A Golani soldier
A Golani soldier Israel news photo: IDF

Soldiers in one of the battalions in the IDF’s Golani infantry brigade are completing training on a new armored personnel carrier (APC) dubbed 'Namer' (pronounced na-MEHR), or Tiger, which is being hailed as a “perfect” weapon.

The Ground Forces Command is looking into the possibility of fitting the Namer with a 30 mm. cannon as well, reports IDF journal BaMachaneh. This will give the Namer added capabilities such as busting into structures in which terrorists are hiding and firing upward at very sharp angles, thus making infantry forces less dependent on tanks for operating against enemy infantry.

The target’s coordinates will be automatically fed into the cannon with the help of the Namer’s command and control system.

Until now, the Golani soldiers training on the Namer have been using its machine gun, but if the IDF decides to replace the machine gun with a cannon, the machine-gunners will be retrained as cannon operators.

Carries 12, cannon optional

The Namer can carry 12 fighters, including three crew members: a commander, a driver and a gunner. Fitting the Namer with a cannon will not diminish its capacity to carry fighters because the cannon will be completely external and no part of it will protrude inwards.

Namer APCs (Israel news photo / Wikimedia Commons)

“If we fit a cannon on the Namer we will not have to subordinate the other vehicles to the infantry,” explained Major Shlomi Ben-Lulu, who heads the Namer project at the Chief Infantry and Paratrooper Officer HQ. “I do not want the tank to help me face infantry threats. I would rather have the tanks face other tanks and have infantry face infantry. This firepower will upgrade the infantry’s capabilities.”

The cannon, says Maj. Ben-Lulu, could turn the Namer into a near-perfect weapon. Its capability to navigate terrain, its survivability, its speed and mobility are much better than those of the Achzarit and other infantry APCs used by the IDF, he says. It will enable infantry and armor to operate in true combined fashion, and the tanks will not have to wait for infantry to catch up during battle.

Replacing the Achzarit

The Namer will make it possible for the infantry forces to reach the enemy threat and destroy it while the soldiers remain inside the vehicle. Aided by 360 degree cameras, advanced control systems and computerized weapon systems, they will not even have to stick their heads out of the vehicle.

The Namer is slated to replace the Achzarit, which is made from converted T-55 tanks. Every platoon in the infantry battalions will have its own Namer.

The Namer was first used in the Cast Lead campaign and was considered a “great success,” said Lt.-Col. Guy Berger, of the IDF’s School of Infantry Professions. “The Namer is, from our point of view, a breakthrough on the level of a historic process that has become a reality, and we see it not just as a weapon but as a new capability which, as far as we are concerned, is a revolution,” he said.

The name Namer, besides meaning 'tiger,' is also a combination of nagmash, Hebrew for APC, and Merkava -- the Israeli produced tank it is based upon.

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