Eitan (Heron) 8x8 IFV
Eitan is the first wheeled 8×8 IFV developed in Israel. The "Eitan" APC is an 8-wheeled combat vehicle with an unmanned firing turret, which will replace the old M113 APCs ("Zeldot"). The volume of orders is estimated at several hundred million shekels for the next decade. In August 2016, the Tank and APC Administration, in collaboration with the IDF Ground Forces, revealed the Eitan, the IDF's first wheeled APC. The Eitan is an advanced, multi-purpose APC, equipped with a multitude of abilities, and is prepared for combat mobility in various terrains.
The Eitan APC is a 30-ton armored combat vehicle, which was developed following lessons learned from Operation Eitan in Gaza in 2014. The Eitan APC is characterized by rapid mobility between different combat sectors, and is suitable for traveling on roads at a speed of 90 km. "Q without the need for carriers. It includes a propulsion system with 8 wheels (8X8), carrying capacity of 12 soldiers (driver, commander, machine gun and 9 other fighters) and in various combat systems: from a small weapon stand to an unmanned turret with a 30 mm cannon, And means of sensing and observation.
The Eitan was designed as a versatile tool, with relatively low development and production costs. The Eitan will serve as an advanced and protected wheeled combat vehicle. It will be equipped with an active defense system. The most significant advantages of the Eitan are its excellent mobility and advanced firepower.
Elbit Systems won a tender from the IDF and the Ministry of Defense for the supply of the active defense systems "Iron Fist" which were developed by a former IMI company (now owned by Elbit). IDF. The Ministry of Defense announced today that these are orders totaling several hundred million shekels over the next decade. It is worth noting that the IDF uses the active defense system "windbreaker" made by Rafael for the purpose of protecting heavy armored vehicles, such as chariot tanks and tiger anti-aircraft guns. The announcement of the win led to a more than 3% increase in the share price of Rada from Netanya, which supplies the tactical radar units for spur arrow systems.
The goal of the Eitan project was to create a relatively light and inexpensive means of transporting personnel and various cargoes, which could replace existing equipment. Currently, the Israel Defense Forces is implementing a program to replace obsolete M113 armored personnel carriers with new equipment. BTRs with insufficient characteristics are planned to be gradually decommissioned, replacing them with modern equipment that meets existing requirements. The Namer heavy tracked armored vehicle and the Eitan wheeled armored vehicle are currently being considered as a replacement for the M113.
The development of the project is carried out by specialists from the Department of the Tank Industry of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, namely the development department of the Merkava tank. This design bureau has solid experience in creating modern armored vehicles, which must be used in the development of a promising armored personnel carrier. In addition, some other organizations may be involved in the project. For example, developers of combat modules and other equipment, which in the future will be used in the Eitan project, can take part in the work.
The published data clearly indicate that the authors of the Eitan project most actively used foreign developments in the field of wheeled armored vehicles. The prototype of a promising armored personnel carrier has a characteristic appearance for similar machines of recent times, and also does not differ from them in some other features. Such features of the project are a logical and reasonable step aimed at improving the main characteristics of the equipment. To date, the industry of the leading countries has formed the most successful appearance of a wheeled armored personnel carrier at the moment, which does not need significant changes.
The main task of the armored personnel carrier is the transportation of personnel with weapons. The own crew of an armored personnel carrier must consist of two or three people. The airborne compartment is designed to accommodate 12 soldiers with weapons. For the landing and disembarkation of the assault force, the armored personnel carrier received a stern door or ramp - published materials do not allow one to accurately determine the type of this landing vehicle. In accordance with modern requirements for the safety of soldiers, the door for the landing is located in the rear of the hull. In addition, large armored units cover it on the sides. Due to this, it is planned to protect the landing fighters from enemy fire.
"Eitan" is an armored personnel carrier of a heavy class with an 8x8 wheel arrangement. A modular architecture is initially laid down in the project, with the help of which it is proposed to solve various problems in the future. Modularity should be expressed in the ability to install various combat modules with different weapons, equip equipment with other necessary systems, etc. Already, some plans have been identified for a similar design approach. Thus, it has been determined that the bulk of promising armored personnel carriers will be armed with combat modules with small-caliber guns. The prototype, in turn, so far carries only a large-caliber machine gun.
