Elyakim military base (Israel) – Israel unveiled on Sunday the details of its “fighting vehicle of the future”, a tank requiring half as many soldiers at the controls, with a 360-degree vision and which could be in part guided by a video game console.
The Ministry of Defense presented the main features of this project developed by three companies, stating that some of the proposed options could be abandoned in the coming months or years to create a single-vehicle.
The main objective of the Israeli project is to be able to count on an armor that can be led by two soldiers against four currently, an advance deemed unique by the military officials of the country.
The military has asked three companies – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Defense Systems, as well as the private company Elbit Systems – to submit proposals to reduce the number of soldiers in command, and improve the control system and the sensors.
The three companies managed to reduce to two the number of soldiers required to operate the tank, by providing the armored vehicle with options for autonomous driving and by integrating a system of target identification based on sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence.
“This is a revolutionary concept based on cutting-edge technology,” said General Yaniv Rotem, head of research at the Ministry of Defense, during a presentation to reporters at the Elyakim military base, in northern Israel.
“Several countries and several armies are looking for the armored of the future,” he added, as authorities have already presented to US officials on Sunday new options for their tank and are preparing to make presentations to ‘other countries.
On Sunday, the three companies presented their prototypes with soldiers operating different methods to control the vehicles. One of the prototypes allowed soldiers to access functions via an Xbox video game console.
Like armed drones, the tanks could one day be completely autonomous, without soldiers in the vehicle, but it is still too early to concretely consider this option, also underlined Mr. Rotem.
Israel, which has waged several wars since its independence in 1948 and remains on the alert at its northern and southern borders, is currently the world’s 8th arms exporter, according to a recent study by the International Research Institute of peace of Stockholm.