JERUSALEM, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military will soon begin equipping reserve forces with its most advanced assault rifle, Ma'ariv daily reported on Thursday.
Plans to train and equip reservists with the rifle Tavor TAR-21 were accelerated in the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense, the army's eight-day airstrike in the Gaza Strip last month to curb rocket attacks.
"It's a significant challenge," Major Roniel Turgeman, head of the Weapons Department in the Infantry and Paratroopers Command, said of the plan to equip all of the army's units with the new rifle.
"We have to take every reserve soldier and retrain him in using a new weapon," he told Ma'ariv.
Designed and manufactured by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), the Tavor is a bullpup rifle chambered for 5.56mm NATO ammunition and has a build in laser red dot sight. Its ergonomics and lightweight make it more suited to urban warfare than the M16.
Some Israeli infantry units have recently been issued with the more advanced Micro Tavor, which is slated to eventually replace the bigger version.
The army will begin training reserve soldiers in using the Tavor in 2013, while the process of equipping all of them with the weapon is expected to last several years, the report said.