The Namer armored personnel carrier.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An ongoing disagreement between two Israeli companies has led the Defense
Ministry to decide not to install a missile defense system on the new Namer
(Tiger) armored personnel carrier it is supplying to IDF infantry
The two companies – Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel
Military Industries – are refusing to abide by an order from Defense Ministry
Dir.-Gen. Udi Shani to combine the active protection systems each company
is independently developing into a single system for IDF use.
system is called Trophy and has already been installed on a battalion of Merkava
Mk 4 tanks which are currently deployed along the border with the Gaza
Strip. The IDF Ground Forces Command recently decided to install the
Trophy also on Merkava Mk 3 tanks as well.
The Trophy provides 360-
degree protection against antitank missiles and successfully intercepted a
rocket propelled grenade along the border with Gaza earlier this year. Its
radar, made by Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary Elta, detects the threats
and then fires a cloud of countermeasures to intercept the incoming
The other system, developed by IMI, is called Iron Fist and in
addition to the Trophy’s capabilities is also reported to be capable of
intercepting standard tank rounds. The IDF had decided to install the Iron Fist
on the Namer in 2009 but then canceled its decision after the system encountered
some technological difficulties which were later corrected.
The Iron Fist
has completed hundreds of successful interception tests and recently passed an
evaluation by the United States Army, according to IMI.
The problem is
that the Defense Ministry has decided that it is too expensive to continue
investing in the development of two systems by two separate government-owned
companies and as a result Shani has ordered the companies to combine their
individual systems into one.
“We know what we want and that is a single
system with all of the capabilities combined,” a senior IDF officer said
recently. “In the meantime, the Namer will unfortunately not have an active
protection system since the companies are not working together.”
companies claim that their systems are completely different and incompatible and
that they are willing to continue their development independently and without
financial support from the Ministry of Defense.
Meanwhile, production of
the Namer has begun in the US after the Defense Ministry awarded General
Dynamics a massive tender to develop the vehicle.
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 a 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 Hezbollah antitank missiles.
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 years.
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
The Namer has advanced defensive systems and an internal air
conditioning unit which enables the vehicle to continue operating in areas
contaminated by non-conventional weapons. The Namer carries a number of machine
guns, missile launchers and reconnaissance equipment.