CONTENT PREVIEW
Infantry Weapons

Israel’s IWI eyes new markets, expands assault weapons offerings

24 September 2019
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IWI’s 5.56 mm Carmel. Source: IHS Markit/Dan Wasserbly

Israel Weapons Industry (IWI) is working towards an expanded portfolio of automatic rifles to address a wider export market outside of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

For example, IWI US was established in 2013 in Harrisburg, PA, and is 100% owned by IWI. The US business wing has been focused on the commercial/civilian market but the company is hoping to shift into the US government and military market soon, Ronen Hamudot, IWI marketing and sales executive, told reporters on 23 September. In the past IWI has not invested in much marketing in the US or Europe but it is now actively working to enter those markets with new products, and in some cases is seeking joint ventures with local manufacturing.

The products' use by the IDF has been key to IWI's marketing efforts, and the IDF uses nearly all of the company's military products. Nonetheless, IWI is now expanding beyond IDF requirements.

Hamudot said the Tavor series of bullpup rifles was developed between 2003 and 2006, and as time passed the company sought to develop something new to penetrate new markets, so it added the 5.56x45 mm Carmel on its own without an IDF requirement. The rifle deviates from the bullpup design that places the magazine towards the rear by using a more traditional design that places the magazine in front of the trigger guard. Carmel was not designed for any specific market but to add a new style of weapon to the company's offerings.

The Carmel is constructed mainly of polymer and borrows technology from Tavor. It is fully ambidextrous, including the cocking handle that can be switched to either side when the bolt is locked back. The ejection port is far enough forwards so that casings do not hit a left-handed shooter. Its buttstock folds forward for mounted users and a cheek rest on the buttstock can be moved up or down, an IWI spokesperson said.

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