Israel’s Mighty Merkava Mk.4 Main battle Tank
Currently the Merkava Mk.4 is among 10 best main battle tanks in the world.
The Merkava Mk.4 Main Battle Tank (MBT) entered service with Israel Defense Forces in 2004. It is a further development of the Merkava Mk.3. A total of 360 of these tanks have already been built and another 300 have been ordered by Israeli Defense Forces.
For a long time these tanks were not available for export, though some of the tank’s systems and components were offered for the export customers. However in 2014 it was reported, that Israel will export a number of these tanks to an undisclosed customer, possibly Columbia. Currently the Merkava Mk.4 is among 10 best main battle tanks in the world.
Israeli Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank in action:
The Merkava Mk.4 is slightly larger than the previous Mk.3. The new MBT is one of the most protected tanks in the world. It has a new armor, comparing with predecessor. Hull of the Merkava Mk.4 was redesigned to install new engine. A front-mounted engine also provided improved frontal protection. The Mk.4 is also fitted with new modular armor, that can be reconfigured to match specific threats. Bottom of the hull has been strengthened for better protection against land мιɴᴇs.
Improved Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach tanks are fitted with a combat-proven Trophy active protection system, which destroys incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles. Protection suite also includes advanced threat identification and warning system. This MBT is also well protected against air-launched guided missiles and top attack anti-tank weapons.
The Merkava Mk.4 features an improved 120 mm smoothbore gun, developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI). It is a further development of the Merkava Mk.3 tank gun. This gun is designed to sustain higher pressure, generating higher muzzle velocity.
This MBT can fire various 120 mm rounds, including LAHAT anti-tank missiles. Also it can fire all standard NATO munitions. Ten rounds are stored in electrically-operated revolving magazine and are ready to fire at any time. Every single round is stored in a protective container, to protect the crew in case the ammunition explosion. Loader selects the ammunition type semi-automatically.
This main battle tank is equipped with new fire control system, that includes some very advanced features. One of them is a high hit probability firing against helicopters using conventional munitions.
Secondary armament includes coaxial 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns. There is another 7.62 mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. Furthermore the Merkava Mk.4 is fitted with internally-operated 60 mm mortar.
This main battle tank has a battle management system. It enables crew to plan missions, navigate and update their situation awareness. It also reports friendly units and enemy targets. Integrated battle management system combines tanks, anti-tank and artillery units and helicopters in a combined task force.
The Merkava Mk.4 has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.
Unique layout of Merkava series main battle tanks with front-mounted engines allowed to free space for the troops or cargo at the rear of the hull. When ammunition is unloaded the tank can carry up to 8 dismounts or 3 stretchers. Troops enter and leave the vehicle threw the rear hatch. This unique capability allows to deliver troops directly to the battlefield, or evacuate them.
This main battle tank is powered by General Dynamics 883 V-12 diesel engine. It develops 1 500 horsepower and delivers 25% more power comparing with the previous 1 200 hp engine on the Merkava Mk.3. This engine was originally developed by a German MTU company, but it is license-built by General Dynamics Land Systems in the USA. The same engine is used on the French Leclerc main battle tank. Engine pack and transmission are located at the front of the hull. It can be replaced in field conditions within 30 minutes.
Mιɴᴇ rollers can be fitted at the front of the hull.