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AkhzaritThe Achzarit (Hebrew for "cruel woman") is an original Israeli APC. The IDF had captured T-54 and T-55 MBTs by the hundreds in the 1967 and 1973 wars. The turret was removed, and accommodation for troops was added. The Achzarit is considered by some to be one of the world's best armored APC's. The vehicle is constructed from IDF "combat proven" modular armor technology. The redesigned upper hull has rear personnel access. The Russian Army has recently adopted the Achzarit model - and it is now converting T-55 and T-54 tanks to the BTR-T APC.

The IDF trialed a Merkava based infantry carrier as early as the mid 1980s. Four machines were converted into heavy APCs and given the name Namer (Tiger) a designation later used by the Merkava based ARV. Because of financial constraints and the need to introduce Merkava MBTs into service as soon as possible, the decision was made to drop the Namer and proceed with the T-55-based Achzarit, supposed to be cheaper option. In fact, the work done converting the T-55 hulls proved more expensive than the original Merkava carrier.

Development of the heavy APC was conducted in Israel in the early 1980s, since the nature of combat operations in this region is specified on high saturation of the field of battle by rifle armament, including of caliber 12,7 and 14,5 mm and RPG, which moreover they are frequently adapted by Arab hits under the urban conditions. In 1988 enterprises in Israel began the series production of the Akhzarit heavy infantry combat vehicle on the base of Soviet tanks T-54 and T -55 (without the turret), seized in the Arab countries during armed conflicts.According to the intention of Israeli specialists, Akhzarit was intended for the joint combat employment with the Merkava tanks, and also for conducting the special operations. Eventually nearly 300 APC were re-equipped from 400 to 500 tanks of the series T-54/55.

The layout of the APC provides for the front location of the control compartment. The driver (sits to the left), commander (to the right) and gun layer (in the middle) are situated in the nose section of the housing. Their seats can be raised for the possibility of greater visibility while under power. For proteted observation, the driver has four periscopical instruments of observation are established/installed. In the roof are installed six prismatic blocks (2 to the left even 4 to the right). In the middle of the vehicle there is a landing compartment with the capacity of seven people. Three landing force members sit along the left side bench, the same number along the right on a hinged reversible bench, and one place is located at the stern partition of the comartment.

The motor-transmission compartment is located in the rear portion of the hull. The machine completely armored, with the large road wheels (installed with new torsion shafts, which ensure the larger dynamic motion of rollers). The first and the latter road wheels from each board/edge are equipped with hydro-rests, developed by the Israeli Aircraft Industries (the same as used to in the Merkava). The engine and transmission are substituted with the new power block, which consists of an eight-cylinder double measure Diesel engine. It is water cooled with a power of 485 kW (650 hp).

The characteristic property of the Akhzarit is the hatchway for the infantry landing, located in rear housing on the starboard. It has a narrow access ramp and the rising upward above the housing cover are walls with the hydraulic drive). As a result of high compactness of power block the machine has an exit for infantry landing to the side of the stern of housing, which is characteristic for many APCs of the countries of world. Furthermore, the stern arrangement of motor- transmission compartment made it possible to balance the installation of the intensive armor protection in the forward section of the housing.

Due to the installation of diverse types of powerful armor (of Israeli national development) the combat mass of the Akhzarit APC was about 44 tons, while the basic tank T-54/55 it was 36 tons. The width of the machine in comparison with the T-54/55 tank was increased by 370 mm, reaching 3640 mm. The Akhzarit is provided with a higher level of the protection of armor, and survivability is increased due to the low silhouette (the height along the roof of hull is approximately 2000 mm). Around the fighting compartment there is a heavier armoring, and some armored plates, installed on the edges and on the reasr of the hull. Each working place of crew and landing is equipped with hatchways in the roof of the hull.

The basic armament of machine is the remote machine-gun installation OWS (Overhead Weapon Station) of the firm of Rafael, which mounts a 7.62-mm machine gun. The shooting is conducted with the aid of the remote control or by gun layer from the hatchway. In the first case the aiming is accomplished through the periscope sight, which is the part of the OWS system and has day and night (with the amplifier of image) branches. Three 7.62-mm machine guns are used as the additional armament: one on the usual pintle installation of commander hatchway and two on the hatchways from behind. The machine is equipped with the filtered ventilation installation (individual type) and fire extinguisher system.

In the forward section of the hull in the small niches to the right and to the left are installed the smoke grenade dischargers, six in each, a production of company Israel Military Industries, which also are used on the Israeli basic combat tanks. For the use there are several varieties of smoke of national production. Furthermore, is provided setting smoke screen with the aid of the injection of fuel into the exhaust pipe.

The new modification Akhzarit Mk2, which differs from base version in terms of the presence of the new power block, which is a more powerful diesel, a Detroit 8v-92ta with a power of 850 hp, with an Allison hydromechanical transmission. All these changes made it possible to increase the specific power and pick-up of the machine.

The conclusion of foreign specialists is that the Akhzarit heavy APC is a well protected means of the transport of infantry landing on the field of battle, which ensures to it reserved dismounting. In contrast to other machines, the Akhzarit does not have cupola with 20 or 30- mm by gun, but it possesses low silhouette and high level of armor protection of the hull, which ensures the crew high protection on the field of battle from the contemporary weapons of destruction, and also the possibility to act in contaminated area.

The Achzarit commenced service in 1988 and can carry up to 8 men + crew and equipment.


  • Achzarit ambulance has an interior in order to transport the injured. Externally there are few, if any differences.
  • Achzarit doghouse is equipped for urban combat with a doghouse to 8 panels and windows on 7 sides [these cannot open].
  • Achzarit "aquarium" is equipped for urban combat with what has been called an aquarium that is distinguished from the doghouse by the hex 5 equipped with windows and a hatch on the top allowing the exit of soldiers or tankmen.
  • Achzarit RCWS-30 EC prototype is equipped with a cannon fully based electronics of the Israeli Rafael company.
  • Achzarit Hatap, a new version was first seen in early 2010, is a version that is less for routing and transport of troops but more for engineering and troubleshooting. According to the vehicle flag it belongs to the ordnance Corps.
  • The AVBL [Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge] is recognized with a collapsible bridge folded over the vehicle. Little information on this version, except that it would be of Czech origin and a small number were captured and reused.
  • The ARV [Armor Recovery Vehicle] is a Czechoslovak version of the Soviet T-54 . After capture by the IDF they underwent changes such as the addition of caissons or adaptation of .30 calibre gun.
  • The ATS-59 were used by Egypt and by Syria as well. They were mainly used as artillery tractor. ATS-59-cabin has the same gear as the ATS-59 with the same functions (towing of artillery, troop transport, equipment...) but with a different cab form. It is not confirmed that this gear has been reused by Israel after its capture.

Akhzarit Akhzarit Akhzarit Akhzarit

Weight44 tonnes
Length6.20 m
Width3.60 m
Height+ 2 m (estimate)
Crew3 + 7 infantry
Armor200 mm
Main armament
  • 2 7.62 mm machine gun
  • 1 7.62 mm Rafael Overhead Weapon Station
  • Enginediesel 850 hp (630 kW)
    Power/weight19 hp/tonne
    Operational range 600 km
    Speed65 km/h

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    Page last modified: 05-11-2014 20:18:44 ZULU