After its inception, the Israeli Army quickly grew as a specialist in urban warfare, modifying a slew of armored combat vehicles to better protect crewmen in confined fighting spaces. When the Sho't series of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) (based in the classic British Centurion MBT) had officially given up their usefulness, the service turned some of the outgoing stock into the "NagmaSho't" Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). This series, in turn, was improvised to become the heavier, and better protected "Nagmachon" line, a tracked, self-propelled Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle (HIFV) built around the primary role of crew and systems survival.
Heavy, plodding armored vehicles generally hold a distinct disadvantage in the close confines of urban warfare so special attention had to be paid to general survivability as attacks can appear from any angle when facing a determined, fluid foe. As such, armor protection is the principle quality in HIFVs.
The Nagmachon series would go on to be used in various battlefield roles including troop ferrying and engineering. While retaining much of the form and function of the Centurion tank, including its powertrain involving a diesel-fueled engine and track-and-wheel arrangement, the Nagmachon was completed with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) panels along its sides (protecting the track run) while keeping the inherently stout armor protection of the Centurion MBT - providing multiple layers of defense against Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs). The more vulnerable underside of the hull was also enhanced to increased vehicle survivability against land mines originating from under the vehicle. Beyond this, the front of the hull was modified to accept a variety of engineering components including a dozer blade and mine-detonation equipment.
The key physical quality of the Nagmachon became its lack of a traversing turret. As an IFV, it did not require the firepower of a true combat tank but, instead, was fitted with a fixed three-man armored bunker-of-sorts. The housing was affixed with thick vision blocks for limited situational awareness and various protrusions were added to keep explosives from being flung (and stuck) onto the slab-sided panels of the structure. The structure was further defended by 2 x FN MAG General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) giving the HIFV an adequate defensive capability when entering contested zones.
Internally, the operating crew became two made up of a driver and vehicle commander. Up to 10 combat-ready passengers could be housed, several of these personnel manning the machine guns when necessary. Power was from a single ADVS-1790-2AC diesel-fueled engine developing 750 horsepower at 2,400rpm. The track-and-wheel arrangement saw six double-tired roadwheels to each hull side with the drive sprocket at rear and the track idler at front.
Overall weight reached 52 tonnes while dimensions included an overall length of 7.85 meters and a beam of 3.38 meters.
The Israeli Army currently (2020) fields an unknown number of Nagmachon HIFVs and several other HIFV forms have been added to the fighting inventory including the "Achzarit" (based on captured T-54 MBT tank chassis) and "Namer" (based in the Merkava MBT tank chassis) - both of these entries are detailed elsewhere on this site.