The Z-family of vehicles is manufactured by ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. Image courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries.
The Z-Mag is a 4×4 vehicle that will be tested by the Israel Defence Forces for its off-road capabilities. Image courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries.
The maintenance and repair of the Z-family of vehicles can be easily performed on the field. Image courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries.

The Z-family of vehicles is a series of 4×4 multi-purpose vehicles primarily intended for the Israeli ground forces and security agencies. It is manufactured by aerospace and defence company Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) subsidiary ELTA Systems in Israel.

IAI acquired the manufacturing operations of the Z-family of off-road vehicles from Israeli vehicle manufacturer Ido Cohen in May 2020.

It is building an assembly line for the Z-family of vehicles at ELTA’s Be’er Sheba facility with an investment of more than $30m.

The vehicle family includes Zibar tactical utility vehicle, Z-mag reconnaissance vehicle, and ZD ultra-light tactical vehicle. The ATVs are designed to operate in the harshest environmental conditions and offer excellent off-road performance.

Z-family ATV orders

In April 2021, IAI received a contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Office of Production and Procurement to manufacture and deliver the Z-Mag ATVs.

The contract requires the company to supply nine Z-Mag all-terrain vehicles to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It also includes an option to order 21 additional units.

Z-family design and features

The vehicle features a monocoque design that provides improved safety, stability, and load handing while travelling at high speeds. It is manufactured in accordance with the Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA), a design standard followed by the UK Ministry of Defence for military vehicles.

The vehicle’s architecture ensures all the parts of the driveline are safely housed in the hull to provide higher ground clearance.

The approach also eliminates the need for incorporating additional shields to guard the driveline parts, reducing the overall curb weight of the vehicle. The ‘One platform multiple layout’ characteristic of the vehicle family allows the variants to be configured in multiple layouts to meet the mission requirements of the customers. The vehicle’s sturdiness enables increased survivability and reliability.

Z-Family vehicle variants

The Zibar variant is a four-seater vehicle with a closed cabin. It has an overall length of 5m, width of 2.2m, and height of 1.95m. The curb weight of the vehicle is 2,850kg, while the payload capacity is 2,500kg.

The Zibar is a tactical utility vehicle and can serve as a ground forces carrier. It has commercially available off-the-shelf spare parts that ensure easy maintenance and repairs on the battlefield. The variant is also suitable for homeland security and police missions.

The Z-Mag is a light reconnaissance vehicle variant designed to meet the needs of the IDF. It is a four- to eight-seater off-road transport carrier with a capacity to accommodate up to 14 people. The vehicle has an overall length of 5m, width of 2m, and height of 1.4m. The variant has foldable safety roll bars and adjustable cargo and seating arrangements.

It is air transportable by C130 and CH53 aircraft. The vehicle has a curb weight of 2,700kg and can carry a payload of 2,500kg. It provides an option to be fitted with an armour package as per the mission requirements.

The ZD ultra-light tactical vehicle variant is equipped with runflat wheels and is capable of operating in harsh terrains. It measures 4m-long, 1.9m-wide, and 1.4m-tall. The curb weight of the vehicle is 1,600kg, while the payload carrying capacity is 1,400kg for a gross vehicle weight of 3,000kg.

Engine and mobility

The Zibar and Zi-Mag variants are powered by General Motor’s V8 L96 engine which offers a power output of 360hp. The ZD variant’s 2.4 L Ecotec engine generates a maximum power of 182hp. The Zibar and Zi-Mag vehicles have a three-speed automatic transmission system, while the ZD variant has a four-speed automatic transmission.

The front and rear axles of all the variants are based on Dana/GM with ARB air lockers which give the vehicle enhanced stability in off-road conditions.

The powerful engines, robust build, rugged suspension systems and reliable automatic transmission systems enable the Z-family vehicles to operate in difficult terrains with improved manoeuvrability.

Zibar and Zi-Mag can travel at a top speed of more than 120km/h and achieve a minimum range of more than 350km, while the third variant can reach a distance of 300km when travelling at a speed of 110km/h.

The ZD vehicle has an approach angle of 90° and departure angle of 64°, while the side slope and longitudinal slope capabilities are 65% and 100%, respectively. The remaining two variants have an approach angle of 90° and departure angle of 48°, and side slope and longitudinal slope climbing capabilities of 65% and 100%, respectively.

The ZD ultra-light tactical vehicle can climb steps of up to 0.3m and cross a ditch of up to 0.4m and a water depth of 0.6m. The Zibar and Zi-Mag vehicles have ditch crossing capability of 0.8m, step climbing capability of 0.5m, and water crossing capability of 0.8m.