According to the program of development of the armed forces of Israel military industry of the country by 1989 was able to create actually a new Merkava tank (Мегкаvа) MK.Z. The Lebanese campaign of 1982, in which machines “Merkava” MK.1 and “Merkava” MK.2 participated in the fighting, showed that they can still be amazed by the 125-mm projectiles the main of their opponent on the field of battle T-72 tank. Therefore, based on the concept of Israel’s military leadership “to protect the crew — above all”, once again at the forefront were put the problem of improving the tank’s protection. The designers used the new car an upgraded modular armour — steel packs-boxes with several layers of special armor inside. They are mounted with bolt connections to the surface of the machine, forming additional built-in dynamic protection of the so-called passive type. With the destruction of the module it can be easily replaced by another.

Have installed this armor on the body, covering the engine-transmission compartment (MTO), a head-over-caterpillar part, and the tower on the roof and sides, thus reinforcing the “upper” surface of the tank in case of hit of a shell. The length of the tower has increased by 230 mm.

Side shields for protection of the chassis complements the inner side of the 25-mm steel sheets.

Specific security measures adopted to protect the bottom from mines and homemade bombs and explosive devices. The bottom of the “Mercan” done /-shaped, smooth, of the two steel plates — top and bottom between which is filled fuel. It was believed that this kind of tank will be able to further improve crew protection from explosions. In The “Merkava” MK.W here the fuel fill did not: decided that the crash pulse, the air still holds weaker than any liquid.

Fighting in Lebanon showed weak protection of the tank from the stern, because when hit by RPG grenades was detonation of the ammunition located there. Was very simple: set a behind the body extra armored fuel tanks. While the filtration installation was moved to the feeding niche of the tower, and the battery — only niche. In addition, the stern still hung on the hinges “safety” basket with outer aluminium sheets. They fit spare parts and personal belongings of the crew. As a result, the length of the tank has increased by almost 500 mm.

To improve the agility and mobility of the machine is forced up to 900 HP engine AVDS-1790-5A was replaced by a 1200-horsepower AVDS-1790-9AR V-12, working together with domestic hydromechanical transmission Ashot. New engine — diesel, 12-cylinder, air-cooled, V-neck with a turbocharger is provided a power density of 18.5 HP/t and was designed the same as the previous, the American company General Dinamics Land Systems.




Tank “Merkava” MK.3

Suspension a set of six rollers and five support on Board. Drive wheels — front. Truckee — metal open hinge. The suspension was left independent. However, on the supporting rollers began to use a dual helical springs on four middle rollers set of hydraulic dampers of rotary type, and front and rear hydraulic suspension. The progress of the rollers was increased to 604 mm. the Smoothness of the tank is greatly improved.

Used built-in mechanism of a tension of caterpillars, which gave the crew the ability to adjust them without leaving the tank.

The tracks have all-steel tracks with an open joint. When driving on paved roads, they can change tracks with retinolacetate.


A new weapons control system (FCS) Abir or Knight (“knight”, “Knight”), mounted on a tank, developed by the Israeli firm Elbit. Sight stabilized in two planes . Day optical sight, the gunner has a 12-fold increase in a, TV — 5-fold. A commander is a 4-and 14-fold panoramic sight that provides circular scanning of the targets and battlefield surveillance. In addition, the assembled optical branch removal from the gunner’s sight.

Due to this, the commander can give the gunner with target acquisition when shooting, and if necessary, to duplicate the shooting.

The power of the fire of the tank increased with the replacement of 105-mm M68 gun 120-mm smoothbore MG251, which is similar to the German “Rheinmetall” Rh-120 from the tank “Leopard 2” and the American M256 from “Abrams”. This gun was manufactured under license by the Israeli firm Slavin Land Systems Division of Israel Military concern Indastries. It was first shown at an exhibition of arms in 1989, Its total length 5560 mm installation weight — 3300 kg, width — 530 mm. To embed in the tower, it requires a recess 540×500 mm.

Thanks to the upgraded small wheel device with concentric retarder and pneumatic nachalnikom gun has dimensions equal to the M68, which allowed her to enter the tower of the limited volume, like the “Merkava” MK.Z. It stabilized in two planes and has an elevation angle of +20° and the declination is 7°. The barrel is fitted with fume extractor and ejector, covers the insulating housing firms Wishy (“Vichy”).

