TechIsrael's nearly indestructible Namer falls to Hamas ambush

Israel's nearly indestructible Namer falls to Hamas ambush

An armored personnel carrier Namer somewhere in the Gaza Strip.
An armored personnel carrier Namer somewhere in the Gaza Strip.
Images source: © Getty Images | Amir Levy

6:59 AM EDT, June 16, 2024

Israel continues its fight against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. While most instances of conflict resemble a one-sided war, there are occasions where Hamas militants succeed using rudimentary methods reminiscent of World War I. One such example is the destruction of the relatively rare and heavily protected Namer armored personnel carrier. Here, we discuss the uniqueness of these nearly indestructible vehicles.

Israel's ongoing conflict with Hamas has shifted south to the city of Rafah after Hamas took control of the northern half of the Gaza Strip. While the fighting is predominantly one-sided, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not without losses. As of the writing of this article, the IDF has lost 307 soldiers since the inception of the operation in the Gaza Strip.

This number includes eight soldiers who died in a Namer armored personnel carrier due to 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 vehicle.

These "mad charges" with anti-tank grenades (such as PG-7VL or PG-7VR) have been employed before. Though primitive and risky, this method can bypass the effectiveness of the Trophy active protection system. The Trophy system is highly effective in protecting vehicles against RPG-7 grenade launchers and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

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

The Namer heavy armored personnel carriers exemplify Israel's distinctive approach to developing armored personnel carriers based on tanks. The Namer is derived from the Merkava Mk. IV tanks were modified by removing their turrets in favor of an armored superstructure that could transport 10 infantry soldiers.

Despite the absence of a turret, the Namer still weighs about 130,000 pounds (60 tons), with the saved weight allocated to additional armor, particularly on the sides. Over time, these vehicles have been equipped with Trophy active protection systems to intercept incoming anti-tank missiles.

The Namer uses remote-controlled turrets armed with either a Browning M2 heavy machine gun or a Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher for self-defense. However, like other armored vehicles, crew visibility is limited to periscopes and/or cameras, which is a persistent challenge, especially in urban combat.

In the Gaza Strip, a dense network of tunnels facilitates the covert movement of Hamas militants and the organization of ambushes. This environment poses significant challenges, but the IDF performs exceptionally well despite its losses. The loss of a Namer, of which fewer than 200 units exist, is substantial.

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