Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Israel Defense Forces unveiled plans this week for armored combat vehicles, with features normally seen in fighter planes.
The "Carmel" program's first demonstration of prototypes on Sunday featured vehicles upgraded with artificial intelligence, and autonomous and automatic capabilities. Three Israeli defense companies -- Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael -- presented their final phase of development after a monthlong trial. These advanced platforms will be integrated into the IDF's current and future armored vehicles, the Israeli Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The companies each developed a two-person combat vehicle, based on the U.S.-developed M113 armored personnel carrier, with interiors resembling a fighter jet's cockpit. The advanced cockpit integrates autonomous capabilities, including maneuvering, detecting targets and defense. The soldiers within have multi-sensory fusion and 360-degree surround vision, high radio connectivity, and situational awareness. The soldiers are only required to reach decisions that the mechanism cannot make by itself.
Elibit's system includes helmets with technology initially developed for pilots of F-35 fighter planes. Rafael's includes augmented reality for real-time battlefield information and data. IAI's joystick controls are similar to those on a gaming console.
Israel regards the Carmel program as a breakthrough in development of advanced combat vehicles.
"In the future, we may see fleets of manned and unmanned ground vehicles equipped with the systems and sensors that we are now evaluating," said Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, research and development chief of the Ministry of Defense. He added that the three proposals have been adapted to several models of Israeli tanks and are currently undergoing field tests.