The first serial production Eitan Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) were delivered to the Israel Defense Forces Nahal Infantry Brigade. The 933rd “Nahal” Brigade is one of the Israel Defense Forces main infantry brigades and is under the Southern Command. The Nahal Brigade was founded in 1948 by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as a program that combined the military service and the establishment of new agricultural communities. The goal of the “Nahal garinim” was to supply the IDF with soldiers while providing the basic needs for the founding of kibbutzim and new communities. Eitan is set to replace the Nahal Brigade’s longstanding fleet of M113 tracked armored personnel carriers. Throughout its history, the Nahal Brigade has been active in all of Israel’s major conflicts.
Eitan (Hebrew for Steadfast) is an armored fighting vehicle (AFV) 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. The vehicle was developed following of the lessons learned during the Gaza war Operation Protective Edge in 2014. It’s a new vehicle based on scratch offering a new configurable multirole platform. The Eitan is a new generation of wheeled combat vehicle which offers high mobility and firepower. The vehicle will complement, not replace, the Namer tracked vehicle; 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 first Eitan AFV was unveiled on August 1, 2016. The vehicle will be ready for serial production in 2018 with an annual production rate of several dozen systems. In August 2019, Israeli Company Elbit Systems announced that following a competitive bid, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) selected Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD), the Company’s Active Protection System (APS), for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Eitan new eight-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV). On December 28, 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that the hull of the Eitan will be manufactured by the American company Oshkosh Defense.
The Eitan is an 8-wheeled vehicle much lighter than the Namer, weighing less than 35 tons, fitted with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled active protection system. The APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) version is fitted with a remote weapon station armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. The IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) version can be fitted with remotely operated turrets armed with one 30 or 40mm automatic cannon. This turret can be also armed with Spike ATGW anti-tank guided missile launchers. The AFV has a top speed of 90 km/h and can carry 12 men including 3 crew. The armor is STANAG 4569 level 4. The Eitan has run flat tires and is designed with a protected, relatively high floor to protect from mine and IED blast effects.