Israel’s Defense Ministry released video footage of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)’s latest Namer armoured personnel carrier and Merkava main battle tank successfully crossing a water obstacle during a recent operational exercise. The Ministry of Defense’s Merkava and AFV Administration along with the seventh armored brigade and Nahal brigade have carried out exercises for the Merkava MK4 Barak as well as for the Namer tracked armored personnel carrier (APC) on terrain across the country.
With winter weather thrashing the country, large amounts of rain have fallen allowing troops to practice crossing water obstacles. The trials for the vehiles saw troops train in difficult terrain from the Golan Heights to southern Israel. As the IDF’s first wheeled APC, Eitan armored personnel carrier (APC) performance on roads were also examined. As a wheeled APC, the Eitan will not need to be moved by heavy transporters like the Namer and other armored personnel carriers, and will be more maneuverable in urban areas such as in the Gaza Strip.
The Namer (Hebrew:Leopard) is an Israeli armoured personnel carrier based on a Merkava Mark IV tank chassis. It 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. 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. However, 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.
The Merkava Mark IV (MK4) is the most recent variant of the Merkava tank that has been in development since 1999 and production since 2004. The upgrade’s development was announced in an October 1999 edition of the Bamachaneh (“At the Camp”) military publication. However, the Merkava Mark III remained in production until 2003. The first Merkava IVs were in production in limited numbers by the end of 2004. When ammunition is unloaded the tank can carry up to 8 dismounted soldiers or 3 stretchers. Troops enter and leave the vehicle through the rear hatch. The Merkava IV has been designed for rapid repair and fast replacement of damaged armour, with modular armour that can be easily removed and replaced.