TEL AVIV — Israel unveiled Monday its indigenous Eitan demonstrator, a wheeled, actively protected armored personnel carrier (APC) that it hopes to purchase in vast quantities over the coming decade and beyond.
At less than 35 tons, the 8x8 wheeled Eitan — Hebrew for steadfast — weighs and will cost nearly half that of new Merkava Mk4-based Namer heavy carriers now in production, according to the Ministry of Defense (MoD).
Both new vehicles are designed to carry 12 infantrymen and will replace the thousands of M113s that still support the bulk of Israeli infantry forces.
Brig. Gen. Baruch Matzliah, head of the MoD's Tank Production Office that developed both vehicles, said Eitan “will be the most advanced, protected wheeled fighting tool in the world.”
According to the officer, Eitan was designed as a low-cost, multi-mission platform, which will allow Israel to equip itself with more vehicles at a higher rate in parallel to purchases of the Namer heavy APC.