|Manufacturer:||I.M.I. Israel Military Industries Ltd|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Tracked armoured personnel carrier|
Namer (means "leopard") is an Israeli heavily armoured heavyweight infantry fighting vehicle based on the Israeli Merkava Mark IV tank. Namer was developed by and is being assembled by the Israeli Ordnance Corps. It has been in service with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since summer 2008.
The experience of converting Centurion tanks into armored personnel carriers (Nagmachon) and combat engineering vehicles (Puma, Nakpadon), followed by the successful conversion of many T-54 and T-55 tanks into Achzarit infantry fighting vehicles pushed the idea of converting Merkava tanks into heavily armored armored personnel carriers / infantry fighting vehicles. The concept held great promise, because many of the 250 Merkava Mark I's were being gradually withdrawn from service and it was also made clear that the 105 mm armament of the Merkava Mark IIs could not be upgraded to the more modern IMI 120 mm gun.
The development did not progress much in the 1990s due to lack of funds, but following 2004 Israel–Gaza conflict, which exposed the vulnerability of the M113 armored personnel carrier to improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades, the IDF re-opened the development. At that point domestic production of Namer was preferred over purchasing the Stryker armored personnel carrier.
Eventually, IDF Ordnance developed some heavy-duty infantry fighting vehicle prototypes based on the Merkava Mark I chassis, and also a handful of IFVs based on the Merkava Mark IV chassis. The vehicle was initially called Nemmera (Hebrew: leopardess), but later renamed to Namer.
On February 15, 2005 Maariv reported that a running Namer prototype based on the Merkava Mark I was fielded by the Givati Brigade for trials and evaluation. It was equipped with a Rafael Overhead Weapon Station, which is remotely controlled and loaded from within the vehicle. This same unit was demonstrated at the Eurosatory 2005 military exhibition with possible export customers showing interest.
Lessons learned in the battles of the 2006 Lebanon War also largely verified this program. Consequently, in 2007 it was reported that the first fifteen Namers would be delivered in 2008, and over a hundred more will finally equip two combat brigades. However, conversion plans were abandoned in favor to newly-built Merkava Mark IV chassis.
On March 1, 2008 an operational, started from scratch and fully-developed Namer IFV based on Merkava Mark IV chassis was officially presented by the IDF. Reportedly, the construction was urged on May 2008 by importing parts from the US. On September 15, 2008, the Namer was unveiled to the general public at an exhibition in Rishon LeZion.
Like the Merkava Mark IV, Namer has been designed for a high level of crew survival on the battlefield with modular armor, reinforced V-shaped belly armor pack, and NBC protection. It is also ready to be equipped with an active protection system. As of June 2009, the IDF approved the acquisition of Israel Military Industries' Iron Fist active protection system for the Namer.
Namer is armed with either a M2 Browning machine gun or a Mk 19 grenade launcher mounted on a Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station, a 7.62 mm (FN MAG) machine gun, a 60 mm mortar. Smoke grenade launchers are also carried. Mounting an external remote controlled 30-mm autocannon and Spike anti-tank guided missiles is also considered.
Namer is capable of maneuvering in difficult terrain, powered by the Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-9AR 1,200 hp (895 kW) V12 air-cooled diesel engine of the Merkava Mark III. Namer is able to carry up to 12 troops (crewmen and fully equipped infantrymen) and one stretcher, or two stretchers and medical equipment on a Namerbulance MEDEVAC version. The original Merkava Mark IV rear entrance was redesigned to be a wider door ramp with a sniper port. Two hatches are fitted on the roof, which is higher than Merkava's hull roof. Namer also shares a digital battlefield management system with Merkava Mark IV.
New Artillery Cannon for Namer APC (12.07.2009)