The Achzarit (אכזרית in Hebrew: "cruel", female inflection) is a heavily armored armored personnel carrier manufactured by the Israeli Defence Forces Corps of Ordnance.
The Achzarit is based on the Soviet
-built T-54/T-55 tank
, beginning with those captured from Arab
armies during the Arab-Israeli wars
. The IDF took the old T-55 tank and removed its turret. The chassis was modified for troop carriage by adding a troop compartment and a rear door. The original Soviet-made water-cooled diesel engine
was replaced with a more compact and powerful diesel engine, and other internal systems were upgraded. Reactive armor
was installed over the original armored tank chassis. The APC was created in 1988.
The Achzarit Mk 1
has a 650-hp engine, while the Mk 2
has an 850-hp engine.
It is armed with three 7.62 mm machine guns, including one Rafael Overhead Weapons Station, a machine gun controlled from within the cabin, developed by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
As a lesson from the Second Intifada, a bulletproof glass turret was installed over one of the hatches to allow the commander to see outside well without being exposed to sniper fire and shrapnel.
Several Achzarit are equipped with 12.7mm Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station in place of the standard 7.62mm Rafael Overhead Weapon Station.
Because of its heavy armor, the Achzarit is sometimes called a heavy APC (HAPC). Achzarit APCs are in service with the IDF Golani Brigade
, which operates near the Lebanese
border and in the northern part of the West Bank
and with part of the IDF Givati Brigade
Achzarit APCs took part in Operation Rainbow in Rafah, after a comparatively lightly-armored M113 APC was destroyed by an RPG round.