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Merkava 4

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Merkava 4 MBT

Main Battle Tank - Israel

Merkava 4 IV MBT Main Battle Tank Israel 925 001


Development of the Merkava Mk 4 started in the early 1990s and its existence was first revealed in 2002. The first production of Merkava Mk 4 MBTs was delivered to the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and the first battalion was fully operational in 2004. The Merkava IV represents the third evolution of the Merkava main battle tank family. The Merkava Mk 4 will start to replace the older US-supplied upgraded General Dynamics Land Systems M60A1 series MBTs. The first battalion of Merkava Mk 4 tanks entered service with the Israel Defence Forces in 2004. The tank is capable of carrying eight infantry soldiers, a command group, or three litter patients (stretcher casualties) in addition to the tank crew of commander, loader, gunner, and driver. The tank is capable of firing on the move at moving targets and has demonstrated high hit probability in firing against attack helicopters using conventional anti-tank munitions.

Merkava 4 MBT variants:

- Merkava 4 LIC: The Merkava is equipped with a turret 12.7 mm caliber coaxial machine gun which enables the crew to lay down fairly heavy cover fire without the use of the main gun, which is relatively ineffective against individual enemy combatants. The most sensitive areas of a tank, its optics, exhaust ports and ventilators, are all protected by a newly developed high-strength metal mesh. Rubber whip pole-markers with LED tips and a driver's rear-facing camera have been installed to improve navigation and maneuverability in an urban environment by day or by night.
- Merkava Barak:  New design and development of the Merkava IV. It will be the first tank to have a smart mission computer that will manage the tank’s tasks. This advanced artificial intelligence will reduce the team members’ workload and help them more accurately locate and strike targets.
- Merkava Windbreaker: the latest generation of Israeli-made Merkava IV with Rafael Trophy APS (Active Protection System) nicknamed Merkava Mark IVM Windbreaker, is one of the most protected Main Battle Tanks (MBT) in the world.

Technical Data

The main armament is a 120 mm smoothbore gun developed by Israel Military Industries that is a further development of that installed in the Merkava Mk 3. The Merkava Mk4 can fire a full range of 120mm ammunition types, including 120mm APFSDS-FS (kinetic) rounds, and their training derivatives, HEAT (hollow-charge) types, and anti-personnel/anti-material ammunitions. The secondary 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. The roof-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun can be aimed and fired by the commander from within the turret under complete armor protection and can be traversed through a full 360º.
Design and protection
The Merkava 4 has a new all-electric turret developed by Elbit and its subsidiary El-Op. Only one hatch is installed in the turret, the commander's hatch. The turret is mounted to the rear side of the hull. Around the lower part of the turret, rear chains hang down vertically to help detonate any anti-tank devices with a High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead before they impact the main armor of the Merkava Mk. 4. In addition, the ballistic protection includes roof protection that provides a capability against overhead attacks. As there is only one roof hatch it is easier to protect the roof with a new passive armor system.
The fighting compartment and turret occupy the rear of the vehicle, with an entrance hatch being provided in the hull rear. As with late production Merkava Mk 3s, the new Mk 4 turret has an elliptical shape to its front and sides with a storage basket at the rear. In earlier versions of the Merkava, there was a roof hatch for the commander (right) and loader (left), but the latest Mk 4 only has a roof hatch for the commander. In the Merkava Mk 4 the ballistic protection is modular and is claimed to provide more effective protection against modern threats involving both protection efficiency and coverage area. Installation of the new 1,500 hp powerpack has allowed for a redesign of the hull of the Merkava Mk 4 that has improved frontal protection. The driver's field of view has also been improved as there is no longer a bulge to the right side of the hull. Merkava IV is fitted with a modular special armour covers the turret. The tank is protected against a range of threats, including air-launched precision-guided missiles and advanced and top-attack anti-tank weapons. Automatic fire detection and suppression has been installed. The underside of the hull has been fitted with additional armor protection against mines. The latest generation of Merkava IV is now equipped with the Trophy active protection system developed by the Israeli Company Rafael. The Trophy is a situational awareness and active protection hard kill system that operates in three major stages: Threat detection and threat tracking followed by hard kill countermeasure (Multiple Explosive Formed Penetrators – MEFP) activation and threat neutralization. The neutralization process takes place only if the threat is about to hit the platform. The Trophy active protection system creates a hemispheric protected zone around the vehicle where incoming threats are intercepted and defeated. The Trophy system is able to intercept any incoming HEAT threat, including RPG rockets at a range of 10 – 30 meters from the protected platform. The Trophy was declared operational by the IDF in August 2009 and is currently in full production. Merkava 4 tanks integrated with Trophy active protection systems are presently being deployed in combat areas along Israel's borders.
The Merkava 4 is powered by a V-12 diesel engine rated at 1,500hp. The engine compartment and one fuel tank are at the front of the tank and two fuel tanks are at the back. The new engine represents a 25% increase in power compared to the 1,200hp powerpack installed on the Merkava 3. The Mk 4 Merkava has six rubber-tired roadwheels on either side with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear, and four track-return rollers. Each roadwheel is suspended by a separate helical spring with suspension arms for two roadwheels, each caged in a housing.
Combat Equipment
Merkava 4 is equipped with a modern fire control and sighting system which includes computerized ballistic calculations and compensations, dual axes stabilized gunner sight and a dual-axis stabilized commander panoramic sight, both equipped with advanced FLIR and TV channels for day and night operation. The Merkava IV is also fitted with a Battle Management System (BMS) designed by Elbit Systems' ElOp - the system provides fast communication networking between the commander and subordinate units and enables the crew to plan missions, navigate, and continuously update their situation awareness. The system also enables the Commander's BMC tactical display system as used in the Merkava Mk4 to record and debrief the operation, by utilizing the tank's digital recorder.


Armament Armor
One 120 mm rifled gun, three 7,62 mm machine guns, one 12,7 mm machine gun, one mortar 60 mm, and 12 smoke dischargers. Composite matrix of laminated ceramic-steel-nickel alloy. Sloped modular design.
Country users Weight
Israel 65,000 kg
Designer Country Speed
Israel 60 km/h
Combat Equipment Range
Firing gun computer control system, NBC protection system, night vision 500 km
Crew Dimensions
4 Length: 7.6 m hull; Width: 3.72 m; Height: 2.66 m

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Merkava 4 IV main battle tank Israeli army Israel pictures technical data sheet specifications description identification IDF Israeli Defence Forces Merkava 4 IV main battle tank Israeli army Israel pictures technical data sheet specifications description identification IDF Israeli Defence Forces
Merkava 4 IV main battle tank Israeli army Israel pictures technical data sheet specifications description identification IDF Israeli Defence Forces Merkava 4 IV main battle tank Israeli army Israel pictures technical data sheet specifications description identification IDF Israeli Defence Forces

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