May 18/10: Small business qualifier Diesel Engineering, Inc. in Englewood Cliffs, NJ received a $20.8 million firm-fixed-price-contract for engine upgrade kits, to be installed in Israel’s Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers. The Achzarit engine upgrade kits modify the engine, transmission and cooling systems, resulting in an increase in horsepower of approximately 20%, and an increase in acceleration of approximately 200%.
Work will be performed in Elizabeth, NJ (71%), and Prague, Czech Republic (29%), and is expected to be complete by June 2013. The contract was not competitively procured by the American contract representative, the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC (N00024-10-C-4200).
The Achzarit is an unusual APC, in that it uses the hulls of captured Soviet T-54/ T-55 main battle tanks as its base. The Israelis had quite a few of those to work with, and found their level of protection to be quite useful in urban warfare scenarios. They sport 650 hp Detroit Diesel 8V-71TA or 850 hp 8V-92TA engines, and serve as ultra-heavy ambulances, or mount unmanned weapon turrets of various calibers on top to create heavy APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) variants. Achzarits can work alongside Israel’s unique and complementary Merkava main battle tanks, whose distinctive features include the ability to carry troops inside by removing ammunition, a sniper port in the rear access door, and a 60mm mortar in the turret top. Israel has also gone ahead and developed an even heavier IFV, the Namer, based on the Merkava’s chassis.