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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Israel Purchasing Eitan Vehicles

Israel's Ministry of Defense has approved the purchase of Eitan armored fighting vehicles.

As part of the five-year Gideon Plan, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced this month that it had approved an upgrade program for the military, which will include the acquisition of a new armored fight vehicle, Eitan.

Eitan will replace the IDF's M113 tracked armored personnel carriers. The vehicle was first unveiled in 2016 and entered testing last year. Israel is planning for the vehicle to enter serial production in 2020.

The Times of Israel reported that Eitan "combines technology from the Merkava tank and the Namer APC, but at a cheaper price."

Eitan is planned to reach maximum speeds of 90 kmph and carry 12 soldiers, including the three crew members.  The APC will be protected by the Trophy active protection system.  The Eitan is expected to be far lighter than the Namer, at a weight of 34 tons (a little over half the weight of the Namer).  It will also be far less costly, making it more feasible to field larger numbers of the wheeled APC.

The prototype Eitan APC featured a remote weapon station with a 12.7mm machine gun.  However, the 30mm turret shown in July 2017 on board the Namer can also be installed on the Eitan.

The total number of Eitans that will be ordered is not clear, but the IDF likely has around 500 M113s in active service at present, suggesting that several hundred Eitans will be procured.

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