The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues the tests series for IDF’s first wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC), this time at the Golan Heights training field.Obviously the video I posted earlier this week was highlighting this test. What I didn't know is how rapidly this program would move once it came out of the shadows.
The MoD Merkava Tank Program Administration in collaboration with IDF’s ground forces, reported on another stage of the first development of the Israeli Eitan – a first prototype test drive at the IDF training fields, with the harsh and diverse terrain conditions of the Golan Heights.
The Eitan is an advanced multi-purpose APC with diverse capabilities, designated for combat and transport of soldiers at the battlefield under harsh and diverse conditions. The Eitan will be the most advanced and armor-protected wheeled combat vehicle in the world. It will be equipped with an active defense system (similar to the Namer series and the Merkava IV tanks) as well as with additional unique protection systems.
The Eitan’s most remarkable advantage will be its excellent mobility capabilities among different combat zones, and the fact that it is compatible for driving at a 90 km/h speed on paved roads without the help of a transporter.
Everyone is estimating production to start around 2020. If past is prologue then that's being extremely conservative. The Israeli's are kicking the tires hard and it wouldn't surprise me if we see them start rolling out models for testing with operational units within a year or two.
When it comes to IDF priorities we're all guessing. They play their cards close to the vest but it would appear that the Eitan is a top priority for their ground forces.
Note: What is up with that goofy ass banner they hung on the side of their vehicle? Its got to be a Middle East thing because every force in the region does the same.