Israel’s Tank Production Authority is producing its first prototype of Eitan, an eight-wheel-drive armored fighting vehicle designed to weigh nearly half as much as the new Namer heavy carriers.
The locally developed Eitan — Hebrew for steadfast — will be deployed alongside new Namers and will replace old M113s that still support the bulk of Israeli infantry.
Sources here said it will weigh no more than 35 tons and will incorporate a new generation of active protection, an advanced turret and a full complement of munitions and sensors.
Field demonstrations are slated by the end of next year, with initial serial production expected to begin by 2020.
“It will be a lot lighter [than Namer] and will be designed to cost,” said Maj. Gen. Guy Zur, commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces Command. “It may be less good [than the Namer], but it will be affordable and allow us to equip a large part of our force.”