Israel’s new Eitan APC has performed its first combat missions in Gaza battling Hamas, IDF said.
The Eitan carries 12 soldiers, including three crew, and uses Israel’s latest defense technology.
The new aromored vehicle was not due to go into operational service until next year, said a report.
Israel has rushed its new hi-tech APC into battle to join the fight against Hamas in the ongoing siege of Gaza, months before it was due to become operational,
A photo released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) showed the distinctive-looking Eitan armored vehicle taking part in Gaza operations on November 5.
An IDF spokesperson confirmed to Insider that the armored fighting vehicles are in action on the ground in Gaza.
The IDF developed the Eitan APC, a versatile 8×8 wheeled armored personnel carrier designed to replace the aging M113 APCs in service with the Israeli army, per Army Technology. Featuring advanced technology from the Merkava tank series and Namer armored vehicles, the Eitan offers high mobility and firepower in various terrains.
An Eitan APC first went into action during the October 7 terrorist attacks on southern Israel by Hamas, according to Walla, an Israeli news outlet.
During the battle of Zikim in which an IDF training base was overrun, the untested APC was called into action, helping to wipe out a squad of fighters.
” We reached the area the fastest. This is our first advantage,” an Israeli soldier told Walla. Using the Eitan’s machine guns, they engaged “the terrorists” alongside tanks.
“Then we went to the settlements. We ran into terrorist vehicles and didn’t feel anything. It’s a powerful tool. We broke through gates and fences. Then we helped evacuate the wounded and supply the troops.”
An Eitan commander, Lieutenant Yotam, told Walla: “The Eitan brings important capabilities such as flexibility, high level protection and lethality. There is good news for the ground forces.”
Eitan APC: ‘The best and most advanced’
Eitan means “strong” in Hebrew.
The first units to train on the new APC were from the 50th Battalion’s Sayeret Nahal, a special forces unit of the Nahal Infantry Brigade. Soldiers were still getting to grips with the new weapon as recently as September, said a Breaking Defense report.
Weighing between 30 and 35 tons, the Eitan has a modular design, housing a crew of three, including the driver, commander and gunner, and nine soldiers. Its V-shaped hull enhances protection against mines and IEDs, complemented by the Iron Fist active protection system.
The Iron Fist APS provides 360° coverage and handles multiple threats with its electro-optic sensors, radar, and reaction suite.
It is armed with a 30mm turret, a remote weapon station with a 0.5-inch heavy machine gun, and a pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun and can achieve speeds over 56 mph.
Brig. Gen. Guy Paglin, head of the Defense Ministry’s Armored Vehicles Directorate, said: “The development of new weapons allows us to replace old and less advanced technologies, thus promising that our soldiers are equipped with the best, most advanced defense equipment for all combat scenarios,” per The Israel Times.
Israel has been carrying out a ground invasion of Gaza and an intense campaign of aerial bombardment following the Hamas terror attacks on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people.
Israel’s campaign has killed over 11,000 people, including over 4,00 children, the Hamas-run health ministry said on Friday.
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