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Before Producing the Achzarit Heavy Armored Personnel Carrier Based On the T-55, Israel Initially Did Experiments With the M113 Armor

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Israeli Achzarit heavy armored personnel carrier / Illustrative photo from open sources
Israeli Achzarit heavy armored personnel carrier / Illustrative photo from open sources

Ukraine might follow the same way, since the need for heavy armored vehicles for infantry has become vital

Photos have appeared in open sources showing that Ukraine’s military use at least one T-64-based heavy infantry fighting vehicle. It is interesting that Ukraine’s army has evolved to the need for heavy armored vehicles to cover the infantry at the frontlines.

Of course, the vehicles produced by Israel, which are considered pioneers in this field, immediately come to mind here: the Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers based on trophy T-55’s, as well as the Namer based on the Merkava tank. But if we continue the chain, then it is worth adding that Israel itself reached such level through an evolutionary path that began with very peculiar developments.

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Before Producing the Achzarit Heavy Armored Personnel Carrier Based On the T-55, Israel Initially Did Experiments With the M113 Armor, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Israeli M113 Zelda / Illustrative photo from open sources

To begin with, in the 1970s Israel upgraded the armor of the M113 armored personnel carriers under the Zelda modification, which involved the installation of additional Kevlar protection on top of the existing armor, and the Zelda II, which involved the installation of ERA protection over the Kevlar armor.

However, there is no publicly available accurate data regarding extra weight of the vehicle itself. However, we can find out from The Military Balance 2022 that Israel keeps about 5 thousand M113 armored personnel carriers in storage, in particular in the Zelda and Zelda II modifications.

Before Producing the Achzarit Heavy Armored Personnel Carrier Based On the T-55, Israel Initially Did Experiments With the M113 Armor, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Israeli M113 Zelda II / Illustrative photo from open sources

The next step in the evolution was the Nagmashot heavy armored personnel carrier, created on the chassis of the Sho't Kal tank (local modernization of the British Centurion tank) and adopted in 1984.

Such a machine could take up to 8 personnel, and could have several options for armament: either 7.62 mm, or 12.7 mm or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. But the layout of the vehicle was not much changed. The personnel had to climb out through four hatches cut in the Nagmashot roof. It was ineffective in combat conditions and subsequently determined the fate of these heavy armored personnel carriers: transfer to engineering units or simply decommissioning.

Before Producing the Achzarit Heavy Armored Personnel Carrier Based On the T-55, Israel Initially Did Experiments With the M113 Armor, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Israeli Nagmachon heavy armored personnel carrier / Illustrative photo from open sources

The development of the Nagmashot heavy armored personnel carrier was the Nagmachon machine, which was distinguished by an improved layout that allowed taking an increased landing force of up to 10 people, and additional armor.

In turn, the next step of the Nagmachon heavy armored personnel carrier became the vehicle called the Nakpadon in the early 1990s. The Nakpadon is distinguished not only by an even higher level of protection, but also by increased armament: the 12.7 mm machine gun and 40 mm automatic grenade launcher at the same time, a more powerful AVDS 1790-6A power plant with 900 horsepower and the ramp in the front part on some vehicles. But in the end, the Nakpadon turned out to be a somewhat overloaded vehicle with impaired driving characteristics.

Before Producing the Achzarit Heavy Armored Personnel Carrier Based On the T-55, Israel Initially Did Experiments With the M113 Armor, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Israeli Nakpadon heavy armored personnel carrier / Illustrative image from open sources

Nevertheless, looking at The Military Balance 2022, we will see an interesting point: the Israeli army still has 400 Nagmachon and Nakpadon heavy armored personnel carriers, and at the same time only 100 Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers and about 290 Namer heavy armored personnel carriers.

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