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Building a Safer Future: Israeli Army Technology

Israel is known for being an innovative country, especially when it comes to military and security technologies. Let's review some of Israel's greatest technologies from over the years.

Female IDF combat soldier leaning next to a patrol car in the desert
Credit: Sara Krown

Iron Dome


One of Israel’s most celebrated technologies, the Iron Dome or Kippat Barzel, was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries, two of Israel’s foremost military technology contributors. The Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances from four kilometers to 70 kilometers away. Since its initial deployment in 2011, its prime function is to deter incoming rockets from landing in populated areas along the border of the Gaza strip, keeping civilians and soldiers safe.

Tavor and Micro-Tavor


The IWI Tavor is Israel’s Tavor was first introduced in 2001 as Israel’s first bullpup assault rifle. Its compact design has the accuracy of the conventional long-barreled rifle but is small enough for soldiers crowded into their armored vehicles. A few years later, the IWI Tavor X95, more commonly known as the Micro-Tavor, was designed and developed by the Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) between 2003 and 2009 as a gun that would gradually replace the American-made M16 assault rifle and M4 carbine variants for Israeli infantry. The Tavor and its variants are used by special forces around the world, including South American forces, Central American forces, and special forces in African and Asian countries. Even Georgia has replaced some of its Kalashnikovs with Tavors!


Merkava Battle Tank


The development of the Merkava tank was mainly initiated by the Arab boycott on Israel in the 1960s and 1970s when there were only five countries worldwide that manufactured tanks, and due to Arab pressure, none of them were willing to sell to Israel. As a result, The Tank Program Administration was established to create a team that could develop an Israeli tank that would compete economically and technologically with tanks from around the world. The Merkava translating to “chariot” is a battle tank developed by MANTAK in 1979, which was used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon war and drew heavily on lessons learned from the 1973 Yom Kippur war for its design. In fact, they did such a good job that the model is still used today!

Nesher


Israel’s IAI Nesher is a domestically manufactured multi-role fighter jet. It gets its name from the Hebrew word for “vulture” and is an Israeli version of the French Dassault Mirage 5. It was commissioned as a joint project between France and Israel after the Israeli army sustained significant aircraft losses during the Six-Day War of 1967, but due to Arab pressure, France backed out of the deal forcing Israel to manufacture the airplane frames domestically instead.

David's Sling


Also known as “The Magic Wand,” the IDF Defense system David’s Sling was designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, ballistic missiles, medium-to-long-range rockets, and cruise missiles. Like the Iron Dome, David’s Sling was also manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in collaboration with Raytheon in 2009 and is often used in conjunction with the Iron Dome as a defense system for intercepting missiles.

Uzi


The first Uzi submachine gun was developed by Major Uzi Gal in the late 1940s, but the prototype wasn’t finished until the 1950s and was first introduced to the IDF special forces in 1954. This iconic submachine gun was originally designed as a cheap, simple weapon for Israeli troops, but the gun was later adopted by police and military forces in over 90 countries around the world.