IDF to phase out APCs after deadly war incident

The IDF will replace outdated Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) with a newer M-113, a security source said Monday, replacing APC with tracks for a wheel-based vehicle designed to help save lives.

The decision follows the deaths of seven soldiers from the IDF’s Golani Brigade in July 2014 during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza who were killed after an explosive device detonated under an APC, entombing everyone inside.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkott and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon decided to restructure the IDF’s armory in the aftermath, the source told Walla! News, and replace outdated equipment with more durable, lighter-weight tanks and vehicles which will be wheel-based and do not need to be transported to battle sites. The two will formally announce the decision mid-2016, after the US declares its annual military aid contribution.

While seemingly a small change, the upgrade could affect the outcome of the next war.

“The next battle will involve hundreds of missiles and rockets per day striking nationwide, and cause the destruction of infrastructure,” the source said. “This being the case, it is difficult to move divisions from area to area.”

“Therefore, the chief of staff wants to create a balanced mix of equipment, which will include lighter vehicles with wheels,” the source explained. “They will then not be dependent on transporters which can be stuck on the roads because of breakdowns, traffic jams, or damage to infrastructure as a result of falling rockets.”

Two types of vehicles are under consideration: a four-wheeled vehicle made in the US which can be purchased through US military aid, and an 8×8 version of the Merkava tank line developed by the Defense Ministry.

“The decision to stay with tracks or move to wheels is dramatic and will soon be decided in accordance with the multi-year plan of the IDF,” a defense official explained. “In today’s reality, there’s no choice but to switch to lighter vehicles that have self-motion, high speed and relatively cheap price.”