ZMAG – Combining lightweight but tough chassis with a powerful drivetrain and specially tuned suspension components creates high payload capabilities while maintaining high off-road mobility. Photo: IAI

IAI acquires the manufacturing operations of the Zibar offroad tactical vehicle, designed and built by Israeli offroad entrepreneur Ido Cohen. The Z family activities being acquired include the Zibar, Zmag – a light version of the platform, and ZED – the armored off-road vehicle. IAI ELTA will design and produce the vehicles in its manufacturing site in Beer Sheva, where RAM vehicles are currently built. The company intends to compete with this vehicle for an upcoming Israel MOD tender for commando vehicles, according to Israel’s Calcalist website. The company plans to adapt and configure the vehicles for military and homeland defense applications, and now, acting as the vehicle design authority will be well-positioned to address specific customer requirements.

ZEDD – representing an armored extreme-mobility offroad vehicle. Concept: Ido Cohen

IAI’s ELTA new ground forces facility is under construction at an investment of tens of millions. ELTA Beer Sheba will also perform the vehicle configuration development and upgrading to provide integrated system solutions. As ELTA is also responsible for IAI’s land robotics, such expertise could also apply to optionally manned or unmanned variants of the vehicle. IAI will market the military vehicles exclusively, while Ido Cohen continues to manufacture and sell the vehicles in its civilian applications.

Zibar was designed and is manufactured entirely in Israel. The vehicles offer excellent performance and mobility and are capable of traversing harsh off-road conditions. “The off-road vehicles fulfill the operational needs of the ground forces for defense, assault, and intelligence.” Yoav Turgeman, IAI VP and CEO of ELTA, explained, “We are excited to collaborate with Ido Cohen, a visionary vehicle manufacturer from Israel. IAI offers a broad range of ground intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and remote sensing capabilities. Integrating these capabilities on the Z Vehicle Family provides significant added value to the operational capabilities ELTA provides existing and future customers.”