Israel Defense Forces Eitan 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
Israel Defense Forces Eitan 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)

Israeli Eitan Armored Fighting Vehicle to Enter Serial Production

On Feb.9, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that the new Eitan armored fighting vehicle (AFV) is ready for serial production. They are set to become operational by the end of 2021. The Eitan was developed partially in response to lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war and is progressively replacing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) current M113 APCs. The Eitan is intended to give troops greater speed and mobility — it can reach 90 kilometers per hour (56 mph) — as well as better security: it will be fitted with Elbit System’s Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) active protection system. The selection of the IFLD for the IDF’s Eitan AFV came on the heels of the decision by the U.S. Army to proceed with the IFLD for the Bradley IFV.

The Eitan was developed partially in response to lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war and is progressively replacing the IDF’s current M113 APCs. The development and production of the Eitan is led by the Armored Vehicles Directorate at the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), in cooperation with the IMoD Mission to the United States and the Directorate of Production and Procurement. First revealed in 2016, the Eitan has undergone a comprehensive series of tests by the Defense Ministry’s Merkava and AFV Administration in collaboration with the GOC Army Headquarters and the Nahal Brigade, which will be the first to use the vehicle. As a wheeled APC, the Eitan will not need to be moved on heavy transporters like the Namer and other APCs in use by the military, and it will be more maneuverable in urban areas such as the Gaza Strip.

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Eitan 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
Israel Defense Forces Eitan 8×8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)

The new Eitan is an 8×8 vehicle that combines technologies from the Merkava main battle tank and the Namer APC, but at a cheaper price, the Defense Ministry said. The new Eitan, co-developed with the US, can reach 90 km/h (56 mph), is lighter and cheaper than previous APCs deployed by the IDF. The Eitan is eight meters long and three meters wide and weighs 30-35 tons. It is operated by a commander, gunner and driver. The vehicle can transport nine fighters in an air-conditioned environment. Its body and suspension system have been improved to maximize crew protection and survivability. In addition, upgrades have been made to the steering, electric and control systems. The Eitan has a 750-horsepower engine and can cruise at 90 kph on paved roads in urban settings. It can maneuver off-road with independent suspension and an off-the-shelf drivetrain. The development took place in Israel as well as in the United States, and its parts will be produced in more than 60 factories in both countries.

Eitan (Hebrew for “steadfast”) is an 8×8 wheeled and three meters wide and weighs 30-35 tons. It is powered by a 750-hp (559 kW) diesel engine and has a top speed of 90 km/h on paved roads. The Eitan has run-flat tires and central tire inflation system, and is designed with a protected, relatively high floor to protect from mine and IED blast effects. The APC is fitted with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IF-LD) Active Protection System (APS). The Iron Fist system uses optical sensors, tracking radar, launchers and countermeasure munitions to defeat threats at a safe distance. The Iron Fist system provides 360-degree protection coverage for close-range scenarios in both open terrain and urban environment. The APC can carry 12 men including 3 crew (commander, gunner and driver).

Eitan 8x8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
Israel Defense Forces Eitan 8×8 Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
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