Production will begin soon in the US of the IDF’s new Namer (leopard in Hebrew,
pronounced nah-mer) armored personnel carrier (APC) after the Defense Ministry
awarded General Dynamics a massive tender to develop the vehicle.
move is poised to increase the survivability of Israeli military forces, At the
cutting edge of APC technology and claimed to be one-of-its-kind in the world by
officers in the Ground Forces Command, the Namer is based on the Merkava MK4
Battle Tank and is claimed to have an ever-high level of reinforced steel
protection. The decision to develop the new APC was made after the Second
Lebanon War in 2006 during which IDF armor suffered heavy losses to Hizbullah
Battalion 13 of the Golani Brigade has already been
outfitted with the Namer and a senior Defense Ministry official said that the
remaining three Golani battalions would receive the APC over the next three
Under the tender awarded to General Dynamics, Israel will
manufacture around 600 Namers over the next eight years. BAE Systems and Textron
also competed for the tender which will, in a first phase, reach $400 million.
Local industry could benefit from tens of millions of dollars in industrial
cooperation during that time period.
In addition, the Defense Ministry is
in talks with a number of countries, including Colombia, over the possible sale
of the Merkava, the IDF’s main battle tank, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Israel has never sold the Merkava, the largest military platform it manufactures
The decision to open the Merkava for export was made by
Defense Ministry directorgeneral Udi Shani as part of an effort to increase
Israeli defense sales to around $10 billion annually.
The decision to
issue the Namer tender in the US was made due to budgetary
If the Namer is made in the US, the IDF will be able to pay
for the production with the foreign military financial aid it receives annually
from the US and most of which needs to be spent in America.
The Namer has
advanced defensive systems and an internal air-conditioning unit which enables
the vehicle to continue operating in areas contaminated by nonconventional
weapons. The Namer carries a number of machine guns, missile launchers, and
The Namer will also be equipped with an
active-protection system developed by Israel Military Industries called the Iron
Fist active and which is said to be capable of intercepting and destroying a
wide range of anti-tank missiles, from old rocket- propelled grenades and
standard tank shells to the new generation of Russian-made advanced missiles in
Hizbullah’s and Syria’s arsenals.