An upgraded version of the Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS), will protect the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Eitan new eight-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) and its D-9 Bulldozer.
The new version has been upgraded to meet the challenges of new anti-armor weapon systems, that have been brought into the area.
The Eitan is now being tested with a number of weapon systems, including the Rafael, Spike anti-tank missiles.
Some main sections of the Eitan will be manufactured in the US to adapt to the situation created by the new FMF agreement that will gradually decrease the amount of the US funds that can be exchanged to Israeli currency.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) selected Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD), the Company’s Active Protection System (APS), after a competition with the Rafael’s Trophy APS.
The Iron Fist was developed by IMI that has recently been acquired by Elbit Systems. According to the company IFLD uses independent optical sensors, tracking radar, launchers and countermeasure munitions to defeat threats at a safe distance from the defended combat vehicles. The system provides 360-degree protection coverage for close-range scenarios in both open terrain and urban environments. Its low size and weight, versatile high-performance, negligible residual penetration and ease of integration position IFLD as an optimal active protection solution for any fighting vehicle.
The operational need for an 8×8 APC was realized especially after the Protective Edge operation. In that operation, the IDF used the little inventory of the Israeli made NAMER and old M-113. To increase the protection level of the old M-113 they were loaded with sand sacks.
According to the IDF, the Eitan can travel at speeds of 55 Miles/h and that gives it a major advantage when forces have to be transferred from one battle area to the other.
Eitan is powered by a 750 hp heavy fuel engine. Four of the eight wheels are steerable, enabling the vehicle to take tight turns and move on the road at a speed of 55 miles/h, and maneuver in narrow roads of urban areas and off road.
The Eitan is 26 feet long and 10 feet wide. It weighs 30 tons and this weight includes the ballistic armor and the active armor systems. The prototypes carry different sensors that gives the three men crew a real time situational awareness.
The basic turreted Eitan platform is likely to be used for moving infantry in the battle field, command and scout roles, while the turret less variant will used to support specific configurations including weapon carriers (mortars etc.), combat engineering, recovery and casualty evacuation.
The Israeli ministry of defense is the main contractor of the Merkava 4, Namer and now of the Eitan.
The directorate uses some 200 Israeli and American subcontractors.
Some Israeli companies, are now increasing their presence in the US, either by joint ventures with American companies or by establishing US subsidiaries to deal with the new situation.
The ministry looks at the export option very seriously and the Eitan with the APS has been recently demonstrated to some potential clients.
By Arie Egozi
With more than 25 years of experience in defence publishing, Global Business Press and its industry leading titles Asian Defence Technology, Asian Airlines & Aerospace and Daily News are the leading defence publications in the region, present at more international shows and exhibitions than any other competing publication in the region.