Israel’s Defence Ministry has awarded a contract worth an estimated $400m to General Dynamics to build 600 Namer armoured personnel carriers (APC) over the next eight years.

The turretless vehicle is based on the Merkava MK4 tank chassis developed after the 2006 Lebanon War and can carry 11 soldiers, including a commander and driver.

The Namer is equipped with the Iron Fist active-protection system to intercept and destroy rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and tank shells whilst carrying machine guns, missile launchers and reconnaissance equipment.

The vehicle has advanced defensive systems and an internal air-conditioning unit to continue operating in areas soiled by non-conventional weapons.

The production costs will be covered with foreign military financial aid from the US, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) launched the Namer armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) programme in 2007, and funded the construction of 15 pilot vehicles in 2008.