9 April Israeli media published news about the latest industry achievements in the framework of the Eitan project. With reference to the Office of Development tank "Merkava" (MANTAK) the press wrote about the completion of some checks. Just a few days ago, a series of field trials ended, during which experts checked the driving performance of promising equipment in difficult terrain and difficult landscapes typical of Israel. The Ministry of Defense published some information about such work, and also provided the media with a short video showing certain stages of the tests.
According to previously published data, testing of vehicles at various routes and test sites started at the end of August last year. For several months, experienced "Eytan" checked by industry experts and representatives of the military. By the end of the 2016 of the year, servicemen of combat units joined the running tests. A few months ago, soldiers and officers of the Nahal 933 Infantry Brigade were brought to a new test. On the basis of this compound and with the direct participation of its personnel, new tests of the armored personnel carrier were carried out.
As previously reported, the 933 Brigade will accompany the Eitan project in the foreseeable future. With its help, it is planned to carry out all subsequent inspections necessary to determine the actual capabilities of the equipment and its subsequent adoption. Moreover, it is this compound that will receive the first serial equipment of the new type. A similar approach to testing and rearmament has already been applied by Israel and, in general, has justified itself.
Over the past few months, a new type of experienced vehicle has participated in field trials, the purpose of which was to establish the actual characteristics of an armored personnel carrier, as well as to identify and eliminate certain shortcomings. As follows from official reports, the Eitan armored personnel carrier was tested on all major landscapes of the country. Armored vehicles were tested at various ranges of the Israel Defense Forces, including in the Negev Desert, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. In addition, inspections were carried out in urban areas. In addition to testing, an experienced technician took part in several company and battalion exercises.
Further plans MANTAK and the Ministry of Defense are only partially announced. In the near future, the experimental equipment will once again be put to the test, within the framework of which the complex of weapons, protection systems, etc. will be tested. Only after that the armored personnel carrier will be able to count on adoption. The deadlines for the completion of such works, for obvious reasons, have not yet been specified.
The Eitan project is being developed as part of a larger program, Ground Horizon, whose goal is to create several promising armored fighting vehicles. The task of new armored personnel carriers in the future will be the replacement of obsolete vehicles. The latest armed conflicts have shown that the American-made M113 armored personnel carriers in Israel are outdated and do not meet modern requirements. Taking into account the existing problems and challenges, the Ministry of Defense decided to replace outdated armored vehicles with new models. To this end, it was decided to increase purchases of heavy BTR "Namer", as well as to develop a completely new model, now known as "Eitan".
According to known data, the development of the project "Eitan" was completed no later than 2015. In the autumn of the same year, the first prototype was built at an Israeli company. At the same time, as follows from some data, it was not a full-fledged prototype, but only a running model, devoid of some of the most important systems, including weapons. Later new models were built, which differ from the first prototype in one way or another. This technique was intended for use in future trials.
In early August last year, the Israeli Ministry of Defense published quite detailed information about the new project. In addition, the press release of the military department was attached a few photos of the first prototype and a video of the running tests at the sites. In the official report, various features of the new car were mentioned, as well as those or other characteristic features, capabilities, etc.
Just a few weeks after the publication of official information, at the end of August last year, an experienced technician set off for the testing ground. The performance of the BTR Eitan was determined at various test sites, which made it possible to establish characteristics both in the city or on the highway and off-road. From a certain point, such checks were carried out with the direct participation of army personnel.
A new armored personnel carrier is being developed to replace outdated vehicles that no longer meet the requirements of the times. To solve the new tasks related to the protection of soldiers from various threats, it was decided to use both their own developments and foreign experience. As a result, the armored "Eitan" has a significant similarity with modern wheeled armored personnel carriers created in other countries.
The most interesting feature of the “Eitan” project is the use of a wheeled chassis that was not previously used in Israeli military equipment projects of a similar purpose. As reported by officials, this undercarriage was chosen for reasons of economy. Firstly, the wheeled armored vehicle will be noticeably cheaper than the caterpillar in production, and secondly, it will be able to be transferred to a given area under its own power along existing roads. Tracked armored vehicles in such cases have to be transported on tank trailers, which leads to additional costs.
In the presented form, the BTR "Eitan" is a four-axle wheeled armored vehicle with advanced protection, which includes active and passive means. The machine will be able to transport the small office and destroy various targets with the help of different types of barreled weapons. In general, the overall appearance of the Eitan armored personnel carrier was formed in full accordance with current trends in this area.
