Israeli Army Ramps Up Efforts to Fortify Armored Personnel Carriers

Having learned a lesson during the Gaza operation, the IDF is improving its warning systems against mortar fire, too.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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An APC near the Gaza border, July 20, 2014. The M113 was built in the 1960s and less well armored than later models.
An APC near the Gaza border, July 20, 2014. The M113 was built in the 1960s and less well armored than later models.Credit: Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces plans to protect more of its equipment against anti-tank missiles and acquire more radar devices that detect mortar fire – key lessons learned from the fighting in Gaza.

A system called Windbreaker currently protects the tanks of Armored Corps Brigade 401 against all types of anti-tank missiles. In Gaza, this system was used more than 10 times to intercept such missiles, including the advanced Kornet.

“The Windbreaker gives us more security when moving and under fire; it’s a system that lets us maneuver more deeply,” a commander in the brigade said during the fighting. The most significant threat during the Gaza operation was from anti-tank missiles and sniper fire, he said.

The IDF plans for the brigades of Division 162 and Division 36 to eventually have the system, too. “The lesson learned from the operation is to continue to strengthen the decisive divisions,” a senior officer said.

He said the IDF had increased the pace of producing high-quality Namer armored personnel carriers. At the moment, Namers are not outfitted with the Windbreaker.

In the past, the army decided that the Windbreaker was essential for Namers, but it never followed through, despite decisions to publish a tender for an advanced system against anti-tank fire, based partly on the Windbreaker.

During the Gaza fighting, Israel Aerospace Industries moved up delivery of the Wind Protector system – radar to warn about incoming missiles and mortar shells. The system can be installed in military vehicles such as Hummers and armored personnel carriers; it can also assess the source of fire.

To warn against mortar fire, especially in troop staging areas, the IDF installed a siren system that is not always heard before a shell lands. The army intends to continue purchasing systems to improve its performance in this area.

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