The Engineering Corps version of the “Namer” (“Leopard”) armored personnel carrier, a variant of the standard infantry model, completed its first combat drill, crossing an anti-tank ditch on the Golan Heights, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.
The introduction on Wednesday of the heavily armored vehicles significantly upgrades the IDF’s combat capabilities in challenging terrain filled with heavily armed guerrillas such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Like its infantry counterpart, the engineering Namer comes with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Trophy active-protection system, to be used against all shoulder-fired missile threats, and it is also tailored to deal with a range of battlefield engineering challenges.
Developed by the Defense Ministry’s Tank Administration, which created the Merkava tank and infantry model Namer, the latest armored vehicles to join the IDF Ground Forces took part in their first platoon-level exercise, which was held by an Engineering Corps battalion.
The drill is part of a wider training program held by the Brigade 188 in the North, in which the armored vehicles practiced breaching structures and overcoming terrain obstacles.
The engineering Namers also assembled a bridge over a ditch, before driving over it.
The new model Namer APC comes in three forms: One for a company commander, with a tractor blade, one for a platoon commander, with an attachment that enables it to break into a structure, and a third variant for a platoon sergeant, which is designed to tow other vehicles and construct bridges.
“The unique platforms were developed on the basis of the Namer, which is considered the most secure armored fighting vehicle in the world, and which has proven its combat capabilities in Operation Protective Edge against many threats,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The vehicles saved many soldier’s lives during the 2014 war in Gaza, it added