The Ministry of Defense has unveiled and begun a series of tests on an upgraded version of its Namer heavy armored personnel carrier (APC) making it better suited for urban combat by fitting it for the first time with a 30mm turret.
“An APC equipped with a turret and cannon gives it an advantage during urban warfare,” stated Brigadier General Baruch Matzliach, head of the Tank Program Administration. “The shortened cannon makes it more maneuverable, and [gives it] the ability to provide firepower to infantry soldiers. It also lets infantry soldiers be more independent on the battlefield, with less dependence on other units to provide firepower.”
The Namer is currently the IDF’s most fortified APC, outfitted with the Trophy anti-tank missile active protection system also installed on the Merkava Tank. The IDF has invested significant funds into upgrading its capabilities in the three years since the Gaza War of 2014, especially in the field of urban combat.
“The turret is unmanned and does not penetrate the combat cell so that the ability to carry the soldiers is not harmed. Its operation is expected to be simple and will be performed by the APC’s crew. The turret will also incorporate an active defense system and additional systems that will greatly contribute to its capabilities.”
The turret will also be installed on the IDF’s new wheeled APC, the Eitan, which is considered more maneuverable than other APCs and is set to enter operational use for infantry battalions in the coming year.
The Eitan can carry 12 soldiers—including the commander, gunner and driver— and has touch-screen systems offering a 360-degree view of the battlefield.
While less fortified than the Namer, it will be equipped with advanced defense systems such as the Trophy active protection system and hi-tech armor designed to protect against RPGs and anti-tank missiles. The Eitan will also come equipped with an FN MAG, .50 caliber heavy machine gun, a 30mm cannon with a range of 2,500 meters and a missile launcher that can be operated without crew members leaving the vehicle and exposing themselves to the enemy.
“We are taking the APC to a whole new level, turning the Namer (APC) into an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), which will allow crew to use it not only as an armored vehicle which wheels them from place to place,” Matzliach said at the Second International Ground Warfare and Logistics Conference at Latrun outside of Jerusalem in May.
The tests are being carried out by the Tank Program Administration of Israel’s Defense Ministry together with the IDF Ground Forces.