The Defense Ministry has started testing an upgraded version of its Namer heavy armored personnel carrier, fitted for the first time with a 30mm turret to make it better suited for urban combat.“An APC equipped with a turret and cannon gives it an advantage during urban warfare,” stated Brig.-Gen.Baruch Matzliach, head of the Tank Program Administration. “The shortened cannon makes it more maneuverable, and [gives] the ability to provide firepower to infantry soldiers.It also lets infantry soldiers be more independent on the battlefield, with less dependence on other units to provide firepower.”The Namer is currently the IDF’s most fortified APC outfitted with the Trophy anti-tank missile protection system, which is also installed on the Merkava tank. The IDF has invested significant amounts of money into upgrading its capabilities in the three years since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, especially in the field of urban combat.“The turret is unmanned and does not penetrate the combat cell, so that the ability to carry the soldiers is not harmed. Its operation is expected to be simple and will be performed by the APC’s crew. The turret will also incorporate an active defense system and additional systems that will greatly contribute to its capabilities,” Matzliach said. The turret will also be installed on the IDF’s new wheeled APC, the Eitan.Considered more maneuverable than other APCs, the Eitan is scheduled to begin use with infantry battalions in the coming year.The Eitan can carry 12 soldiers – including a commander, gunner and driver – and has touch-screen systems that offer a 360-degree view of the battlefield.While less fortified than the Namer, the Eitan will be equipped with the Trophy active protection system, along with hi-tech armor to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. It will also come equipped with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun; a 30mm cannon with a range of 2,500 meters; and a missile launcher that can be operated without the crews leaving the vehicle and exposing themselves to the enemy.“We are taking the APC to a whole new level, turning the Namer into an infantry fighting vehicle, which will allow crew to use it not only an armored vehicle which wheels them from place to place,” Matzliach said at the Second International Ground Warfare and Logistics Conference at Latrun outside of Jerusalem in May.The tests are being carried out by the Tank Program Administration of the Defense Ministry together with IDF Ground Forces.