Military Knowledge: D9 Armoured Bulldozer
The Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer (nicknamed Doobi) is a combat engineering armored bulldozer that has been heavily modified by the Israeli military and aerospace industries to increase the survivability of the bulldozer in hostile environments and enable it to withstand heavy attacks, thus making it suitable for military combat engineering use.
The D9 bulldozer has been produced by the Caterpillar company in America since 1954. This bulldozer uses one blade in the front and several splitting blades in the back. Caterpillar does not produce any armored version of this bulldozer. The D9 bulldozer was first used by the United States to clear forests during the Vietnam War. This bulldozer in the commercial version is continuously upgraded and different versions of it have been presented till date.
The D-9 bulldozer received many upgrades in the IDF and participated in the Sinai War (1956), the Six Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973) and Operation Peace for Galilee (1982). In 1980, according to previous war experiences, armor was installed on the D9L bulldozer, and in 1990, an improved version of the armor was installed on the D9N, in the service of the apartheid regime of Israel.
Since 2000, a new version of the D9R was purchased from the American company and entered service after being equipped with a reinforced armor. In 2005, another new armor was introduced and installed for the D9R, which was upgraded according to new threats. Most of these experiences were obtained as a result of the terrorist attacks of the Israeli apartheid regime on the residential areas of the Palestinian people.
The main modification carried out by the Israeli regime on this bulldozer includes the installation of an armor package in its various parts such as mechanical systems and the crew cabin, bulletproof glass for the cabin and adding shelf armor especially to the cabin to create maximum protection.
The CAT D9 bulldozer was heavily modified by the Israeli military and aerospace industries to withstand heavy attacks.
In commercial mode, the D9 uses a 360-degree camera, which is available as an option. This camera is also equipped with a display inside the cabin. There is also an optional electric ladder that facilitates the movement of the bulldozer crew.
The D9R bulldozer, the latest variant of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers in the service of the Israeli army, uses an 18-liter turbocharged 3408C diesel engine with a power of 474 horsepower and a drawbar pull of 71.6 metric tons (about 702 kilonewtons), and has three front gears and three reverse gear.
The cabin and armored sections have the ability to protect the crew against bombs, standard and medium bullets. Also, new additional armor provides the possibility of resistance against rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). It is also possible to install a gun on the roof or a grenade launcher on it.
This military version has two crew members including the driver and commander. A hatch is installed in the roof for the commander, which allows the use of a 7.62 mm machine gun.
Armored equipment added to the bulldozer adds approximately 15 tons to its weight, bringing the weight to 65 tons. Due to the D9’s durable construction and added armor, this bulldozer is able to withstand landmines, IEDs, and roadside bombs. This armored bulldozer can tow armored vehicles weighing up to 70 tons.
The Doobi armored bulldozer is used for a wide range of combat engineering tasks such as digging trenches, building fortifications, creating roads, rescuing overturned or damaged armored vehicles, clearing minefields, detonating various types of explosive traps, clearing ground obstacles for ground forces.
Israeli regime also operates armored remote-controlled D9N bulldozers, called “Raam HaShachar”. The remote-controlled bulldozer is used when there is a great risk for human life, mainly when opening dangerous routes and detonating explosive charges.
Armored D9R and D9N bulldozers played important role in the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009). Both bulldozer types were involved in opening routes, clearing explosives and IEDs, building sand mounds to protect AFVs and infantry camps, and demolishing structures such as rigged buildings, HQs, warehouses, outposts, bunkers and tunnels.
In 2014, the Doobi bulldozer was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most armored bulldozer.
In 2018, a version of the D9 armored bulldozer named “Panda” from the Caterpillar D9T series was introduced, which is the remote control version of this bulldozer. Also in 2019, Elbit Systems won the IMOD contract to install the Iron Fist active protection system on the Israeli army’s D9 armored bulldozers to protect them from anti-tank missiles. There is no information about the fate of installing the Iron Fist defense system on this bulldozer.
Specifications of D9 armored bulldozer (Doobi):
Type: Armored bulldozer
Manufacturer: Caterpillar and Israel Defense Industries
Year of manufacture: since 1954
Entry into service: since 1955
Crew: two (commander and driver)
Length: 8.7 meters
Width: 4.5 meters
Height: 4.1 meters
Engine: Caterpillar 3408C diesel with 474 horsepower
Fuel capacity: 960 liters
Speed: 15 km/h
Weight: 65 tons (fully armor)
Weapons: 7.62 mm machine gun and grenade launcher
D9 armored bulldozer posters in Russian, Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew languages: