The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have taken delivery of the first serially-produced Eitan armored fighting vehicles (AFV) from the defense ministry’s Directorate of Merkava Tanks and Armored Vehicles.
The vehicles were delivered from a production at the Tel HaShomer base and handed over to the Nahal brigade stationed at the Bislah base in southern Israel.
The brigade received the first serial Eitan AFVs after recently completing first training maneuvers in the north of the country, as part of which a company of fighters practiced different scenarios while employing the new vehicles.
Introduced to replace the current M113 tracked APCs, the Eitan 8×8 will be powered by a 750 horsepower engine and will be capable of achieving a speed of 90 km/h and more. Israel plans to build several variants in the Eitan family of vehicles, ranging from troop carriers to medium-sized combat vehicles equipped with 30-40 mm cannons.
Late last year, Israel’s defense ministry revealed a contract for US vehicle maker Oshkosh Defense to produce “hundreds of hulls” for the program under a deal worth over 100 million dollars. The contract is being financed by United States aid funds.
The defense ministry said the Eitan was the first advanced wheeled combat vehicle of its kind in the IDF that enables a different type of combat, including the movement of soldiers between combat sectors, at the level of protection of a Merkava tank and the Tiger APC.
Eitan will feature the Iron Fist Light Decoupled active protection system that is being delivered by Elbit Systems, and has space for the addition of a 30–40 mm gun and a missile system.