TechLoss of Israeli carrier Namer APC reveals vulnerabilities in the Gaza conflict

Loss of Israeli carrier Namer APC reveals vulnerabilities in the Gaza conflict

A heavy armoured personnel carrier Namer somewhere in the Gaza Strip.
A heavy armoured personnel carrier Namer somewhere in the Gaza Strip.
Images source: © Getty Images | Amir Levy
Przemysław Juraszek

16 June 2024 13:13

Israel continues its fight against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. In most cases, this is a largely one-sided conflict, but there are instances where Hamas militants achieve victory using rudimentary methods reminiscent of World War I. One example is destroying the scarce and heavily protected Namer armoured personnel carrier. We explain the uniqueness of these nearly indestructible vehicles.

Israel continues its fight against Hamas militants, which, after taking control of the northern half of the Gaza Strip, has moved south to the region of the city of Rafah. The fighting is primarily one-sided, but this does not mean the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not sustaining losses. At the time of writing this article, the IDF has lost 307 soldiers since the beginning of the operation in the Gaza Strip.

This number includes eight who died in a Namer armoured personnel carrier as a result of an explosion. According to The Times of Israel, the destruction of the Namer occurred due to an anti-tank grenade planted by a Hamas militant who approached the Namer.

It is worth noting that such "mad charges" with anti-tank grenades PG-7VL or PG-7VR have already taken place. It is also one of the more effective, albeit very primitive and risky methods of bypassing the Trophy active protection system. This system very well protects vehicles equipped with it against RPG-7 grenade launchers or anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

Namer - heavy armoured personnel carriers - unique on a global scale

The Namer heavy armoured personnel carriers are the latest example of Israel's approach to creating unique armoured carriers based on tanks. In the case of the Namer, the base is Merkava Mk. IV tanks, which have been stripped of their turrets in favour of an armoured superstructure. The carriers can transport 10 infantry soldiers.

Interestingly, the Namer weighs about 93,000 kilograms (93 tonnes) despite the lack of a turret, which means that the missing weight has been allocated to additional armour, particularly on the sides. Over time, Trophy active protection systems have also been installed on the Namer, enabling it to shoot down incoming anti-tank missiles.

Remote-controlled turrets with either a heavy machine gun Browning M2 or an automatic grenade launcher Mk 19 are used for self-defence. It is also worth noting that, as with other armoured vehicles, the crew's perception of the outside environment is limited (only periscopes and/or cameras are available), which is a perpetual problem, especially in urban combat.

In the case of the Gaza Strip, there is also a dense network of tunnels that significantly facilitates the covert movement of Hamas militants around the city and organising ambushes. This is a highly challenging environment in which the IDF performs exceptionally well despite losses. However, losing a Namer, while fewer than 200 units exist, is a significant blow.

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