Shooting is specially designed in Israel, armor-piercing projectiles М711 and multi-M325 — cumulative and high-explosive. It can also be used 120-mm shells NATO. In the tank ammunition includes 48 rounds Packed in containers for two or four. Five of them originally designed to fire, conveniently placed in the drum of an automatic loader. Feed system shot semi-automatic. By pressing the foot pedal loader lifts the shot to the level of the breech and then manually Doyle it into the breech. A similar loading system was previously used on a Soviet tank T-55.

The tower also has paired 7.62-mm machine gun FN MAG Israeli licensed production, equipped with electric trigger. On the turrets before the hatches commander and loader are two of the same gun for firing at air targets.


The kit includes weapons and 60-mm mortar. All transactions with it — loading, aiming, shooting can be made directly from the fighting compartment. Ammunition that is in a niche of the tower is 30 min, including lighting, high-explosive and smoke.

On the sides of the front of the tower mounted six-barrel blocks 78,5 mm smoke grenade launchers CL-3030 for the production of camouflage smoke screens.

On “Merkava” MK.Z used the warning system about the detection of electromagnetic radiation, LWS-3, developed in Israel by Amcoram. Three wide-angle optical laser sensor installed on the sides of the turret and the gun mask, provide all-round visibility, a signal notifying the crew about the seizure of the machine with a laser beam anti-tank systems, advanced air controllers, radar stations of the enemy. The azimuth of the radiation source is displayed on the display of the commander who shall immediately take any effective measures to protect the tank.

To protect the crew from weapons of mass destruction in the rear of the turret is mounted the filtering and ventilating unit, allowing you to create excess pressure inside the tank to prevent ingress of radioactive dust or toxic substances. In the body of the tank there is air conditioning, especially needed when operating in hot climates.

The machine is also equipped with another protective system Spec-tronix — fire-fighting equipment. It is used as extinguishing agent gas gallon.

The first serial tanks MK.3 was released in April 1990

Soon, however, production was suspended and resumed only at the beginning of next year. In 1994 they were replaced by another model — the MK.THIS with improved armor protection of the tower. Also changed the shape of the hatch loader. Air introduced in the filtration system.

The modification to the fire control system Abir Mk III (English name Knight Mk III) called the “Merkava” MK.THIS Baz. Such machines have adopted in 1995, and began producing in 1996 and Finally in 1999 he started the production of the latest model “treshki” — MK.THIS Baz dor Dalet (MK.S “bet Baz Dor Dalet”), or abbreviated as Mk.3D. On the casing around the tower put the armor model of the so-called 4-th generation, which improved the tower of its sides and turret podraza. Put the modules on the roof of the tower.

A new fire control system consists of an electronic ballistic computer, sensors of the firing conditions, stable combo — night and day — the gunner’s sight with integrated laser rangefinder, automatic target tracking. The sight — with a 12-fold increase and 5-fold at night the canal is located in the front of the roof of the tower. Meteorological sensors, if necessary, can clean the body of the tank.





“Merkava” MK.3:

1 — insulation jacket of the gun barrel; 2 — ejector; 3 — sensor warning system with laser detection; 4 — the weather sensor; 5 — anti shaped-charge circuit with balls; 6 — a steering wheel; 7 — side screen; 8 — support roller; 9 — manhole cover MTO; 10 — driving wheel; 11 — 120-mm gun; 12 — anti-aircraft 7.62-mm machine gun commander; 13 — surveillance device commander; 14 — commander’s cupola; 15 — feed cart; 16 — safety basket; 17 — cover loader; 18 — anti-aircraft 7.62-mm machine gun loader; 19 — front patch module of the tower; 20 — a surveillance device of the driver; 21 — gun cartridge loader; 22 — the ammunition box machine gun commander; 23 — rear mud flap; 24 — track; 25 — door rear hatchway; 26 — lower rear sheet; 27 — rear left side marker light; 28 — lower front hull plates; 29 — the front mudguard; 30 — right side headlight

The commander uses the wide-angle movable periscope observations, providing circular scanning of the targets and battlefield surveillance, as well as stabilized scope 4-and 14-fold, day and night optical branches of the withdrawal from the gunner’s sight.

MSA is associated with a two-plane gun stabilizer and re-designed electric actuators for its guidance and reversal of the tower.

Implementation of automatic target tracking (ASC) has significantly increased the possibility of defeat, even of moving objects when shooting with speed, providing precision fire. With it comes automatic tracking the target after the gunner caught her in the target frame. Tracking eliminates the influence of the conditions of the fight to restore the gun.

