The Defense Ministry announced approval for a major upgrade to the army’s ground forces on Sunday, including a new fleet of hundreds of armored personnel carriers and the development of a new cannon.
The Ministerial Committee on Security Affairs approved the plan to purchase hundreds of Eitan armored fighting vehicles, developed by IAI, IMI and Rafael, and a new cannon, the ministry said in a statement.
The upgrade is part of the the five-year Gideon Plan, designed to make the army operationally more efficient and more cost effective, the statement said.
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.
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.
A spokesperson from the ministry said that the Eitan will be the most protected APC in the world, with excellent offensive capabilities.