BARAK Merkava V tank enters into service with Israeli army to perform field test capabilities

According to a Tweet published by Odi F., the latest generation of Israeli-made Main Battle Tank nicknamed "BARAK" or Merkava 5 entered into service with the Israeli army to perform field test capabilities. The tank is now in service with the 52nd Battalion of the 401st Armored Brigade.
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Latest generation of Israeli-made Merkava IV fitted with Trophy APS Active Protection System. (Picture source Wikimedia)

The 401st "Iron Tracks" is an Armored Brigade in the 162nd Division of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). This brigade is under the command of the Southern Command and consists mostly of Merkava Mark IV tanks.

Based on the experience in the design, development and production of the earlier Merkava Mk 1, Mk 2, and Mk 3 MBTs, which are covered in a separate entry, Israel has developed the improved Merkava Mk 4. The Merkava 5 is an improved version of the Merkava IV that integrates the latest technologies and innovations in protection and digital combat capabilities.

The design of the Merkava is very similar to the Merkava IV consisting of the driver position located on the left side of the hull, the turret at the rear of the hull, and the engine at the front. The tank has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner, and loader.

The Merkava V has the same armament as the Merkava IV consisting of one 120mm smooth-bore gun that has been developed by Israel Military Industries able to fire high-penetration projectiles and guided shells with a firing range of up to 4,000 m. The second armament consists of a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, a 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on the right side of the turret roof, and an internally mounted 60 mm breech-loaded mortar.

One of the most important improvements of the Merkqava V is the integration of the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) designed to counter the most advanced anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank rockets, and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. TROPHY creates a neutralization bubble around the vehicle. It rapidly detects, classifies and engages all known chemical energy (CE) threats – including recoilless rifles, ATGMs, AT rockets, HEAT tank rounds, and RPGs.

The new Merkava 5 is fitted with day/night cameras providing a 360° view around the tank. The tank commander is equipped with a digital helmet providing a 3D view of the battlefield and all the data to conduct combat operations. The helmet provides all information about the target, which ammunition must be fired as well as visual signals for damage in the tank.

The Merkava V also includes new sensors enabling it to independently acquire targets and strike them rapidly, as well as deploy electronic-warfare capabilities and advanced processing systems. Many of the new capabilities have been outlined in the Defense Ministry’s Carmel next-generation fighting vehicle program, which was awarded to Israel Aerospace Industries in October 2021.

In terms of mobility, the Merkava V is motorized with a V-12 diesel engine developing 1,500 hp coupled to a Renk automatic transmission with 5 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum road speed of 64 km with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.