The Israeli army and defense industry is particularly experienced in converting main battle tanks into heavy armored personnel carriers.

Developed on the chassis of the Centurion main battle tank from the 1970s and 1980s, the Nagmachon has increased armor protection and enlarged superstructure compared to the previous Nagmashot. The result is an armored vehicle with a strange appearance, completely different from other armored personnel carriers.

From combat experience in the Lebanon War in 1982, the Israel Defense Forces wanted a heavier armored personnel carrier to increase the level of protection for the crew and soldiers. Nagmashot APC was developed based on the Centurion hull but did not meet the requirements of the Israeli army. Soldiers entering and leaving the vehicle had to clamber on top of it, where they were exposed to small arms fire and shrapnel, as lacked a rear door.

Nagmachon was then born, as an evolution of the previous Nagmashot. To increase the level of protection for the soldiers, a fully enclosed superstructure was placed in the center of the hull. Sometimes also known as a “doghouse”. The distinctive raised superstructure, which became an ideal platform for counter-insurgency and urban operations, seeing much use in the al-Aqsa Intifada within the disputed territories and southern Lebanon in 2006. It is often used as an engineering vehicle and a carrier for sappers, although its main role has been to carry infantry.

The Nagmachon can be fitted with serveral devices in the front, including mine-breaching devices such as Nochri anti-mine system. The vehicle carries thick belly armour designed to withstand mine-blasts, this makes it an ideal platform for breaching routes through mine-fields and booby-trapped areas. Although the vehicle can be used to perform engineering tasks, it is mostly used with infantry forces. The Nagmachon also carries explosive reactive armour to counter HEAT rounds, such as rocket propelled grenades.

Because of the exposure of the crew to enemy fire, three armor panels were attached to the superstructure’s roof. These panels were equipped with vision blocks of armored glass. Between the panels, two pintle-mounted 7,62 FN MAG machine guns were placed. The Nagmachon is equipped with four IS-10 grenade launchers. These contain ten grenades each of the CL-3030 type, being smoke grenades.

The reinforcement of layers of protection makes the vehicle weight up to 52 tons, the maximum speed is only 45 km/h, the operating range is only 185 km, and carries a crew of 2 and 10 infantry. Despite being appreciated for its protection, but limited in maneuverability, bulky turrets, and weak firepower, the role of the Nagmachon armored personnel carrier was replaced by the more modern Puma armored vehicle.

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