Elta Systems to produce ZMAG vehicles for IDF and foreign forces

Israeli manufacturer Elta Systems (Israel Aerospace Industries) proposes the ZMAG, a light tactical vehicle obviously designed for special operations use. It can be motorized with either a gasoline or diesel engine. Boaz Levy, IAI’s CEO, said: “The battlefield of the future demands more smart vehicles equipped with radar and location capabilities that Elta can provide.”
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Elta Systems ZMAG (Picture source: IAI)

The ZMAG was designed by Ido Cohen, a veteran Israeli all-terrain vehicle racer and manufacturer, Udi Etsion/CTech reports on The Algemeiner. It is based on Cohen’s Zibar vehicles, which have been sold to roughly 100 clients around the world. In 2020, IAI purchased the rights to the ZMAG design as well as to other military versions of the Zibar, which will be manufactured in the defense contractor’s plant in southern Israel. According to the agreement, the IDF will procure nine test vehicles with various operational designs, with an option to purchase 21 operational vehicles, a number that is expected to rise, Udi Etsion comments,. The vehicles will be operated by special operations units. The contract is set to initiate procurement and includes a commitment to aid IAI in selling the vehicles to foreign customers too.

In early May 2020, it was already announced that the all-terrain vehicles would be upgraded for military and homeland defense applications with a range of intelligence, radar, and communication systems manufactured by IAI’s Elta Systems, including the Drone Guard system for drone detection and foiling, air defense, and intelligence collection systems.

Meanwhile, a smaller version of the ZMAG is participating in an IDF tender for special-unit ATVs, competing against the Mercedes G-class and the Toyota Landcruiser 70 series, one of which will be replacing the military’s aging fleet of Land Rover Defender-based patrol vehicle.

IAI is already preparing armored versions of the ZMAG and plans for the Beersheva plant to reach a manufacturing capacity of several hundred vehicles a year. However, due to restrictions in the use of U.S military aid funding, Elta may manufacture the vehicles intended for use by the IDF and the U.S. military in a plant located in the U.S.

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Zibar, the basis of the ZMAG (Picture source: Zibar USA)