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Israeli 8x8 Eitan APC faces first combat deployment in Gaza

On November 06, 2023, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released new photographs that showcase the first combat deployment of the Eitan, an advanced eight-wheel-drive armored personnel carrier (APC). These vehicles were observed in action during a ground assault in the Gaza Strip.
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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released new photographs that showcase the first combat deployment of their Eitan, an 8x8 armored personnel carrier (APC). (Picture source: IDF)

The images, dated November 6, 2023, reveal the Eitan APCs in the thick of operations, supporting the Nahal Infantry Brigade. The Eitan, which can transport 12 soldiers, is part of a strategic move to modernize Israel's military transport fleet, replacing the aging M113 APCs and the more recent Namer Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

The 8x8 Eitan APC is designed to fully integrate with key assets of the IDF's ground forces, including the Merkava main battle tanks, the Namer infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and the armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. These units, among others, play a pivotal role in the initial phase aimed at countering Hamas and dismantling its primarily subterranean infrastructure.

The introduction of the Eitan APCs, initiated in May 2023, is a direct response to the evolving demands of modern warfare. With the Nahal Brigade at the forefront, the IDF is transitioning to a more agile and protected mode of troop transportation. The Eitan's deployment is set to redefine the IDF's ground assault strategies, particularly in challenging terrains such as those encountered in urban combat scenarios.

The Nahal Brigade, a storied unit within the IDF known for its pioneering origins, is the first to receive and operate the Eitan APCs. This brigade, with a legacy that intertwines military prowess with community service, is now equipped with a vehicle that enhances its operational effectiveness while continuing to embody the spirit of innovation and adaptability that has been its hallmark since the 1940s. For more information on this Brigade, do not hesitate to consult the article by the Army Recognition editorial staff dated May 29, 2023.

Announced in August 2016, the Eitan was developed by the Israeli Ministry of Defense as a lesson learned from the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. The need for a vehicle with increased protection against anti-tank guided missiles was clear, and the Eitan was designed to meet this need with advanced armor and the Trophy active protection system.

The Eitan stands out as Israel's first wheeled APC, boasting significant improvements in speed and maneuverability over traditional tracked APCs. Capable of reaching speeds up to 90 km/h on conventional roads, the Eitan ensures rapid deployment of troops, which is critical in the fluid and fast-paced modern battlefield.

The Eitan's technical specifications are significant: it carries a crew of three and nine infantry soldiers, all while offering a high level of ballistic protection. Its remotely operated weapon station can be outfitted with a variety of armaments, from machine guns to anti-tank missiles, providing both offensive and defensive capabilities.


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