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Nagmachon

With the success of the Achzarit [T54/T55 based] and Puma Combat Engineer Assault Vehicles, the IDF began looking around their armor graveyards for more refits. The most obvious choice was the large selection of Centurions falling apart and rusting away. These were rebuilt with a new engine and named the Nagmashot (circa 1983), the Nagmachon (circa 1980s) and the Nakpadon (circa mid 1990s). The main drawback of these vehicles was their lack of mobility and therefore, inability to support Markava MBTs.

Nagmachon is a heavily armoured armoured personnel carrier fielded by the Israel Defence Forces. The Nagmachon evolved from the NagmaSho't APC, which in turn was based on Centurion. It made its first appearance in the Lebanon Conquest, upsetting many Arabs who found their AT missiles bouncing off the APC's thick hide.

The Nagmachon is an improved version of the Nagmashot and Sho't. Nagmachon is an acronym for Nagmashot and Machon. Nagmashot is an acronym for Nagmash and Sho't; Nagmash is an acronym for Noseh Guysot Meshoryan, Sho't being a whip, the Hebrew name for the Centurion main battle tank; Machon is Hebrew for belly. Head-on photographs of the Nagmachon disclose an aditional layer (in some cases two layers) of armor plating on the underside of the hull.

The turret is removed and the space replaced by troop seats, a raised superstructure, and hatches. Machineguns ring the superstructure, and the engine is replaced with a smaller, more efficient design, allowing a small door in the rear of the vehicle.

The Nagmachon can be fitted with serveral devices in the front, including mine-breaching devices such as Nochri anti-mine system. Along with its heavy bully armour plate, this makes it ideal for breaching routes through mine-fields and booby-trapped areas. Therefore, it can be classtified as combat engineering vehicle (CEV).

The Nagmachon is very noteable due to the elevated pillbox turret, an elevated armoured cabin with shooting-sights and 7.62 mm machine guns, enabling the troops inside to shoot soft targets without being exposed to enemy's fire. This feature make it very efficient for urban warfare and security patrols.

The features which make it ideal for mine-clearing and urban warfare were proven valuable when the Nagmachon was heavily employed in the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Beside opening routes for other AFVs and patroling in hostile populated areas, it was also used to mobilize infantry and carry them in the Palestinian cities. Because of their elevated turret, Nagmachon CEVs supervised and secured armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers in dangerous combat zones and under fire.

The latest Nagmachon vehicles have increased belly armor for mine protection and a distinctive armored extension on the top, called the doghouse. Those features optimize it for counter-insurgency operations but reduce its capacity for traditional mechanized warfare. The Nagmachon weighs 52 tons, has a 750 hp engine, and carries a crew of 2 and 10 infantry.

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