Elbit to provide Iron Fist for IDF's Eitan AFV in $31m. deal

Contract to be carried out over period of 5 years

EMPLOYEES CHECK an Elbit Systems Ltd. Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the company’s drone factory in Rehovot last month. (photo credit: REUTERS/OREL COHEN)
EMPLOYEES CHECK an Elbit Systems Ltd. Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the company’s drone factory in Rehovot last month.
(photo credit: REUTERS/OREL COHEN)
Israel’s Defense Ministry has selected Elbit System’s Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) Active Protection System for the IDF’s new Eitan Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV), the defense company announced on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the contract from the Production and Procurement Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) valued at approximately $31 million (NIS 109 million), Elbit Systems will equip the IDF’s new wheeled AFVs with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) systems.
The contract will be for over a five-year period, the company said.
The IFLD systems use independent optical sensors, tracking radar, launchers and countermeasure munitions to defeat threats at a safe distance from the combat vehicles. The system provides 360-degree protection coverage for close-range scenarios in both open terrain and urban environments.
“The systems’ high-performance, versatility and negligible residual penetration, as well as its low size and weight and ease of integration, position the Iron Fist as an optimal APS for any fighting vehicle,” Elbit Systems said in a statement.
Based on lessons learned from fighting Hamas in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the Eitan is intended to give troops better security as well as greater speed and mobility and is part of the IDF’s drive to modernize its armored vehicles for the future battlefield.
It will replace the military’s M113 fully tracked armored personnel carrier.
First revealed in 2016, the Eitan has undergone a comprehensive series of tests by the Defense Ministry’s Merkava and AFV Administration in collaboration with the GOC Army Headquarters and the Nahal Brigade which will be the first to use the vehicle.
As a wheeled APC the Eitan will not need to be moved on heavy transporters like the Namer and other APCs in use by the military, and will be more maneuverable in urban areas such as the Gaza Strip.
At eight-meters long and three-meters wide the Eitan weighs in at 30-35 tons and is operated by three crew members – the commander, gunner and driver – and can carry nine fighters in an air-conditioned environment. Its body has been improved to maximize crew protection and survivability as well as the suspension system. In addition, improvements were made to the steering, as well as to electric and control systems.
Equipped with a 750-horsepower engine, the Eitan will be able to reach speeds of up to 90 kilometers an hour on roads in urban areas while still able to maneuver off-road with independent suspension and an off-the-shelf drivetrain.
The Eitan will also be equipped with an FN MAG, .50 caliber heavy machine gun and a 30mm cannon with a range of 2,500 meters and a missile launcher that can be operated without the crews leaving the vehicle and exposing themselves to the enemy.
The vehicle has a peripheral observation system, a high resolution touch-screen system offering a 360-degree view of the battlefield and a variety of advanced weapons systems which can intercept threats such as missiles and rocket-propelled grenades – weapons which proved deadly for older vehicles.
“We are proud to be in a position to provide the IDF with such an important operational capability. This award adds to the growing interest in the Iron Fist by many modern armed forces who seek to enhance the protection capabilities of their AFVs,” said Yehuda Vered, Elbit EVP and general manager of Elbit Systems Land Division.