Israel Unveils Robot Tank

The Medium Robotic Combat Vehicle (M-RCV). Screenshot from video courtesy of Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.

It looks like something out of a science-fiction movie—only this time, the robot tank is fighting for the good guys. Israel on Sunday unveiled a Medium Robotic Combat Vehicle (M-RCV), an unmanned tank armed with a 30-mm turret, self-defense systems, a reconnaissance drone and more. The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MOD) said in a press release that in 2023 they expect to start field testing the vehicle—which looks like a bulky six-wheeled tank from the future, but based on a video from the MOD appears to maneuver more like an all-terrain sports car.

The unmanned combat vehicle does more than just drive itself—it has an autonomous turret and a miniature helicopter drone that can be released to conduct reconnaissance. It also incorporates Elbit’s “Iron Fist” Active Protection System, the self-defense system capable of shooting down anti-tank missiles and more. The M-RCV is also armed with a missile launcher capable of firing precision-guided anti-tank and anti-personnel “Spike” missiles produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

The M-RCV brings it’s own recon helicopter drone to the fight. Screenshot from video credited to Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.

The vehicle is a joint creation of the Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), the Tank and APC Directorate, and Israeli security industries, including Elbit systems, whose pavilion displayed the robo-tank at the Eurosatory Defense and Security Exhibition.

The Israeli MOD press release said the M-RCV capabilities include “controlled lethality in all-terrain conditions,” as well as “advanced maneuvering capabilities, the ability to carry heavy and varied mission loads, and a built-in system for transporting and receiving UAVs.”

Said the MOD, “It is operational during the day and night in all-weather scenarios, while emphasizing operational effectiveness, simplicity, minimum operator intervention, and integration into heterogeneous unmanned arrays.”

The M-RCV in action. Video courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.

Israel—whose cutting-edge missile defense technology revolutionized the Jewish nation’s fight against terrorist rockets—is once again developing a tool of defense that is at the point where technology meets imagination. The M-RCV robot tank may look scary; and for the terrorists out there, it should.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 13, 2022)

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