Eitan is a new multi-purpose 8×8 wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) developed by the Merkava and Armoured Vehicles Directorate of Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD). It will replace the ageing M113 APCs in service with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The Eitan APC is an advanced, protected combat vehicle with high mobility and firepower capabilities. It can provide combat mobility to the forces in different types of terrains.
The APC was unveiled by the IMOD’s Tank and APC Administration, in collaboration with the IDF Ground Forces, in August 2016. The first operational Eitan APCs are planned to be delivered to the Nahal Brigade, one of the main infantry brigades of IDF.
Eitan APC design and features
Eitan weighs between 30t and 35t and is based on technologies used in the Merkava series of tanks and Namer armoured infantry fighting vehicles. It is primarily designed to transport personnel and weapons. The modular design allows the vehicle to be configured into different variants to meet the mission requirements.
The vehicle measures 8m long and up to 3m in width and height. It is installed with day and night vision peripheral cameras. It also features front calculation and processing capabilities using computerised technology, as well as touch monitors and processors for the operation of various onboard systems.
The vehicle can accommodate a crew of three, including the commander, driver and remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) operator, along with nine soldiers with weapons.
Protection of the Eitan APC
The V-shaped hull of the Eitan APC offers enhanced protection to soldiers against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Eitan is equipped with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist active protection system (APS), an advanced soft and hard kill APS that provides protection against anti-tank threats and enhances the survivability of armoured platforms.
Iron Fist APS was chosen instead of the initially planned Trophy active protection system, which was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
In December 2022, Elbit Systems Land Division, the Tank and APC Directorate and the IDF Ground Forces completed a series of interception tests of Iron Fist on the Eitan APC. The system intercepted anti-tank threats in multi-threat combat scenarios during the tests.
Iron Fist Active Protection System details
Iron Fist is designed to provide 360° coverage for close-range scenarios in open and urban conditions. It also provides a hostile fire source location to enable the troops to close the fire circle on the battlefield.
The system comprises an independent electro-optic sensor suite that can handle multiple threats simultaneously. It also includes searching and tracking radar, and a reaction suite with launchers and interceptors.
The Iron Fist APS will enhance Eitan’s manoeuvrability in combat scenarios in all terrains while providing increased protection and operational capabilities for forces.
Armament aboard Eitan APC
Eitan is equipped with a 30mm turret, a remote weapon station armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and a pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun.
Engine and mobility details
The Eitan APC is powered by a 750hp MTU turbocharged diesel engine installed in the front engine compartment of the vehicle.
The APC is installed with a central tyre inflation system, which improves its mobility on rough terrains. It can attain a maximum speed of more than 90km/h (56mph) and a maximum range of 1,000km.
The vehicle can negotiate a vertical slope of 60% and a side slope of 30%. It can cross a 2m wide trench and a water catchment with a depth of 1.2m.
Oshkosh Defense, a designer and producer of military vehicles and mobility systems, received a $100m contract from the IMOD to produce hulls for the Eitan APCs, in January 2023.
The company will commence production in 2023 and expects to deliver the first hulls within 18 months.
The IMOD selected Elbit Systems to deliver the Iron Fist Light Decoupled APS for the Eitan armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) and the D-9 Bulldozer in August 2019.