The Defense Ministry on Monday unveiled Israel’s first wheeled armored personnel carrier, a vehicle that will replace thousands of aging M113 APCs currently in use by the Israel Defense Forces infantry brigades and other units.
The “Eitan” (“Steadfast”) sports vastly upgraded armor and defensive systems akin to Israel’s Merkava line of tanks, and is specifically designed for combat mobility in difficult terrain, the ministry announced in a statement.
The new APC moves away from the tread design of the older “Bardelas” (“Cheetah”) vehicle, which was found in the 2006 Second Lebanon War to be overly susceptible to enemy anti-tank rocket attacks.
A single explosion can sever the link on the tread rendering the older APC models immobile.
Head of the Merkava Tank Administration, Brig. Gen. Baruch Matzliah, said that knowledge gained in Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip were also incorporated into the new APC’s design.
“The decision to develop the Eitan was made in light of lessons learned during Operation Protective Edge, and the increased need to replace thousands of the IDF’s veteran M113 APCs with modern tools with maximum protection, tailored to the existing threats in the arena,” he said.
The IDF and Defense Ministry were harshly criticized during Operation Protective Edge for the use of outdated, improperly reinforced armored personnel carriers.