Land Platforms

IDF wants more Namer APCs and Trophy protection systems

21 August 2014
The Trophy system, seen here fitted to a Merkava Mk IV, operating in the Gaza Strip during Operation 'Protective Edge', has proved itself in combat. Source: Israel Defense Forces

Senior army officials hope that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will acquire better-protected armoured vehicles and more active protection systems (APS) such as Rafael's Trophy.

Their comments came after seven members of the elite Golani Brigade were killed by an rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on their M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) during Operation 'Protective Edge' against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Senior officers say they want far more Namer APCs, which have superior armour, to replace the thousands of M113s they currently have. They also say they want to equip more vehicles with the Trophy APS, which they credit with defending Merkava Mk 4 tanks against more than a dozen anti-tank missile strikes carried out by militants during Operation 'Protective Edge'.

"We want many more Namer APCs for the infantry," a senior army source said. "If we had more Namers and more defences, we would have fewer casualties from missile strikes such as the one that occurred on the M113.

"There were arguments beforehand about why we needed the Namer and Merkava Mk 4. I think after Operation 'Protective Edge', these questions will shrink away," the source added.

"In Lebanon too, these vehicles can bring extraordinary firepower and capabilities. They are very advanced, have excellent armour defences, flexibility, and detection and precision abilities. There are no armoured vehicles like them in the world," he said.

The acquisition of large numbers of new armoured vehicles and the installation of APS would significantly strengthen Israel's ground manoeuvre capability, the source argued. "This creates a ground offensive that cannot be stopped anywhere, and this is what Israel needs.

"It is a strategic capability and it is not too big a drain on resources to accomplish. I think we must get there. Technologically, we are there. We have decent defences in armoured vehicles, but we have to make much more progress on this," he said.

The officer warned that, while the IDF's current armour inventory was sufficient for an "unstoppable" offensive in the Gaza Strip, this was "unlikely to be the case" in Lebanon, where they would come up against the better-armed Hizbullah group. "We will need large quantities of [new] armoured vehicles [to take on Hizbullah]," he said.

Hundreds of attacks on modern armoured vehicles failed to cause significant damage during 'Protective Edge', the source said, although he declined to give precise numbers. He said that the Trophy system had "pleasantly surprised us with its extreme precision, and unique operational capability. It answered the threat.

"Of course we will want to expand this," he said. "If we receive a multi-year spending programme in 2015, we will be able to fortify, at relatively small costs to the state, the whole of the Ground Forces," he added.

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