Israel unveils prototype ‘tanks of the future’

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Israel unveiled options on Sunday for its “combat vehicle of the future” – a tank with large touchscreens, 360-degree vision and, in one prototype, a video game-style controller.

The ministry of defense wants to procure an armored vehicle that can be operated by two soldiers instead of four with the hatch closed, something officials involved in the project say would be a unique achievement.

The ministry tasked three Israeli companies – state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, along with Elbit Systems – with drumming up ideas.

The so-called Carmel project, launched three years ago, aims to develop not the vehicle itself, but its brains and sensors, which can be installed into existing tanks.

All three firms succeeded in reducing the number of soldiers to two.

The vehicles also have options for autonomous driving and target identification with the help of sensors and cameras, along with artificial intelligence and other features.

“This is a revolutionary concept based on cutting-edge technology,” Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem, head of military research and development with Israel’s defense ministry, told journalists.

“Many countries and many armies are looking for future armored vehicles.”

Israel demonstrated options for the project to US army representatives on Sunday and plans to do the same for other countries.

The three companies presented tank models fitted out with their technologies at an army base in northern Israel.

Inside, soldiers look at a combination of large screens and use various methods of controlling the vehicle and its weaponry.

One of the options used a video game-style controller.