Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR April 2017 Contents 28 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter APR 2017
and small companies. The engine is US-made and
some of the materials are also imported and financed
by US Foreign Military Funds (FMF).
The sources defend the decision to keep the
production lines of the Merkava in an IDF factory and
explain that in a country like Israel, the facility in times
of war becomes a center for spares and maintenance
for the Merkava operational force.
One Israeli expert said that the design of the
Merkava 4 puts "excessive importance" on the
special suspension. “This critical part must absorb
the punishment of harsh terrain like the Golan heights
with its boulders".
For years, the IDF looked for an efficient APC that will
suit the Middle East conditions. Some systems were
tested but failed to perform as expected. In recent
years, the IDF has begun using the +60 tons Namer
(Hebrew for Leopard) APC based on the Merkava
tank. The fact that this APC is actually the lower part
of the Merkava is the reason for its capabilities.
The commonality with the Merkava is intentional
and very useful to the soldiers in the field.
The Namer is also equipped with Rafael's Trophy
and is protected by the same "special armor" as the
Merkava Mk4. In addition it has a remotely operated
The crew and infantry compartment is designed
with great emphasis on protection, yet preserving the
features that make the ride in that armored vehicle
Most parts of the Namer are manufactured in the
US in order to use FMF funding, but final assembly is
in an IDF facility.
Many features of the Merkava Mk4 were implemented
in the Namer. An ergonomically designed driver's
compartment equipped with large vision hatches
and electro-optical driver's viewing devices enable
effective performance under all visibility conditions.
Internally, the seating arrangement enables
good protection from blast effects, utilizing a
highly protected belly and 'floating' seats not
rigged directly to the floor.
At least four remotely controlled video cameras are
used to provide the crew, driver and commander with
an unobstructed outside view. The Namer has a built-
in interface with the IDF's ‘Digital Advanced Soldier'
battle management system.
The vehicle is armed with Rafael's Mini-Samson
Remotely Controlled Weapon Station with multi-
sensor target acquisition. The system mounts a
12.7mm heavy machine gun, 7.62 mm machine gun
or M19 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
The IDF is considering developing future multi-
purpose support versions of the Namer armed with
the Samson weapon station, mounting much heavier
30mm automatic cannons as well as Spike anti armor
missiles made by Rafael.
The current design of the APC is already prepared
for such installations, offering protected storage for
weapons separated from the fighting compartment
and a strengthened roof able to carry the extra loads.
The vehicle accommodates 11 soldiers,
including the commander and driver. It also has
attachments for carrying stretchers. The Namer
uses a slightly redesigned door/ramp, enabling
more efficient offload of soldiers and equipment
and handling of stretchers.
There is currently no sign that the size of the IDF's
armored corps will decrease in the foreseeable
future. Instead more Mekava Mk4s and Namer APCs
with more advanced systems will be added to the
The IDF's need to have firepower based on an
advanced tank and to move infantry quickly and
safely resulted last year in the development of a
new indigenous armored platform. This time it is a
wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) dubbed
Eitan, which is now in final tests.
The 8x8 vehicle is powered by a 750 horsepower
engine, and also has an active protection system to
intercept RPG and anti-tank missile threats.
" We needed a platform that will enable the IDF to
transport troops quickly and safely" Brig. General
Matzliach said. He explained that the 8X8 wheel
design was needed to carry the 30 ton weight.
The first demonstrator is undergoing a series of
tests now and production will probably begin in
Some years ago the IDF tested the U.S made
Stryker but sources said that its protection level
was not enough for the operational requirements
of the IDF.
The wheeled Eitan will be able to reach speeds of
up to 90 kilometers an hour and ferry infantry soldiers
from one battle sector to another while traveling along
roads without the need for military trailer ser vices.
The Brigadier General said that the plan is to equip
the Eitan with a remotely controlled weapon station
carrying a 30 mm gun or smaller caliber weapons.
The Eitan like the Namer, will be manufactured in
the U.S with final assembly in Israel, he revealed.
Many countries are showing interest in the Merkava
4 and Namer but export is not on the table right now.
" We think that it will be easier to export the wheeled
Eitan" the senior officer said.
In the past, mainly in the Cold War years, tanks
were meant to fight other tanks. The type of war
that was envisioned by the generals at that time
seems now obsolete. However, the needs of urban
war and low intensity conflicts continue to make the
tank a crucial fighting platform to deal with these
The advanced tank is also capable of firing the Israel Aerospace
Industries (IAI) Laser Homing Attack (LAHAT) missile.
6/04/2017 4:09 PM
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