Namer: Israeli Leopard Coming to the USAJul 04, 2012 15:06 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
Urban fights are thought of as the future of warfare in many countries, but to Israel, urban fighting is a very current reality. At the same time, conventional defense requires well-protected forces that can maneuver and survive with the country’s heavy armor, out in the tank-friendly environs of the Middle East. The Israelis had long depended on the M113 to fill these roles, but heavier options were needed. The resourceful Israelis turned to their stock of captured Soviet T-54/55 tanks for initial solutions, producing the Achzarit APC. They liked the results so much that they decided to do the same thing with their older Merkava tank hulls, creating the 60 tonne Namer (“leopard”). That’s more than twice the weight of the USA’s M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), but Namers are mostly used as ultra-heavy but lightly-armed armored personnel carriers. Unmanned turrets that would add a 30mm cannon and Spike missiles are also under consideration, which would turn them into true IFVs.
Even in an APC role, experiences during the 2006 war in Lebanon against Syria and Iran confirmed the Namer’s value. The Israelis decided to build more using new Merkava IV hulls. That creates some manufacturing issues for the Israelis, who are trying to quickly build up their Merkava IV fleet, per the long-range “Tefen” plan. Israel would also benefit financially from having more manufacturing done in America. The solution? Find an American partner…
Jan 10/13: The Lima News provides an update regarding the Namer contract:
“Israel is contracting with General Dynamics for a new armored personnel carrier. The JSMC has worked on five prototype vehicles and will begin shipping them by the end of the month. Once the vehicle is in full production, the JSMC will make five a month, for 60 a year. The contract calls for 386 vehicles to be built through 2019.
The JSMC, which is a government-owned facility operated by General Dynamics, currently employs about 700. Deters said it would be difficult to say what that number will look like even in the short term… much of its future in the next few years depends on the foreign work…. The Pentagon has wanted to shutter the Abrams program until 2017, saying it has enough tanks until the next generation of the battle tank is developed and in production.”
June 27/12: Passive on active protection. The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel has finished equipping its 1st brigade of Merkava 4 tanks with the Trophy active protection system, but adds:
“While the installation of the Trophy will continue, the IDF has yet to begin installing a missile defense system on its new Namer armored personnel carrier (APC). State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued a report last month… and criticized the Defense Ministry’s decision in 2010 to combine the Trophy with a similar system – called Iron Fist… Iron Fist launches a projectile that IMI claims makes it effective in intercepting tank shells and not just anti-tank missiles – something Trophy cannot do. The comptroller’s main criticism centers on the defense establishment’s failure to develop or order an active protection system for the Namer. While Trophy is already being installed on tanks, a decision from 2009 to install Iron Fist on the Namer has been overturned and a replacement has not been found.”
June 22/12: The USMC won’t be moving a $16 million hull manufacturing line out of Lima, OH and over to Georgia just yet. The Army’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is run by General Dynamics, and the Marines will delay their decision until they compile a cost/benefit analysis of the proposed $19 million move ($6 million move + $13 million to restore the JSMC capability). It’s all part of a larger process:
“Following the Defense Department’s cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Program, the Marine Corps began reviewing the future use of all EFV-associated equipment procured as part of that program. The JSMC was set to build the fighting vehicle, but now is using the hull machining equipment on other combat vehicles…
“As a matter of fact, we’re machining the Namer nose assembly on that machine right now,” Deters said.”
Looks like General Dynamics’ bid was successful.
Oct 25/10: General Dynamics Land Systems announces that they have become the preferred bidder to negotiate a contract with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, which would transfer at least some production of Namer IFVs from Israel to the USA. The competitive procurement process was for the production of Merkava APC hulls, material kit sets, and integration work, and the Israelis are rumored to be interested in 100 vehicles or more.
General Dynamics expects to complete contract negotiations by the end of this year, for a base contract extending to March 2015, with options to November 2019. If successful, production will be performed at their Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, OH. This would allow Israel to purchase them with American military aid dollars granted by the Camp David Peace accords etc. General Dynamics.
- Israeli Weapons – Namer
- Army Technology – Namer Heavy Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Israel
- Defense Update – Israel Launches Namer Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle Program
- The Armor Site – Main Battle Tank: Merkava
- DID – Iran-Syria vs. Israel, Round 1: Assessments & Lessons Learned