The Defense Ministry unveiled Monday the IDF’s first wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC).
The APC was developed using Israel’s experiences in Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, in 2014, the Ministry said.
The Defense Ministry’s Tank Administration announced that it had built the first prototype of the APC, named Eitan, after completing the development stage.
The eight-by eight wheeled vehicle will be powered by a 750-horsepower engine, and will have an active protection system to intercept threats by RPG and anti-tank missiles.
It will be able to reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour and ferry infantry soldiers from one battle sector to another, traveling along roads without the need for military trailer services.
The Eitan can also travel through difficult terrain, according to the Defense Ministry.
Fleets of Eitan APCs will join the Namer, the most heavily fortified APC in the world, enabling the IDF to gradually phase out the thousands of 1970s-era IDF M113 APCs, which were seen to be highly vulnerable to armor-piercing projectiles in Gaza.
In recent days, the Tank Administration and the IDF ground forces began a series of tests on the Eitan.
The Eitan will be the most advanced and fortified wheeled fighting vehicle in the world, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Commander of the Tank Administration, Brig.-Gen. Baruch Matzliach, told military correspondents that the initiative to develop a new APC was made after Operation Protective Edge, upon noting that the current M113 APCs were highly vulnerable.
“This does not replace the Namer. It will work alongside the Namer, allowing us to engage faster,” he said.
The Eitan is a multi-purpose fighting vehicle, which will have a remote controlled gun and missile launcher that can be operated without the crew needing to leave the vehicle.
There will eventually be a whole array of these APCs, which will include a vehicle for transporting 12 combat soldiers while being able to conduct strikes on the battlefield using a roof-mounted gun and missiles.