Israel is known as an expert in converting enemy booty weapons, the Achzarit armored personnel carrier (APC) is a prime example.
The Ukrainian army received the Slovenian-funded M-55S tank, an upgraded version of the T-55, but Kyiv also wants more Israeli Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers. Whether the Achzarit APC will be sent to Ukraine is an issue that is attracting media attention.
Israel is known as an expert in converting enemy booty weapons, the Achzarit armored personnel carrier (APC) is a prime example, this heavy APC was converted from a T-54/55 tank. During the war with the Arab states in 1967, Israel seized a very large number of T-54/55 tanks that the Soviet Union supplied to its allies. Immediately Tel Aviv converted and commissioned them with the name Tiran. Realizing that the original 100 mm D-10T2S cannon on the T-54/55 tank was not powerful enough and caused logistical difficulties, Israel replaced it with the Western standard 105 mm M68 gun at that time.
By the early 1990s, the Tiran tanks had become obsolete, but instead of getting rid of them, Israel took the surprising step of removing the turret, redesigning the interior to turn the T-54/55 tanks into armored personnel carriers called the Achzarit. About 100 Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers have been in service with the Israeli Army after converting and removing spare parts from surplus Tiran tanks.
The Achzarit received additional armor protection, changed the chassis design with the rear door. It carries 7 fully equipped soldiers with a crew of 3, including driver, gunner and commander in charge of combat communications. The weapon system on the Achzarit is quite simple, consisting of only 1 or 2 7.62 mm machine guns, but when necessary, the vehicle can also be fitted with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or an automatic grenade launcher.
With the removal of the turret, the chassis weighs only 30 tons, but when put on the multi-purpose armor, it increases significantly. With a total weight of 44 tons, Achzarit is classified as a super-heavy armored personnel carrier, while rivals only weigh 15-25 tons. Despite its heavy weight, the protection of this APC is among the best in the world, even a 100 mm shell can hardly destroy Achzarit, while most armored personnel carriers can only against 25 – 30 mm ammunition.
For maneuverability, the vehicle is equipped with an 8V-92TA engine with a capacity of 710 horsepower and an Allison XTG-411-5A automatic transmission, for a top speed of 65 km/h and a range of 550 km. This heavy APC is not amphibious but with a short preparation can ford water obstacles up to 4 m deep.
It can be said that Achzarit is one of the very few armored personnel carriers with the best armor in the world today. Israel is currently working on a plan to install a 30mm cannon and anti-tank missiles to turn them into heavy infantry fighting vehicles. However, with the advent of a new generation of armored personnel carriers named Namer, much heavier and more modern, the Achzarits are gradually becoming redundant for the Israeli Army. Realizing that Tel Aviv intends to eliminate the aforementioned heavy APC, Ukraine has proposed to receive all of it to strengthen its armored force. But perhaps Ukraine is unlikely to receive these Achzarit APCs in the immediate future, because Israel does not want relations with Russia to deteriorate. It is possible that Kyiv will still receive them in the future, but that will be after the hostilities are over.