Saturday, September 3, 2016

Israel reveals new 8X8 APC: The Eitan

(Jerusalem) The IDF recently unveiled their latest Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) to the world. What surprised most people is that it is wheeled. Say hello to the 8x8 Eitan.

The IDF has as its main Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) the 56-year-old US M113. Fine for ferrying troops to the battlefront during the Cold War, but it's showing its age and it isn't really suited for the asymmetrical battlefield of today.

Yes, the IDF have the 60 tonne Namer which weights almost as much as any major Main Battle Tank such as the M1, Challenger 2, Leopard 2. But that extra protection comes at a price, and whilst inducted into service in 2008, the IDF have only 120 on their books at a rate of 30 a year. As mentioned, the M113 is past its sell by date. Whilst the IDF have up-armoured the 6,000 on their books, in 2014, Hamas, using an RPG-29, took one out, killing 7 soldiers, and if Hamas can do that, just think what everybody else in the region can do. So the IDF started looking at replacing their M113s with something better protected than but cheaper than the Namer.

However, the days of stockpiling armour on every border is well out of the question, so the need to be able to traverse from one side of the country to the other quickly had to be taken into account. Hence the choice of wheels over tracks. However, wheels have always been seen as less armoured than tracks, so the Israelis have up-armoured theirs and have added the Trophy Active Protection System which, since its inception in 2011 into the IDF, has seen a 100% success rate of stopping enemy missile attack.

The Eitan looks like a well thought out worthy addition to the IDF and, as usual, they have set a new standard in wheeled battlefield taxis. The very nice people at Below the Turret Ring have knocked out a much more informative article on the subject.