Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)

The APC, the armored troop transports, were developed by the British during WWI. In the beginning, the understanding was that the APC should serve as an infantry transport, not as a combat vehicle. This concept has changed through the years, and the APC has received various types of missions aside from the traditional transport operations. Due to this, the transports have been upgraded to support additional roles. Among these operations are: general security, emergency situation security, fording, and landing missions. To contain various security threats, the IDF requires mobility, navigability, and heavy firepower. Therefore, it is equipped with heavily armored APCs, such as the "Puma", "Achzarit", and the "Nikpadon." These machines are based on the bodies of tanks which have undergone upgrades, such as systems which protect the soldiers within, and ensure they reach their destination. Among other systems, special armor was added to defend the APC from anti-tank fire, and IEDs. Additionally, anti-tank missile launchers and buoyancy systems which provide the APCs with amphibious capabilities were added, as well as systems for defense against hazardous materials. Today, APCs serve the IDF in various operations in the Territories, and are the main defense of Infantry forces in those regions. 

The oldest of the IDF APCs is the M-113, it was developed and manufactured in the United States in the 60s, and its purpose was to bring troops to and from battle- returning them efficiently, and protecting them. Its official IDF name is the “Bardelas” but soldiers call it the M-113 or “Zelda” (named after an armor addition) or simply “The APC”. They first arrived in Israel in 1972, although most APCs of this type were acquired through American aid in the Yom Kippur War. The M-113 was intended to replace the antiquated armored vehicles which the IDF was using at the time, which were partly exposed, and were an easy target for hostile fire. The M-113 has many advantages. Among them: excellent maneuvering capabilities in difficult terrain, compatibility for air transport, and amphibious capabilities. The IDF M-113 has undergone various upgrades, in order to improve its resistance to hazardous materials, and to protect it from anti-tank fire, IEDs, and machine-gun fire. Among the many special models of the APC is the armored ambulance, a version with additional protection against anti-tank missiles. Changes have been made which enable it to participate in urban warfare, and to keep the peace. The APC serves in almost all of the combat units of the IDF, in virtually all of the action areas, alongside other advanced APCs. As time progresses, the M-113 is slowly leaving the front lines, being replaced by more advanced models, and is joining the reservist units. The M-113 took part in the Yom Kippur War, in Operation Peace for Galilee, in campaigns in Lebanon, and in the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Apart from the M-113, the IDF has various other APCs which are based on tank bodies; heavy APCs.

The Nagmachon which the IDF has in its possession is an upgrade of the Nagmashot, which is based on the body of the Centurion tank.The changes and improvements which were first applied to the vehicle were intended to allow it to act as an engineering vehicle.It served as an APC in the service of the Corps of Engineers as a vehicle for clearing paths, and as a vehicle for combat engineering. The main improvements made to the vehicle were the armor plating, and additional engineering equipment which was installed on its underbelly, providing it with protection against underbelly and side explosives. Hence, it is named the "underbelly-protected APC" (Nagmachon). The Nagmachon has served for years as a vehicle for the Corps of Engineers in the Southern Lebanon action area. In the 90s, when the Puma came into use (a combat engineering obstruction navigating vehicle), the Nagmachon's purpose was changed to that of a troop transport for infantry. It then began to perform scouting missions and general security missions in hazardous areas. Together with the changes in its operations, it was upgraded and changed in order to be more appropriate for its new purpose. Two MAG 7.62 mm machine guns and special rests for personal weapons were added, and in the most recent models the suspension system was upgraded to be similar to that which can be found on the Merkava tank. The Nagmachon is considered a very efficient vehicle for urban warfare, and the IDF uses it in the areas of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza region.

Another APC which is based on the Nagmashot and is additionally considered the well-armored of the group is the Nikpadon. Its name is based on the Hebrew word for porcupine; because this vehicle is protected much like the animal with the same name- all of the external parts of the APC have armored protection. The Nikpadon possesses some of the most advanced defensive systems, both in passive and reactive forms. The protective armor around the combat soldiers' area is reinforced, and it is equipped with armor plating to the roof of the APC. The Nikpadon is also armed with a 6.72 MAG machine gun and a grenade launcher. It went into production in the 90s for operations in Lebanon, and in recent years it has entered service in Gaza as well. However, most of the Nikpadon APCs are serving in the Northern region of the country.

Another APC in the IDF arsenal is the Puma. It is another obstruction navigation engineering vehicle. This is a heavy APC   which serves the Corps of Engineers for its operations of complex warfare. The IDF war doctrine sees the battlefield as a dynamic which requires mobility and advanced armored plating. For this purpose, an APC was developed which gives the forces independence.  It provides them with capabilities both in persistence and mobility, much like a tank. The Puma is based on the body of the Centurion tank and has advanced armor plating, which protects it from anti-tank missiles, IEDs and mines. It can reach speeds of 40 km/h. The Puma is capable of carrying and employing systems specified for attack and penetration, from bulldozers to bridge-makers, and systems for infiltrating mine fields. Among the systems enabling minefield infiltration is the "Ritsuf" system, one of the most advanced of its sort; it employs rockets which pave a path through a minefield. Additionally, there are many things which improve the survivability of the combat soldiers within the Puma. Notably, there is a fire-fighting system, a smoke generator, and a hazmat system which enables the Engineering forces to battle in areas contaminated by hazardous materials for extended periods of time.

The APC known as the "Achzarit" is an APC which is based on the "Tiran" a Russian model captured in combat- the T-55/T-54. The tank has been converted by the Armament Corps into a heavy APC. The motor and gearbox have been changed, with additional armored plating, an external rear exit and updated suspension in order to improve maneuvering and handling. The Achzarit has advanced armored plating, and is equipped with four MAG machine guns, one of which is controlled from the inside of the vehicle, and a smoke-grenade launcher of IDF manufacture. The APC started serving the IDF at the end of the 80s, and has served in the northern region of the country since then. In recent years it has begun entering service in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza regions. In 2005 certain models of the Achzarit were updated to serve as ambulance/APC.

The Namer is an APC based on the Merkava tank. It is an advanced APC which is slated to enter combat service in the IDF. The Namer is based on the body of the Merkava 4, and much like a tank, it is capable of maneuvering in very difficult terrain. It has advanced defensive systems, and an internal air-conditioning unit which makes battle in areas contaminated by hazardous materials possible. The Namer has specialized equipment installed which is designated for various purposes. Among these apparatus are a number of machine guns, missile launchers, and reconnaissance equipment for daytime and night. Special stress was put on the protection of the soldiers within the APC, during its design stages. Among the many systems which will be installed on the Namer is the "wind coat", a system which identifies threats and neutralizes them, before they manage to hit the vehicle. The IDF decided to create this craft mostly due to the lessons learned in the battles of the Second Lebanon War, in the summer of 2006. The Namer will allow quicker and safer advancement of infantry forces, similar to that of the Armor forces. The Namer APC will be distributed to the Infantry and Engineering forces, with possible future plans for special models for Intelligence and command purposes.
The Namer APC is at the cutting edge of APC technology, and all that pertains to protecting foot soldiers in the IDF. The systems and technology which it sports are among the most advanced in the world, and they are mostly of Israeli manufacture. All of the companies which participated in the project did so while working closely with the IDF. The state of affairs in the Middle East, and continuous advances in technology, together with the willingness of the army to accept change, give the IDF an advantage on the battlefield.