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Israel announces first major order for Z family offroad vehicles

A Zmag outside at the Elta Land Division facility in Beer Sheva with a Zibar and Ram Mk3 vehicles behind. (Israeli Ministry of Defense)

The Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) signed a contract worth more than ILS100 million (USD29 million) to purchase hundreds of Zmag and smaller ZD offroad vehicles made by Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI's) Elta Land Division on 8 June.

“This is a significant procurement deal for strengthening the IDF Special Units' force buildup that we were able to place in the IAI's Beer Sheva Land Division production line,” said Avi Dadon, head of the ministry's Directorate of Production and Procurement. “This agreement will enhance the export potential for these unique tools and technologies.”

The MoD said the vehicles have exceptional all-terrain capabilities and use commercial components to make them more reliable and less expensive to operate.

This is the first significant order for IAI's Z family of vehicles, which also include the Zibar. Both the Zmag and ZD have rollbars that fold down so they can fit inside aircraft, while the Zibars that have been shown have an enclosed cabin and a rear cargo bed.

Yoav Turgeman, vice-president of IAI and the CEO of Elta, told Janes that Elta bought the intellectual property for the vehicles from their designer, Ido Cohen, and developed them further with him. “We mainly conducted the engineering work to make sure that it can be manufactured according to a number of industrial parameters,” he said.

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