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Russia and Israel Have Both Unveiled Deadly Urban Warfare Semi-Tanks

Russia and Israel Have Both Unveiled Deadly Urban Warfare Semi-Tanks

Michael Peck

Technology, Middle East

Russia and Israel Have Both Unveiled Deadly Urban Warfare Semi-Tanks


Key point: Urban warfare requires the infantry-carrying capacity of a personnel carrier with the firepower and protection of a tank. So Russia and Israel figured why not combine those two vehicles?

Just weeks after Russia deployed streetfighting Terminator tanks to Syria, now Israel has unveiled its own urban warfare tank.

(This first appeared in August 2017.)

Israel’s Namer isn’t exactly a tank: it’s a 66 ton armored personnel carrier derived from the chassis of the Merkava IV tank, but minus the turret. It can carry a crew of three plus nine infantrymen, and carry them under tank-like protection instead of the weaker armor of most troop carriers. But armed with only a couple of machine guns, it lacked firepower.

Now Israel is testing beefed-up weaponry on the Namer. The upgrade is a 30-millimeter cannon in an unmanned turret. Thus the upgraded vehicle will have the armor protection of a tank, but the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle more like the Bradley, BMP or Puma.

Why the extra firepower? The same reason that Russia is testing T-72 tanks converted into Terminator 2 support vehicles armed with cannon and anti-tank missiles. Chastened by losing numerous armored vehicles in urban combat during the early conflict in Chechnya, Russia wants a tank-like vehicle that can support and protect regular tanks in city streets. For its part, facing combat in the alleys of Gaza and the villages of southern Lebanon, Israel wants a troop carrier with sufficient armor and armament to survive a street fight.

“An APC equipped with a turret and cannon gives it an advantage during urban warfare,” said Brig.-Gen. Baruch Matzliach, head of the Tank Program Administration, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The shortened cannon makes it more maneuverable, and [gives it] the ability to provide firepower to infantry soldiers. It also lets infantry soldiers be more independent on the battlefield, with less dependence on other units to provide firepower.”

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