significant threats in its theatre of operations, the IDF formulated
vehicles roadmap that will secure its forces the levels
of mobility and protection they require for counter terror operations.
Some of the M113 operated by the IDF were installed with raised
armored fighting positions (Kasman - shown on left photo). Improved
protection suites were also designed for the vehicle and by
IMI, utilizing the hybrid (passive-reactive)
armor. This armor kit was selected by the IDF few years
ago but the program was later shelved due to lack of funding.
More recently, IMI's Land Systems Division (Slavin) completed
a more radically configured version of the M-113, dubbed "Urban-Fighter",
optimized for Missions Others Than War and Low Intensity Conflict
(LIC), particularly in urban environment. The Urban-Fighter
is considered to augment and replace IDF unprotected or less
protected vehicles currently operating in counter-insurgency
operations in the West Bank. By the end of June 2007 IMI delivered
the Urban-Fighter’s prototype to the IDF for testing.
IMI expects the IDF to decide on potential procurements after
the tests completion.
Unlike other M-113’s up-armoring projects, the ‘"Urban-Fighter"’
required only minor automotive upgrade, which further contributes
to its cost effectiveness. Although this vehicle received a
massive improvement in its armor protection, the conversion
of a plain Gavin (M -113) into a fully equipped Urban Fighter
using the Urban-Fighter kit is performed within days at a cost
about 10 percent of the cost of a Mine
Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) currently produced for
the US Army and Marines. The vehicle’s protection was
enhanced to stop heavy machine guns, shrapnel and most types
of Improvised Explosive
Devices (IED) utilizing the Iron
Wall technology armor suite developed by IMI, providing
bulletproof armor as well as IED , including
Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP) and Explosively Formed
Fragments (EFF) protection. In addition, the Urban-Fighter uses
improved slat armor, protecting it from attacks by RPGs.
The new vehicle offers features hitherto unavailable to APCs,
including armored transparent side windows, offering unobstructed
visibility upwards and sideways. 360 degrees observation and
firing capability is provided for the commander and another
crewmember by a raised cupola fitted with transparent armor.
Firing ports are imparted for warfighters in the front, sides
and rear. The fighting compartment was has also been redesigned
with the addition of blast-protected seats, improving the survivability
of the crew to attacks by mines and IEDs. The vehicle can carry
eight fully loaded troops and a driver. Before beginning the
field trials the vehicle is expected to receive a remotely operated
weapon station which will further add to its visibility and
The driver’s position was greatly improved, compared
to conventional M-113s and is now fitted with two windows and
side and rear looking video cameras eliminating the ‘blind
areas’ that necessitated direction by the commander. The
new driver’s compartment ensures good visibility under
most driving conditions, for safe driving on roads, dust roads
and cross country. The current configuration retains the ‘steering
sticks’ however the vehicle can be installed with an optional
steering wheel to further simplify driving.
IMI's Land Systems Division is Israel's leading armor systems
house, developing and producing advanced protection systems
for heavy, medium and light vehicle applications. Among the
company's current programs is the designing and production of
the special armor elements used on the Merkava tank, the development
and production of the modernized Turkish M-60 tank and the design
and production of protection suites for the IDF's new armored
infantry fighting vehicle (Namer).