The U.S. company Oshkosh Defense has been awarded by the Israeli Minister of Defense (IMOD) to produce hundred of hulls for the new Eitan 8×8 wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC). The Eitan (steadfast) is an armoured personnel carrier developed by the Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate in the IMOD to replace the aging M113 armored personnel carrier in use by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The new generation of armoured personnel carrier which unveiled on August 2016 by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The deal between the procurement mission and “Oshkosh Defense” is estimated to be over 100 million dollars, financed by American aid funds. Once fully assembled, the APCs will be transferred for operational use.
The Eitan can carry a total of 12 military personnel including a commander, driver, gunner, and 9 infantrymen. The infantry enters and leaves the vehicle through a small hydraulically operated ramp at the rear of the hull. The hull of the Eitan uses a combination of armor protection systems including a passive armor module (at the front and sides) and Iron Fist Light Decoupled active protection system. The floor of the vehicle offers a high level of protection against the blast effects of mines and IEDs ( Improvised Explosive Devices). The Eitan has run flat tires and is designed with a protected, relatively high floor to protect from mine and IED blast effects. The armor is STANAG 4569 level 4.
The Eitan is an 8-wheeled vehicle much lighter than the Namer, weighing less than 35 tons. The Namer (leopard) is an Israeli armoured personnel carrier based on a Merkava Mark IV tank chassis. It’s the most heavily armored vehicle in the world of any type. The Namer is more heavily armored than the Merkava IV main battle tanks. The armoured personnel carrier will complement, not replace, the Namer tracked armoured personnel carrier; 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. The armoured personnel carrier version is fitted with a remote weapon station armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and can be also armed with Spike anti-tank guided missile launchers.
The Eitan is powered by a German MTU turbocharged diesel engine, developing 750 hp. It can run at a maximum road speed of 90 km/h. A Caterpillar diesel was also considered, but was not selected. Engine is mated to an Allison automatic transmission. The vehicle uses an 8×8 driveline configuration. The armoured personnel carrier is fitted with a central tyre inflation system, which improves mobility over difficult terrain, such as sand. Tyres are fitted with run flat system. For a limited range of up to 16 km the Eitan can travel on deflated tyres. Though when the tyres are flat maximum speed is limited to 50 km/h. This armoured personnel carrier is not amphibious. The Eitan will become the first wheeler armored personnel carrier, operated by Israel Defense Forces.