The IDF next-generation heavy armored infantry fighting vehicle the Namer (Tiger) received its baptism by fire during Operation Cast Lead last month.
Namer IAFV with remote controlled upper station
The first infantry brigade to receive the new APC was Golani, which had trained on three of the first vehicles in a brigade exercise two months ago.
Interior cabin displaying space for various com systems IDF photos
Golani soldiers widely used their veteran Achzarit APCs (based on modified turretless T-55s) during most of the offensive in the Gaza Strip, but during the final days of the operation, they also brought some of the new vehicles into battle to test their combat capabilities under real fighting conditions, especially in urban warfare. According to unconfirmed reports, Namer served as forward command posts, using the various digital communications system, mounted in the spacious interior.
Based on the lessons learned in Lebanon since 1982, the IDF has pursued the development of heavy armored personnel carriers capable of keeping pace with the Merkava tanks while withstanding the same levels of threats, the Namer built around the Merkava Mk4 system is the result. Equipped with mobility, firepower, protection, sensors, command and control to effectively pursue missions independently (at the individual vehicle level) the Namer AIFV can function as well as part of a networked operation. Remotely controlled weapon stations mounting 7.62mm and M2 heavy machine guns were installed with associated optronics and fire control systems.
As in the Merkava Mk 3 LIC, the Namer will have a sniper port located in the rear access door ramp. This could have become very handy in the narrow alleys of Gaza. The new vehicles enable effective operation in "buttoned up" conditions over extended durations, offering spacious interiors and rapid access and dismounting of troops. For medical evacuation under fire, every Namer will be fitted for collapsible stretcher carriage to facilitate rapid and efficient battlefield MEDEVAC operations
The IDF has ordered about 130 such vehicles, at a cost of $3 million each, and there are plans to acquire as many as 800.