Eitan and new years' update
It's been a while since news came about any major development in AFVs in Israel. We're kept in the dark for now, about the artillery project, which seems to be delayed until inspection by the MoD is finished regarding corruption allegations.
Costs half the price of a Namer.
Costs 1/10th the engine-time of a Namer.
Reached well over 100km/h on trials but may be limited to 60km/h in transportation mode as it's expected to drive on highways in emergency time rather than on HETs (Heavy Equipment Transporters). But the speed governor could also be removed when needed.
MANTAK will present this month its recommendations for an APS for the Eitan - Iron Fist or Trophy, a decision said to be worth hundreds of millions of shekels (Every Trophy system costs 1 million shekels roughly, which is 300,000 USD).
ERA as well as the passive composite armor are said to be sufficient against current threats.
3 screens are located inside the vehicle - 2 large "21 screens for the commander and driver, and 1 smaller one by the rear door.
Engine could come from either MTU or Caterpillar.
Initial operation capability in 2019.
What this means
For now a total of 500 Namers are planned. Some in service and some in production, albeit slow one. For the same price as another 500 (originally the IDF wanted 800 or more), over 1000 Eitans could be acquired which makes them more open to auxiliary duties such as mortar carriage, repair and maintenance, recovery and more, where the Namer would be too expensive. And since these duties require no turret and no APS, it could cost even 1/3rd as much as the Namer.
Training a battalion worth of Namers would cost as much as 3 brigades of Eitans. Impressive savings, but these can be attributed probably to the fact the Namer's engine is the old AVDS-1790 which in its early iterations served the Patton tanks.
No comment here, other than it being odd that they just gave it a top speed of 90km/h at first when it could do well over that. Previously they gave it a governed speed of 50km/h I believe, which now changed to 60km/h. Perhaps some automotive improvements they didn't disclose.
This is a big one - we were promised way back in 2014 that RAFAEL and IMI will set aside their former rivalry in this exact topic but it seems now that the next generation of APS will no longer be a combination of both their systems, and rather would be another competition between the two. I don't know yet whether this is good or bad, but I do feel some disappointment.
When talking about the Eitan, the military officials and media always refer to just one incident - the Shujaiya (Gaza) rocket attack that killed 7 men in an M113 troops transporter. The rocket was an RPG-29 (PG-29V). So if the IDF claims the Eitan can, without an APS, resist the RPG-29, then by all means this is an impressive feat. Generous claims are for 600mm penetration after ERA, and 750mm without ERA, which is quite substantial.
Just like the Merkava 4, but unlike the Namer, the Eitan will have the BMS Tzayad (Hunter, marketed by Elbit as Torch) integrated into the main computer, laying everything on one screen in front of the commander. Though judging by the photos below alone, it's not yet obvious where the gunner's display is.
Which probably means that an electric or hybrid engine is now off the table. The available offerings right now are: C18 and 6V 890
And for the first time in ever, the IDF released some statistics on its acquisition this year. It's not much, actually not enough even, but it's something.
The short list
The only two important bits are that the Merkava 4 and Namer are both produced at a rate of 30 vehicles per year, each. This makes sense for the Namer, which is due to have the 500th unit delivered by 2027, which means today there are ~200 units, but that's a really low number. At peak production, the plant could produce 120 Merkava tanks a year. And that was more than 30 years ago.
And that's it for today!