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Israel Teases Its New Wheeled APC

August 10, 2016

Israel Eitan 8x8 APC 02

Last week the Israeli Ministry of Defense released a short videoclip showing off its latest war machine. Since then the Eitan, an eight by eight APC, has done the rounds in outlets dedicated to “military affairs.” But the most detailed assessment so far of what it can do is from the Israel-based Defense Update, which revealed the Eitan to be a vehicle tailored for the IDF’s needs.

If the Eitan enters production next year it would begin replacing the estimated 3,000 M113 APCs, along with hundreds of tanks modified as troop carriers, deployed by the IDF. The ongoing fixation on wheeled APCs for armies today stems from several advantages: they’re suited for paved roads and dirt tracks, they could be amphibious, they’re spacious, and they can support a lot of weapons.

Kazakhstan Barys Mbombe 8x8 APC 01

The Barys is a shining example of a hybrid platform. It combines a South African MRAP hull with a turret–the largest of its kind in the world–designed for the Russian BMP-3. It’s unclear if the Barys joins Kazakhstan’s army soon.

A handful of new APCs built to these standards have emerged in the last couple of years. Foremost among them is Russia’s Boomerang, whose armament suite includes four Kornet missiles. In March this year the Kestrel, a modernized OT-64 with a BMP-2 turret, tried to impress at Defexpo India.

This June a prototype eight by eight for Kazakhstan’s army debuted at the KADEX arms show in Astana. The 28 ton Barys used the modified hull of the Paramount Group Mbombe APC and mounted a Russian-made remote control weapon station, the AU220-M, that combined a 57mm cannon with a coaxial machine gun.

During Eurosatory this June among the vehicles displayed included the French Army’s current favorite, the VBCI, packing a new main gun. Not to be left in the dust, Italy’s popular Centauro wheeled tank destroyer–itself based on the Freccia APC–outdid the competition with its own 120mm smoothbore gun. Even Singapore wants its latest variant of the urban warfare-ready Terrex to snag the Australian army’s APC competition.

The Eitan, however, doesn’t aspire to such heights, and is foremost a battle taxi. Its layout is a familiar one for current-generation wheeled APCs, featuring high road clearance, a wide sloping glacis, and the driver cooped up beside the engine. What does set it apart is an obvious adherence to armor protection against shaped charges though its actual STANAG level remains ambiguous.

Based on what has been published so far the Eitan uses a truck chassis and drivetrain supporting a hull designed to carry an active protection system. Weighing from 30 to 35 tons in its current iteration, the Eitan manages a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour on its 750 horsepower diesel engine.

The Eitan reportedly supports three crew and nine passengers for a total of twelve fitting inside its hull. Its armament is basic and is so far confined to a remote control .50 caliber machine gun together with an FN MAG. How many Eitans will be built? What roles can it perform? Is it available for export?

These are questions that have yet to be answered.