In order to reduce the exposure of its
troops to attack by small arms, demolition charges and anti-tank
weapons, the IDF is currently operating several types of armored
vehicles, protected at different levels, designed to meet the
perceived threat at each region.
The heaviest armored elements deployed
in the current LIC combat are the Merkava Mk 3 tanks, heavy armored
troop carriers and heavy engineering vehicles. The
Merkava Mk 3 LIC
was slightly modified to reflect some of the recent lessons
learned during the armored employment in LIC.
The Southern command, responsible for
operations at the Gaza strip, where sophisticated explosive
charges and determined attacks against armored vehicles are
frequently encountered, is operating heavy APCs based on the
Centurion hull, mounting an elevated infantry fighting
compartment, which enables soldiers to observe and effectively
engage targets in built up terrain. The heavy APC was fielded at
the beginning of the current conflict in 2000. The IDF is planning
to introduce a new and upgraded version by 2005.
The Northern command, responsible for
the security of the Lebanon Border, fields a heavy APC
called Nakpadon, which is equipped with special, much heavier
armor protection systems designed to counter more sophisticated threats,
including advanced anti-tank missiles and large standoff charges. The Nakpadon is
also equipped with an electronic warfare broadband jamming system disrupting
electronic remote control activation of roadside bombs.
The Golani Brigade is using a
different vehicle, the Achzarit Infantry Armored Fighting Vehicle
(AIFV) which is based on a modified T-55 chassis.
Further additions to the IDF order of
battle are the introduction of armored wheeled vehicles, these
will probably be the new 8x8 Stryker APC currently being procured
for the US Army but the IDF decision has yet to be made.
A different approach was implemented
with the preparation of the M-113 APC to continue its role in
low intensity conflict. The current vehicle is fitted with
surrounding mesh armor and an elevated fighting compartment,
installed on the top of the existing fighting compartment.
Beginning in 2005, the
improved M-113 APC will be fitted with a new hybrid
armor suite, new engine, improved steering mechanism and remotely
controlled weapon system.
protection of military forces is not limited to combat fighting
vehicles, as troops operating in high risk areas must be
protected continuously, including escort, transportation,
logistics support and non combat activities. Current commander's
vehicles are based on the Soufa 4x 4 armored vehicles. By 2005 an
improved commander's vehicle, based on the Hummer, will be
fielded, and augmented by improved Soufa. The IDF Hummer tactical
vehicles are also fitted with
protection, when compared to the standard set provided by the
manufacturer. The IDF is currently buying protection suits from
the USA, due to lack of local funding. These vehicles will be
augmented in the near future by heavy armored cars, which are
currently being evaluated Armored logistical vehicles, as
well as protected patrol vehicles could also utilize the new
Wolf platform, unveiled
at LIC-2004 by RAFAEL. The
evaluating a new high mobility vehicle - the Flyer Defense ITV-1
all terrain vehicle, which uses the same design as Light Strike
vehicle used by the Army of Singapore