Meet the IDF's future combat vehicle, the Combat Guard, which was developed by the Israel Military Industries, has now successfully passed final testing and is ready to be presented for the first time in a Paris arms show in some two weeks.
The car, dubbed the 'bodyguard' in Hebrew, is one of the deadliest, fastest and most protected armored military transporters developed in Israel.
|Video: Military Industries|
The combat vehicle is capable of carrying up to six fully geared soldiers, a future version is purported to be able to carry eight and will serve the IDF in its day to day patrol operations, securing border region and flashpoint communities and settlements, and maneuvering in ground combat.
The vehicle's central advantage is its built-in active laser based protection system which functions like the Trophy (Windbreaker) APS system installed on the Mark 4 Merkava tanks, and can identify anti-tank missiles from relatively long distances and intercept them before they hit the vehicle.
According to the Israel Military Industries, the Combat Guard is much faster than other armored personal carries currently being used by the IDF, like the AIL Storm or armored Hummer. The vehicle boosts a 300hp Chevrolet-made diesel engine, capable of driving as fast as 150 kph (92 mph) on roads and 120 kph (75 mph) on terrain.
The car's armor is also bullet proof against light firearms, as well as offering very good defense in the face of side blasts and mines. In addition, the vehicle is modular, and the soldiers can rotate between the different arms the vehicle can carry and fire without leaving the safety of its confines.
Soldiers can switch between a mortar launcher and machinegun , as well as opting for more advanced radar and communication equipment – thus effectively turning the car into a mobile command center as well as fighting machine.
"The vehicle is intended for combat in difficult terrain conditions, like mud, sand, dirt and rocks," its producers explained.
A senior source within the industry spoke with Ynet, and said that the new vehicle was developed after years of research and testing in places Mount Hermon.
"Its price is not expected to be high, because most of the internal parts are US made, and can be bought with US military aid. We hope to see it integrated into IDF training mission in the upcoming months," he said.
At the end of May, the US House of Representatives, controlled by a pro-Israel Republican majority, adopted the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 that includes the approval of $600 million military aid package for Israel for missile defense.
The bill authorizes $350.9 million for the Iron Dome rocket defense system, that protects from short and medium-range missiles and rockets, and $268.7 million for David's Sling - providing protection from long-range missiles - and Arrow 3 - that could intercept ballistic missiles before they enter the atmosphere. Both David's Sling and Arrow 3 are missile defense programs developed in cooperation with the United States.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. According to a Congressional Research Service report, Israel has received to date $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance from the United States.