BAE and IMI offer the IDF an extended and upgraded version of the veteran M-113 APC, fitted with an active protection system and passive and reactive protection
Not just Merkava (NAMER) APCs? BAE and IMI have jointly offered IDF a project involving the acquisition of extended and upgraded M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers.
The need for the prompt renewal of at least a portion of the IDF APC fleet is one of the significant lessons derived from the fighting in the Gaza Strip. IDF entered the operation with an insufficient amount of protected Merkava (NAMER) APCs, and were consequently compelled to also employ outdated M-113 APCs, dating back to the 1970s. One of these APCs was bogged down owing to a technical malfunction during the operations of the Golani brigade in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, and was subsequently destroyed by an antitank missile. In the attack on the stranded APC and the subsequent evacuation operations, 13 troopers and commanders were killed and dozens were injured. IDF had to employ artillery fire in order to support the evacuation effort.
As reported in the special edition of Israel Defense magazine that concluded Operation Protective Edge (Issue #22), IDF hastened to cancel a planned cut in the manufacture of future NAMER APCs pursuant to the operation. The NAMER APCs are manufactured as a joint project with the General Dynamics Company in the USA, with some of the financing provided through US Aid funds.
During the visit by Defense Minister Ya'alon to the USA in late October 2014, it appeared that IDF will increase by 200 the number of NAMER APCs originally ordered prior to the war.
Israel Defense has learned that the joint proposal of BAE and IMI involves the renewal and upgrading of APCs in a manner similar to a project recently completed in Canada. According to the proposal, the old APCs are to be cut across the middle and extended. At the same time, all of the APC assemblies are to be replaced, including the engine and the steering system: the old joystick-driven system will be replaced by a steering-wheel driven system. The new engine has a 400hp output and this power boost will enable the fitting of 6 tons of passive and reactive protection, in addition to an active protection system.
The cost of the upgrading process can be significantly lower than the cost of a new NAMER APC, which is estimated at around US$ 5 million, but according to the proposal submitted to the IDF Ground Arm, the upgrading project is just a "complementary project" to the planned acquisition of the NAMER APCs. IDF are to review the proposal over the coming weeks.