One of the main complaints about the outdated M113 family of BTRs was the lack of protection. In this regard, the new "Eitan" gets an armored corps with enhanced characteristics of ballistic and mine protection. The exact characteristics of the hull are not reported, but according to representatives of the Israeli Defense Ministry, "Eitan" will be the most protected wheeled vehicle. To further increase survivability in a combat situation, it was proposed to use all existing methods of protection. An existing body with its own armor must carry mounted additional protection modules. Provides for the use of a V-shaped bottom, diverting the shock wave to the side. In addition, the project proposes the use of active protection complex Trophy. Also, another “unique system” of protection should be included in the onboard equipment, but no information about it has yet been published.
Protected body armored "Eitan" is built on the layout corresponding to the current trends in this area. The front compartment of the hull, which is protected by frontal armor, accommodates the control compartment (at the left side) and the right power compartment in which the engine and part of the transmission units are placed. The entire crew is located in front of the habitable compartment. All other volumes are given for the placement of troops. According to official data, the crew consisting of three people: driver, commander and gunner-operator should manage the armored personnel carrier. Aft troop compartment holds nine fighters. The equipment and ergonomics of the habitable compartment are determined in accordance with the developments of the “Timer” project.
To facilitate driving and improve performance, the armored vehicle receives a set of special equipment. A set of video cameras is installed along the perimeter of the case, providing a circular view. To output the video signal and other information at the crew’s workplaces, touch screens are installed to complement other consoles. Communication and control systems are used, allowing a multitude of crews to work in a single information space, receive all the necessary information in a timely manner, and also transmit this or that information. The comfort of the crew and the landing is provided by the traditional for modern Israeli combat vehicles air conditioning.
Landing and disembarking should be carried out with the help of several hatches in the roof and a stern ramp. Hatches are located in the front of the hull and are intended for use by the crew. The paratroopers are invited to get into the car and dismount through the aft hatch, covered with a lowered ramp. When exiting the landing compartment, large box-shaped armored units cover the side of the fighters.
The mobility of the machine is provided by a hp 750 diesel engine. Wheeled chassis received an individual suspension using vertical springs. According to official data, the Eitan armored personnel carrier is capable of speeding up to 90 km / h on the highway. According to the latest reports, during tests on rough terrain, the speed of 50 km / h was obtained. It was especially noted that during tests and exercises, the maximum speed on the roads was limited for safety reasons. Thus, even in difficult conditions, the armored vehicle has a certain margin in speed. The combat mass of the armored personnel carrier, depending on the configuration not exceeding the 35 t, contributed to the achievement of sufficiently high speeds to a certain extent.
The project "Eitan" involves the use of remotely controlled combat modules, fully installed outside the armor corps. The existing equipment on the roof carries a combat module "Katlanit", armed with machine guns of large and rifle caliber. All these weapons are controlled from the console at the operator’s workplace. Machine guns and ammunition boxes are placed outside the protected compartment and do not take away the useful volume. In the foreseeable future, new weapons systems should appear. Thus, it was already announced the creation of a combat module with an automatic cannon caliber 30 mm and a coaxial machine gun. Such a complex of weapons should be tested in 2017 year.
Information about the possible use of combat modules with barreled and rocket weapons is not yet available. BTR "Eitan" has, at a minimum, the theoretical possibility of equipping such products, but their use has not yet been confirmed and not refuted by official sources. It is possible that as the project continues to develop, the armored personnel carrier will receive new remotely controlled combat modules, including those with guided missiles.
Earlier it was reported that during the sea trials at various Israeli landfills, it was possible to identify some of the design and on-board equipment deficiencies. Immediately started work to address these problems, which allows us to bring the terms of adoption of the equipment into service.
The question of future purchases of serial equipment is already being resolved. After completing all the necessary tests and refinements, the Eitan armored personnel carrier will be recommended for use, after which a corresponding contract will appear. The quantitative aspects of future deliveries are not yet known. Currently, the new BTR is positioned as a replacement for the outdated M113. It is known that the Israel Defense Forces are now armed with about five hundred old American-made armored personnel carriers. Announced plans suggest that over the next few years ground forces will receive up to 500 wheeled "Eitan" and tracked "interov", with which they will be able to completely abandon the long-obsolete technology.
The development of the project "Eitan" began several years ago, and by now a promising combat armored vehicle had reached the ground tests. A few days ago, field tests were completed, conducted on various routes of landfills and on a variety of landscapes. Apparently, in the near future, new checks of equipment can pass, which will open the way for her troops. The exact dates for the start of serial construction and supply of armored vehicles to the army have not yet been specified, but there is every reason to believe that these events will occur in the next few years.
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