Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT), Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) today unveiled the technologies that they had developed for future armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) for the IDF. The vehicle, called Carmel, will be operated by just two soldiers. The vehicle has advanced and lethal artificial intelligence and stealth autonomous capabilities, with the ability to maneuver quickly and safely on the battlefield.
The Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure in the Ministry of Defense is due to select a bid by one of the three defense companies, which reached the finals for developing the vehicle. in the coming months.
The company that is selected will receive an order from the IDF, and will later also export the systems develop to overseas armies. Defense industry sources said that the sales potential of the companies involved in the Carmel program was in the billions of dollars, spread over years.
The technologies were demonstrated on old M-113 AFVs lent to the defense industries by the IDF. In recent weeks, each company demonstrated its capabilities in the sector at a training facility in northern Israel. The Ministry of Defense today said that it might choose to combine a number of technologies from multiple companies in the AFV.
All of the technologies revealed today address the combat challenges on the future battlefield, especially urban warfare against an unknown enemy; the need for rapid maneuvering, while absorbing information from various sources; and tracking and identifying threats and neutralizing them with rapid, accurate, and deadly firepower. "This is the beginning of a breakthrough technology that is already in reach," said IDF Armored Corps chief officer Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, referring to the demonstrations by the defense companies.
The system displayed by Elbit Systems is operated using an advanced helmet tailored to the soldiers operating the AFV that was developed for F-35 pilots. The helmet enables soldiers to hit targets and navigate the AFV according to the direction they are looking at.
Elbit Systems' technology includes autonomous driving capabilities using an algorithm that examines the terrain, with early detection and neutralization of threats, such as roadside bombs. Elbit Systems' future AFV also contains a drone that takes off from it according to the operational needs of the team operating the AFV, photographs the area of activity, and streams the information in real time into the AFV where it is screened on advanced touch screens. The system also contains a robot rescuer that carries out missions classified as high risk.
Rafael displayed a concept of a "transparent cockpit" that provides the AFV team with 360-degree peripheral vision of external events. Data relevant to the outline of the AFV team's activity is screened on giant touch screens installed inside the AFV, with no helmet or special vision equipment. A range of unique sensors with electro-optic capabilities relay to the AFV team a picture of the situation outside the vehicle. The system also contains launchers for Spike anti-tank missiles, a smart trigger, a Trophy-type active defense system that protects the vehicle against anti-tank missiles, etc.
IAI unveiled a technological demonstrator based on its family of unmanned robot vehicles. It contains a joystick similar to a compute game that can be used to operate the vehicle on the future battlefield. Th autonomous systems displayed by IAI are controlled by a centralized automated fighting system that filters out information irrelevant to the battlefield mission and makes it possible to focus on critical threats and making urgent decisions.
"All of the solutions displayed by the defense companies were tested in recent weeks under a series of difficult operational scenarios by a special Ministry of Defense test team," Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure head of research Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem said. He added that the technological demonstrators of Rafael, IAI, and Elbit Systems revealed today did not include additional capabilities whose developed was led by the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, including hybrid propulsion for the AFVs, revolutionary active camouflage capability, cyber defense, multi-tasking radar, a system for identifying friendly forces, advanced armor solutions, etc.
Some of the technological solutions that are ready for operations are already being integrated in the IDF's fleet of armored vehicles, including Merkava tanks and the Namer and Eitan AFVs. According to Rotem, the helmet offered by Elbit systems for the Carmel AFV program will be installed on the new versions of the Merkava Mark 4 tank.
The defense industries are looking at markets around the world, and have marked the ground forces sector as a growing field that will feature many deals for upgrading tanks and AFVs after they become outmoded over the years and must be adapted to the latest battlefield needs. For the defense industries, being included in Carmel program led by the Ministry of Defense is an entry ticket to the global market for upgrading AFVs and tanks, a market expected to expand in the coming years, with an accompanying rise in demand.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 4, 2019
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