The IDF's Technological and Logistics Directorate (known as Atal in Israel) is expected to wrap up a special project soon – refurbishing 150,000 M-16 rifles. The military is also in the process of accepting delivery on 2,000 Humvee military jeeps purchased from the United States.
According to Atal's plan, some 1,600 of the US-made SUVs – deemed as surplus by the US after the end of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – will be refurbished and the rest disassembled for parts.
"(The vehicles) will replace outdated reconnaissance vehicles like the M462 Abir and the old American Jeep (M151)," Lieut. Col. Amir Shantel, the commander of the factory, told Ynet.
"We'll change the headlights, give them a fresh coat of paint, we will fix them up and add designated equipment: Humvees armed with Spike anti-tank missiles, Humvees for detecting and indentifying unconventional explosives, and others."
By the end of the year, the Atal factory is expected to complete the assault-rifle refurbishing project, which began back in 2001. The idea behind the 13-year-long project was to provide combat soldiers a lighter, shorter, and more convenient rifle without purchasing the newer, shorter version valued at 4,000 shekels.
Atal's refurbishment project only cost half that amount; at maximum productivity the factory completed 22,000 rifles an hour – with each M-16 requiring three hours of work.
The iconic American rifle was first drafted into the IDF in the early 1970s, when the US had large surpluses after the Vietnam War. The M-16 eventually replaced the Israeli-made Galil, which was considered cumbersome and unreliable.
Homefront Command units and many other combat units are still equipped with a variety of M-16 versions. In the future, the infamous American rifle will be replaced with the Israeli Tavor, which has already seen action with Givati, Golani, and Nahal Brigades.