Chief of Staff Eisenkot tries out army’s newest armored personnel carrier

The Eitan APC (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The Eitan APC
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot rode in the military’s newest armored personnel carrier in recent days, marking a milestone in the wheeled platform’s journey to becoming fully operational.
During a war drill held by the 7th Armored Brigade on the Golan Heights, held together with infantry and the air force, Eisenkot boarded the Eitan APC, which the Defense Ministry unveiled on August 1, following years of research and development.
With speeds of up to 90 kilometers an hour, the Eitan will be able to transport infantry between northern and southern arenas in record speed, giving Israel a new ability to deploy forces rapidly in case of a multi-front conflict.
Unlike the aging and vulnerable M113 APCs, the Eitan will come with Rafael’s Trophy active protection system on board, providing them with much better defense against anti-tank rockets and rocket- propelled grenades.
The 7th Brigade, for its part, has in recent days completed a two-year program to switch over from the Merkava Mk2 tank to the Merkava Mk 4, which also comes equipped with the Trophy system.
Eisenkot oversaw how the combined forces drill simulated the latest security threats.
He was accompanied by OC Northern Command Maj.- Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who would command forces dealing with any flare up from Syria or Lebanon, and Ground Forces chief Maj.-Gen. Kobi Barak, who is responsible for the army’s force-build-up program.
Col. Dan Newman, commander of the 7th Brigade, said on Thursday that during the weeklong drill, “The sword was drawn from its sheath to train and to strengthen it, for the day when the order comes.”
Earlier this month, the Defense Ministry’s Tank Administration announced that it had built the first prototype of the Eitan, following a research and development program that was informed by “lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2014.
Fleets of Eitan APCs will join the Namer, the most heavily fortified APC in the world, enabling the IDF to gradually phase out thousands of 1970sera M113 APCs