Elbit Systems is expected to ramp up its active protection system (APS) production activities in the near term following a decision by the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) Procurement and Production Directorate (MANHAR) to equip the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF’s) future Eitan 8×8 wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC), and potentially the in-service Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozer, with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) APS.
The IFLD was selected as the APS solution for Eitan over a rival bid from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with the Trophy APS against a series of technical versus cost criteria, under a competitive tender issued by IMOD earlier this year. The decision marks the first domestic success for the Iron Fist system.
Developed by the IMOD’s Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate (MANTAK), Eitan is intended to replace the legacy M113 APC as the main armoured transport vehicle in the IDF. In March 2018, the Israel Security Cabinet approved mass production of Eitan, with series production of the platform expected to commence in 2021.
In a 20 August statement, the IMOD said that the Eitan APS tender “is estimated at hundreds of millions of NIS [new Israeli shekels; NIS1 is equal to USD0.28] within the scope of which the IMOD will purchase hundreds of active protection systems (APS) over the next decade.” However, the award of a contract for the programme is subject to completion of negotiations between the Elbit Systems and MANHAR.
The MANHAR decision follows an earlier determination by the US Army Requirements’ Oversight Council (AROC) in December 2018 to proceed with the IFLD as the APS solution for the Bradley M-2/3 tracked infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) under the Expedited Non-Developmental Item (NDI) APS programme. That decision enables Elbit Systems to advance to Phase II development of IFLD for the Bradley IFV out to 2021, with a potential scope to equip one US Army Brigade of M-2/3 platforms.
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