Israel unveils upgraded Namer APC with 30mm unmanned turret

The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) has unveiled an upgraded version of Namer heavy Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) equipped with a 30mm unmanned turret.

The prototype was developed by Merkava Tank Program Administration together with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces and will begin a series of trials in the coming days, Israeli MoD said in a statement released on 31 July.

The turret will also be installed on the IDF’s new wheeled APC, the Eitan which is currently undergoing tests.

“The APC equipped with the gun turret provides a better response to urban combat,” said Brigadier General Baruch Matzliah, Head of the Tank Program Administration. “The 30mm turret is designed to provide significant firepower to infantry units, to allow fighters to be more independent on the battlefield, and to reduce dependence on assistance from other units.

“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 cannon was added to improve the Namer’s urban warfare capabilities, something that the IDF attached top priority to after 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. Another APC, the ‘Eitan’, was introduced in July 2016, and is considered more maneuverable in urban warfare settings due to its having tires, as opposed to the more common tank treads.

Used by the Golani Brigade, the Namer is the IDF’s most fortified APC, significantly more protected then the ‘Achzarit’ used by the Paratroopers and Givati Brigades, and light years ahead of the Vietnam war-era M113. The Namer uses the same armor as the Merkava Tank, and is outfitted with the same Trophy anti-tank missile protection system.

About Namer APC:

Namer (Hebrew: נמ”ר‎‎, pronounced [nameʁ]), means “leopard” and also a syllabic abbreviation of “Nagmash” (APC) and “Merkava” is an Israeli armored personnel carrier based on a Merkava tank chassis.

Namer was developed by and is being assembled by the Israeli Ordnance Corps. It has entered service in limited numbers with the Israel Defense Forces since the end of 2008. However, as of 2014, still only very limited numbers of Namers were in service with the IDF.

Due to budgetary constraints, the introduction of the Namer into the IDF has been slow, leaving the ground forces dependent on the M113 for many years to come.

They are more heavily armored than the Merkava IV tanks. According to the IDF, the Namer is the most heavily armored vehicle in the world of any type.

About Eitan AFV:

Eitan (Hebrew for “steadfast”) is an armoured fighting vehicle developed by the IAI, IMI and Rafael to replace the ageing M113 armored personnel carrier in use by the Israel Defense Forces.

It is to be an 8-wheeled vehicle much lighter than the Namer, weighing less than 35 tons, and will be fitted with the Trophy active protection system.

The AFV has a top speed of 90 km/h and can carry 12 men including 3 crew. The Eitan can be equipped with a 30–40 mm gun and a missile firing position.

According to Brigadier General Baruch Matzhliah, the vehicle will complement, not replace, the Namer tracked APC; as a wheeled vehicle, it will cost half as much as the Namer and, unlike tracked vehicles, can transport infantry squads on roads without relying on tank transporters.

The Eitan has run flat tires and is designed with a protected, relatively high floor to protect from mine and IED blast effects. The first Eitan AFV was unveiled on August 1, 2016.

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