Brigadier General (Res.) Amir Nir recalls, “Dozens of 4x4 and 8x8 vehicles were presented at the 2005 Eurosatory Air Show in Paris, but not a single tank was present. The world was heading in the direction of light vehicles at the time, including the IDF.” In 2005, Nir headed the Merkava Tank Planning Directorate, run by the IDF and the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
“When I saw the trend, I was certain that tanks and APCs would not find their way out of service so quickly due to the simple reason that the technologies that were intended to serve light vehicles did not exist. In order to have effective shielding against a kinetic threat, a hollow charge, or roadside explosive charges, you need to invest considerable funds.
“It’s no coincidence that the IDF’s Kela multi-year plan, which was supposed to reduce the number of tanks, was cancelled. The Future Combat System project also fell apart in the US, and other projects that were headed in the same direction were either cancelled or postponed. The US Army updated its plans long ago, and it seems that for the moment, the use of tanks and heavy platforms will continue, at least until 2050. As such, this whole concept of tanks being old-fashioned is irrelevant.”
Kinetics specializes in the development of air filtration NBC protection systems for the IDF’s armored vehicles. It also provides different solutions such as Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning systems, personal air conditioners attached to the suits of armored IDF fighters, and auxiliary power units (APU) for AFVs. Kinetics also provides various filtration and air-conditioning systems to the US Army.
The company sold more than 15,000 systems for the MRAP vehicles used in Iraq. Although it developed APU models that were supposed to be installed on Abrams tanks, this decision was recently reexamined. “We’re using our qualitative capabilities in the field of life-support systems and putting them to use in simpler applications for ground instruments in the tactical field and for combat-supporting logistic vehicles,” Nir says.
How has the departure of US forces from Iraq affected Kinetics?
“We aren’t fond of this development, but that’s the reality, and as a result, we've approached other markets. We haven't given up on the US market, it remains a very important market for us, but we’re active in other areas today and are going to places where we never set foot before.