The Defense Ministry has revealed some of the technology being developed by Israeli defense companies and the ministry’s research and development division, which includes a stealth tank and weaponized drones.
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The Israeli army is currently reviewing the technology from the division, known by its Hebrew acronym of Mafat.
Some of the projects involve future technology that is still being developed. Others, such as a weaponized drone, are already close to the operational trial stage with Israel Defense Force units.
As previously reported by Haaretz, two trials are currently underway among ground forces. One involves an unmanned armed drone, while another features an unmanned drone designed to help ground combat forces move equipment.
The Defense Ministry released video footage showing the aircraft being tested – including the hovering drone, whose weaponry is designed primarily as sniper fire.
There are two new drone projects: the first is a kind of drone helicopter, made by Israel Aerospace Industries, that would be capable of carrying up to 180 kilograms (396 pounds) of cargo; the second is a drone produced by Aeronautics Defense Systems with a hybrid engine, capable of carrying up to 90 kilograms. (Aeronautics Defense Systems was recently prevented from exporting its drones to Azerbaijan following the use of live fire on targets.)
Mafat is due to decide shortly on which unmanned aircraft it will use to carry cargo.
The ministry is also presenting its future plans for a tank that is to be equipped with technology – currently under development – that would make it a tank version of the F-35 stealth bomber, which is invisible on radar.
Future plans call for the tank to have just two crew members and be “transparent,” which would allow the crew to see the area around the tank without getting outside of it.
Plans also call for the tank to be outfitted with an active protection system similar to the current Windbreaker (also known as Trophy), but it will also provide protection to other vehicles in the area from anti-tank fire.
“The intention is that it will provide area protection for the convoy, and they have already begun a trial on the subject,” said Mafat head Brig. Gen. (res.) Danny Gold.
Defense officials stressed that substantial technological progress has been made recently in Iran, whose weaponry has been provided to Hezbollah and Hamas. Gold noted that there has been a seepage of advanced weaponry to the Middle East and a dramatic improvement in Iran’s development capabilities, particularly in missiles, making it possible to launch missiles with much greater precision than previously.
In the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah has already demonstrated significant technological developments in its use of attack and kamikaze drones, and also on working to produce missiles on the ground in Lebanon.
“Israel still has a technological advantage over Iran,” said Gold, before adding that “we know they are advancing technologically.”