The Merkava Tank Administration at Israel’s Ministry of Defense has completed the development of its first wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC), the Eitan, which it says is the world’s most advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle.
Over the past few days, the Defense Ministry, in collaboration with the IDF Ground Forces, have begun conducting initial trials of the Eitan. It is an advanced, multi-purpose APC equipped with a plethora of capabilities and prepared for combat mobility in varied and difficult terrain.
Brig. Gen. Baruch Matzliah, Head of the Merkava Tank Administration said in a statement, “The decision to develop the Eitan was made in light of lessons learned during [the 2014 Gaza] Operation Protective Edge, and the increased need to replace thousands of the IDF’s veteran M113 APCs with modern tools with maximum protection, tailored to the existing threats in the arena.”
Matzliah said that “alongside the decision to accelerate the production of the Namer (Heb: tiger, pronounced Nah-mehr) APC, it was decided to develop an additional tool, to compliment it, enabling fast, strategic mobility and maximum protection for ground forces. The series of exercises we have recently begun is allowing the IDF to test the tool in a variety of sites, ahead of decisions regarding the volume of the purchase.”
According to Matzliah, the Eitan was designed as a multi-purpose tool with varied abilities, whose low development and production costs would be roughly half that of the Namer APC, and/or any other wheeled APC in the world. This low-cost allows for the Eitan to be equipped with more tools, at a higher rate, like the Namer.
The Eitan will be the world’s most advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle. It will be equipped with an active defense system, similar to the Namer APC and Merkava Mark 4 tank, and with additional protection systems. The most significant advantage of the Eitan is its excellent mobility capabilities across varied terrains and at speeds of 55 mph. The Eitan was designed for a multitude of tasks, from mobility for twelve soldiers (like the Namer) to advanced firepower.
The Eitan’s Technical Statistics:
Weight: 30-35 Tons
Engine Power: 750 Horsepower
Propulsion: 8 Wheels, 8X8 Drive
Maximum Road Speed: over 90 Kilometers per Hour
Capacity: 12 Soldiers: driver, commander, gunner and an additional nine soldiers
Combat Systems: from small arms positions to medium range with 30-40 mm cannons, and an active defense system