TEL AVIV, ($1=3.23 Israeli Shekels) – As reported by the Israeli concern Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI], the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel awarded him a contract to be the main contractor for the Carmel new generation combat vehicle program, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. IAI will be responsible for the further development of this structure and the development and integration of technologies to be implemented on this innovative platform.
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Carmel [Hebrew for Advanced Ground Combat Vehicle] is a program for the acquisition of next-generation combat vehicles by the Israeli ground forces. The project is run by the Israel Ministry of Defense Weapons Development and Technology Infrastructure [MAFAT] and the Merkava Tank Administration. The vehicle itself is to be a modern andadvanced land platform with a strong emphasis on automation and autonomy.
Interestingly, the crew is to consist of only two soldiers, namely a driver-mechanic and a commander-armament operator, who can, however, duplicate their functions. This, in turn, is to be closed in a special capsule in the hull, and the tower systems are to be fully unmanned. A lot of emphases is to be placed on providing extended situational awareness, as well as the use of artificial intelligence to provide maximum support to the crew in the tasks performed. This is to enable the comprehensive fulfillment of the requirements of the future network-centric battlefield.
For the first time, the conceptual vision of the Carmel program was presented to the public in May 2017, although the program itself was to start in 2016. Initially, it was planned to develop a new structure by joint forces of selected Israeli armaments companies, but in the end, it was decided to conduct a competitive process between them. Ultimately, contracts for the design and production of technology demonstrators in this program were awarded to three local companies: Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, and Rafael. The technology demonstrators developed as part of the research and development work have undergone comprehensive monthly field tests. After their completion on August 4, 2019, all three technology demonstrators were officially presented to the public.
The three Carmel demonstrators presented at that time were based on the temporary chassis of the Bardehlas tracked armored personnel carrier [the American M113] commonly used in the Israeli army. Therefore, the next stage of the program was the development of the target chassis design by its participants, which, according to the assumptions of its concept, should be equipped with a hybrid drive. A separate issue remains the choice of the target unmanned turret system and its main armament. The Israeli armaments industry can boast of a wide range of structures of this type in this respect.
The choice of the IAI’s offer by the operator in the form of the Israeli army and the Ministry of National Defense means that the company will be the main beneficiary of the Carmel program. Undoubtedly, its introduction to the line service will mark a transition to a new era and will allow for a huge technological leap in the Israeli army. The new design will allow it to enter a modern, network-centric battlefield and gain an even greater advantage over any potential opponent. Its schedule and detailed plans for acquiring these vehicles are not known. Currently, it is only known that the basic variant of this vehicle will be an infantry fighting vehicle, but due to the modular nature of this platform, it can also be rebuilt into numerous specialized versions according to the user’s requirements.
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