Israel’s Defense Ministry Demonstrates New Autonomous Armored Vehicles
Dubbed Carmel, the new vehicles are intended to replace the Merkava tank, Israel’s main battle tank for the past three decades. The lightweight, self-driving vehicles come equipped with artillery capabilities
On Sunday, the Israeli Ministry of Defense demonstrated new lightweight next-generation armored vehicles with self-driving capabilities. Defense contractors Elbit Systems Ltd. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., as well as government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI), all developed their own version of the vehicle as part of a tender issued by the ministry.
Dubbed Carmel, the armored vehicle is intended to replace the Israeli Merkava tank, the Israeli army’s main battle tank for the past three decades. Described as light, small, and “easy to operate,” the vehicle is designed for a two-person team and is powered by a hybrid-electric motor.
Carmel is equipped with artillery capabilities, including a turret, missiles, and mortars. Soldiers will be able to mark a location on a touch screen, and the vehicle will advance independently as crew members fire at targets. Using cameras, radars, laser and acoustic sensors, and artificial intelligence technology, the vehicle is capable of operating the artillery systems autonomously as well.
Rafael's version of Carmel. Photo: Israeli Ministry of Defense
The Carmel vehicles are designed to allow fighting with a closed hatch, using advanced helmet-mounted panoramic displays.