophy active protection system. The AFV has a top speed of 90 km/h and can carry 12 men including 3 crew. The Eitan can be equipped with a 30â€“40 mm gun and a missile firing position.
The Eitan has a typical layout for a modern APC. It weights around 30 – 35 t and is likely to be well protected. Actually it could be one of the most protected wheeled APCs in the world. Vehicle has a V-shaped hull for improved protection against mines and improvised explosive devices. Though there were no official data regarding its ballistic and mine protection. Most likely that all-round protection is against 12.7 mm or 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. In terms of mine protection it is likely that this vehicle was designed to withstand blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. The Eitan can be reportedly fitted with Israeli Trophy active protection systems.