In modern warfare, urban combat activity is increasing. Therefore, militaries of many countries are upgrading tanks into infantry fighting vehicles or Armoured Personnel Carriers.

Many years ago, Israel developed and put into service heavy armored personnel carriers that are effectively protected against the threat of anti-tank mines and direct fire. These are the Nakpadon and Nagmachon vehicles, which are developed based on the Centurion tank chassis..

The creation and development of the Nakpadon started during fighting in Lebanon. It was first introduced during the late 1990s, and has since served in southern Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza region. The Nakpadon is an improved version of the Nagmashot and Nagmachon which includes 3rd generation reactive armor and side skirts of “EKE” design. The rear section of side skirts can be raised or lowered. It is more shielded against mines and anti-tank missiles.

It uses a mixture of passive armor and explosive reactive armor packages for better survivability. Belly armor was also reinforced for better protection against land mines. Compared to the earlier Centurion conversions the Nakpadon has superior protection. Its armor cannot be penetrated by multiple RPG-7 hits and 20 mm armor-piercing rounds. Similar converted heavy armored personnel carriers significantly reduced number of Israeli casualties during the conflicts.

The Nakpadon has a crew of 2 and can carry 10 troops. Due to greater armored protection, it is heavier, weighing 55 tons more than the other vehicles. To compensate for this, a stronger engine is used. The vehicle is powered by an AVDS 1790-6A diesel engine, developing 900 horsepower. The same engine was used on the Merkava Mk.1 main battle tank. Most likely that transmission and suspension were also upgraded. The Nakpadon lacks mobility, however the emphasis was stressed on crew protection and survivability rather than on speed.

The tracked chassis provides the Nakpadon with good mobility in difficult terrain, albeit at low speed. The vehicle is very heavy and wide, restricting its mobility in urban terrain. The Nakpadon is armed with four 7.62mm FN MAG machine guns. These are used for suppressive fire in a self-defense role. The Nakpadon is intended as a front line vehicle, but not to engage the enemy using the vehicle. At least two of its machine guns are remote operated from under armor protection.

Basically Nakpadon was a temporary design for the later more advanced Namer heavy armored personnel carrier. Only a small number of these armored vehicles were constructed. The Nakpadon is used by the Israel defense force in limited numbers for special duties.


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