The Israeli Ministerial Committee on Security Affairs approved the plan to purchase hundreds of Eitan armored fighting vehicles, developed by IAI, IMI and Rafael, said in announcing by Israeli Defense Ministry.
Starting in 2020, the eight-wheeled, lightweight Eitan vehicle will begin replacing the IDF’s current M113 fully tracked APCs. It combines technology from the Merkava tank and the Namer APC, but at a cheaper price.
According to the Times of Israel, the upgrade is partially in response to lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war, and is intended to give troops greater speed and mobility, as well as better security, the statement said.
“We can now state that within a decade, the IDF ground forces will undergo a dramatic upgrading of its capabilities,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, noting that much of the technology would be developed and built in Israel, boosting the economy.
Weighing in at 30 to 35 tons, a prototype of the Eitan, Israel’s first 8×8 wheeled APC, was first revealed in early August 2016.
The Eitan APC’s ability to navigate roads and varied battlefield environments up to 90 kph means it does not require the assistance of a military truck to move around, giving it an edge over other battle vehicles.