In mid-1996, the Ordnance Systems Division of the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority revealed that it had developed and placed in production a new Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) system for the M113 series of Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) used by the Israeli Army. This was first observed fitted to M113s deployed in Northern Israel.
This ERA is fitted to the front and sides of the vehicle and according to the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority, provides complete protection against handheld anti-tank weapons such as the Russian Federation and Associated States (CIS) RPG-7 as well as small arms ammunition up to 14.5 mm in calibre.
Its main advantages have been summarised by the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority as:
(1) High protection level
(2) Unique design ensures the survivability of thin walled light armoured vehicles
(3) It meets the most stringent safety standards and uses a new generation of very insensitive explosive
(4) Ease of maintenance with easy access to the engine compartment.
The ERA package on the glacis plate and nose of the M113 consists of very thin boxes, while that on its side is of a different design with two arrowhead layers one above the other. This may have been installed to provide a higher level of protection against light antitank weapons fired from above or below the vehicle.
In addition to the new ERA package the upgraded M113 has a number of additional new features including an extension to the top-mounted exhaust pipe on the right side of the hull. The exhaust pipe has now been extended downwards so that the hot exhaust gases are expelled just above the road wheels rather than in line with the troop compartment roof.
Mounted either side of the hull front is a pod of electrically operated Israel Military Industries CL-3030 instantaneous self-screening system for combat vehicles which is fully covered in the smoke dischargers, grenades and decoys section. These are standard equipment on virtually every tank and infantry fighting vehicle used by the Israeli Army.
The commander of the upgraded M113 has vertical steel armour protection either side with thick bullet proof windows. Either side of the troop compartment at the rear are hatches which are provided with similar thick bulletproof windows. These can be quickly hinged into the vertical position. Pintle mounts are also provided for 7.62 mm machine guns on the troop compartment roof.
ERA for US Army M113
The RAFAEL Armament Development Authority has recently supplied a quantity of ERA boxes for trials in the United States installed on an M113 series vehicle of the United States Army. SNPE of France has also supplied quantites of its design of ERA box for these comparative live firing trials.
ERA for US Army Bradley
Following a competition, Lockheed Martin Ordnance Systems with the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority as the main subcontractor, won the United States Army competition to supply an ERA system for installation on the M2 series infantry fighting vehicle. Details of this are later in this section under the USA.
Production. In service with Israel. Offered for export.