Armored vehicle "Eitan" received a body standard for modern wheeled armored personnel carriers with a time-tested layout. A frontal part is used, consisting of several inclined sheets, behind which is a roof with a central part raised up and inclined side sheets. The sides of the hull are made in the form of box-shaped units with a beveled front part and additional wedge-shaped boxes between the wheels. The aft part of the hull has two developed protrusions, between which the door for the landing is placed.
The layout of the armored vehicle complies with existing standards. The engine and part of the transmission units are located in the front of the housing. Behind the engine compartment, at the left side of the hull, there is a control post with a driver's workplace. Behind the driver's back are the seats of other crew members. The commander and driver must use their own sunroofs to access their seats. The entire central and aft parts of the hull are given over to a relatively large troop compartment. In the available space, it was possible to place 12 seats for the soldiers. There is a door in the stern for their embarkation and disembarkation.
Due to the specifics of armed conflicts, in which the Israeli army has to take part, the Eitan armored personnel carrier has a fairly powerful reservation. The ability to protect against various ballistic threats and explosive devices is declared. At the same time, however, the exact parameters of the protection have not yet been announced. Apparently, protection is provided, at least from large-caliber small arms and explosive devices weighing up to several kilograms.
In addition to its own armor, a promising armored personnel carrier will be able to use other means of protection. So, according to the statements of the Israeli military department, in the future a new version of the Trophy active protection complex should be created. This protection system is planned to be installed on new armored vehicles, including the Eitan vehicles. Whether the armored personnel carrier will be able to receive hinged additional booking modules has not yet been specified.
One of the main requirements for the new project of the armored personnel carrier, apparently, concerned the level of protection, the increase of which could be carried out at the expense of other characteristics. As a result, the Eitan armored personnel carrier turned out to be rather large and heavy. So, the combat weight of an armored vehicle, depending on the modification and configuration, should be in the range from 30 to 35 tons. Such parameters impose corresponding requirements on the characteristics of the power plant and chassis.
A 750 hp diesel engine is installed in the front engine compartment of the armored personnel carrier. The available transmission ensures the distribution of engine torque to all wheels of the armored vehicle. The undercarriage of a promising armored personnel carrier is based on an independent suspension with elastic elements in the form of vertical compression springs. As is the case with some other Israeli armored vehicles projects, the springs are located outside the hull and have no protection. A relatively powerful engine must provide a power density of at least 21-22 hp. per ton, due to which the maximum speed of the armored personnel carrier should reach 90 km / h.
The Eitan project provides for the use of various types of combat modules. Depending on the wishes of the customer, serial armored personnel carriers can be equipped with systems of different types with different weapons. To date, in practice, the possibility of using modules with large-caliber machine guns has been confirmed. In the future, it is planned to equip the APC with more powerful weapons in the form of an automatic cannon.
The Eitan APC is intended to replace the old M113 APCs ("Zeldot"). The defense establishment planned to install advanced technologies that were developed as part of the "Carmel" project (an advanced embankment tool for the mainland) in Mapat. The Carmel program was launched in 2016 and is designed to develop a completely new combat concept, based on autonomous and automatic operational and maneuvering capabilities, artificial intelligence, sensing capabilities and more. Phase A of the program required the demonstration of the feasibility of the operation of a rocket launcher by two fighters on closed shelves. Where most of the activity is carried out autonomously (driving, detecting threats, acquiring targets, defending and shooting).
Wheeled armored personnel carriers are supposed to be used in the current program of rearmament of the army, implying the rejection of obsolete vehicles. BTR "Eitan" will be built and operated in parallel with heavy tracked vehicles "Namer". According to some reports, a wheeled armored personnel carrier may be of greater interest to the army in comparison with the existing vehicle on a tracked chassis. So, the cost of the serial "Eitan" will be about half as much as in the case of "Namer".
The Infantry Fighting Vehicle is fitted with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IF-LD) Active Protection System (APS). The Iron Fist system uses optical sensors, tracking radar, launchers and countermeasure munitions to defeat threats at a safe distance. The Iron Fist system provides 360-degree protection coverage for close-range scenarios in both open terrain and urban environment. The first batch of vehicles will enter the IDF operational service by the end of 2021.