The Eitan armored personnel carrier (APC) is a future addition to the inventory of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). The Eitan is a wheeled 8x8 vehicle designed to replace the old US-made M113 APC as the main armored transport vehicle of the infantry. The development of the Eitan was announced in 2015.
The first prototype that was revealed is armed with two machine guns: a 12.7 mm M2 heavy machine gun (HMG) in a remote weapon station (RWS) behind the driver's hatch aswell a pinte-mounted FN MAG machine gun at the commander's hatch. It is powered by a 750 horsepower engine and can reach speeds up to 90 kilometres per hour, which is quite a bit less than average (Patria AMV, Boxer, VBCI, Terrex etc. usually reach above 100 kmph). Two banks of six smoke grenade dischargers each allow the Eitan to hide in dangerous situations. The Eitan will be fitted with the Trophy active protection system (APS) to defeat anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and RPGs - however the current prototype is not fittet with an APS yet. The Eitan carries up to twelve soldiers, including the commander, driver and the gunner. It can be fitted with different weapon stations and medium calibre turrets with armament up to 30-40 mm autocannons.
According to sources from the Eitan's announcement in 2015, the vehicle will be weighing less than 35 metric tons when fitted with an "advanced turret" of unknown nature. Current video interviews suggest a weight in the 30 to 35 tons range. This implies a lower weight and probably also lower protection level than the current Terrex 3/Sentinel II prototype or the latest version of the Boxer; it appears possible that it reaches ballistic protection in accordance with STANAG 4569 level 4 or 5. STANAG level 4 requires full armor protection against 14.5 mm API ammunition from close ranges, while level 5 requires additional protection against 25 mm APDS along the frontal arc.
The side of the Eitan's hull is protected by rather thin applique plates, which appear to be some sort of metal fitted with thin bolts. Ceramic armor is usually thicker and held by fewer, but larger bolts. This armor design is very reminiscient of the VBCI's armor, which consists of steel or titanium plates fitted with thin bolts onto the vehicle's aluminium hull. This again might imply a protection level comparable to STANAG 4569 level 4. The Eitan is expected to have a high level of mine and IED protection.
(Eitan video from SNAFU Solomon's blog)
The Eitan is meant to supplement the Namer, Merkava and the future Carmel vehicle. It is designed for lower costs than a Namer, and thus sacrifies some performance for being affordable. Supposedly it will cost only half as much as a Namer APC, although this is not fully confirmed. Series production is expected to start by 2020.
The Carmel is Israel's next generation tank still in development. It is being developed instead of a heavier Merkava Mark 5 tank and is meant to rely on active protection systems rather than passive armor. The expected weight of the Carmel is about 32 tons according to an earlier interview. The Merkava 4 tank will remain in production until at least 2020, when the Carmel and Eitan might be ready.