TEL AVIV – Israel on Sunday unveiled three prototypes of its “tanks of the future” that may eventually replace the Merkava tank.
The armored vehicles, part of the Carmel project that was launched three years ago, are more “agile, effective, innovative, compact, easy-to-maneuver” than their predecessors, the Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that their costs would also be lower.
“The purpose of the program was to develop the technology necessary for the ‘combat field of the future,’ maintaining operational superiority via technological superiority,” the ministry said.
Some of the new technology will be implemented immediately, including a 360-degree field of vision helmet called Iron Vision, while others will be unrolled in the future.
“This is a revolutionary concept based on cutting-edge technology,” Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem, head of military research and development at the ministry, told journalists.
“Many countries and many armies are looking for future armored vehicles.”
The Carmel AFV project contracted three Israeli companies — Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Elbit Systems — to come up with ideas to integrate as many “automatic and autonomous systems as possible” to reduce tank personnel from four to two.
All three contractors succeeded in the task in different ways.
The AFVs have autonomous driving options, artificial intelligence and sensors and cameras to assist with target identification.
IAI’s tank includes an autonomous drone platform and large panoramic display, operated by an Xbox controller.
The ministry also said it was developing “hybrid propulsion, cyber defense, active camouflage, multi-task radar, a system to identify troops and more” as part of the program.
“The results of the Carmel program will serve as the technological and engineering infrastructure of both the manned and autonomous defense and combat tools of the future,” the statement said.