The production of tanks models MK.H continued until the end of 2002 it is believed that between 1990 and 2002 in Israel has released a 680 (according to other sources — 480) “Mercan” MK.Z.

It should be noted that the cost of the machines grew as their modernization. Thus, the production of the “Merkava” MK.2 at a cost of $ 1.8 million, and MK.Z — already $ 2.3 m in 1989 prices


Modification of the tank “Merkava” MK.Z

Merkava MK.Z (“Merkava Siman 3”) — a serial produced instead of the tank “Merkava” MK.2B. 120-mm smoothbore gun MG251, diesel AVDS-1790-9AR capacity of 1200 HP, the MSA “Matador MK.Z” modular booking hull and turret, electrical drives, turret and hull.

MK.ZV (“Merkava Simon 3 bet”) is replaced in mass production MK.S, installed the upgraded turret armor protection.

MK.THIS Baz (“Merkava Simon 3 bet Baz”) — implemented FCS Baz (Knight Mk.lll, “knight”), operating in automatic mode tracking. The tank commander has an independent panoramic sight.

MK.THIS Baz dor Dalet (“Merkava Simon 3 bet Baz Dor Dalet”) — with armor new configuration — fourth-generation on the tower.

All-metal rollers.


Tank “Merkava” MK.4

Tank “Merkava” MK.4 was first shown at one of the international exhibitions June 24, 2002, although officially it was transferred to army trials in December 2001, production of the car began in early 2003, after removing from the conveyor the model MK.Z.

The first tank MK.4 went in the 1st training squadron of the 46th battalion of the 401 brigade 27 July 2003 Re-equipment of the battalion staffing ended in the summer of 2004, and the whole team in the beginning of next year. Earlier in the brigade were the tanks of the MAGI-6 – version of the American M60A1. Since that time, the armored troops began to arrive tanks only Israeli production. Them by the end of 1995 armed with several teams.

Representatives of military command of Israel defense forces (IDF) did not stint flatter words in the address “Merkava” MK.4, considering that “it has all the new and best”, and what qualities a tank is far superior to past models. It belonged to his security and power weapons.


Flat tower


Flat tower “Merkava” MK.4 – external hallmark of its predecessors

The turret was fitted with the new special armor modules. They closed not only her forehead, sides, rear, but the roof, significantly increasing protection from projectiles aimed from the upper hemisphere. Because of this I had to remove the loader hatch and the hatch of the commander to make more massive, providing it with special electric mechanism for opening. Due to the modules changed the configuration of the tower – she received a “stepped” profile.

To improve visibility of the road and surrounding areas on the housing placed four video cameras, image which is transmitted directly to the display driver. This system TST (Tank Sight System) provides visibility day and night. It is developed by Vectop (“Vector”).

Avoid hitting the tank commander during the fighting in the urban environment it has provided a small commander’s cupola. Moved to the top of the turret gunner. The gun was supplied by a massive mask. Removed the grille, air intake on only the niches, leaving only one exhaust on the starboard side. On the rear of the turret, like on the early models, hung anticumulative metal chain with balls, covering her lower part from the impact of the RPG grenades. To facilitate maneuvering in narrow places put on the body of the marker pins.

World first foreign tank “Merkava” MK.4 was equipped with active protection system Trophy (“Trophy”) produced by Israeli companies RAFAEL Armament Development Authority Ltd. and the Israel Aircraft Industries ELTA. Its creation called Israel “a revolution in systems of protection of armored vehicles”. The system gave “the ability to detect, identify, track and destroy advanced anti-tank missiles at a considerable distance from the protected vehicle in order not to cause damage”.

“Trophy” was exhibited at the Second international exhibition on conflict in tel Aviv in March 2005.

It should be noted that a similar system of “Blackbird” or “arena” was used on Soviet tanks in the mid 1980s, According to information sources, “Trophy” was their processing.

This radar system detects and identificeret flying to the tank rockets or grenades RPG. The computer calculates the trajectory of the approaching warhead and commands the launcher. Those thrown towards him explosive shaped charge, which destroys the warhead of the munition before it reaches the tank. The radar has four antenna located at the corners of the hull front and aft, which provide the search in the sector of 360°. Two launchers are on the sides of the tank.



“Merkava” Mk.4

The total mass of the system for MK.4 is 771 kg. It has automatic reloading and is able to simultaneously track several missiles from different angles. Cost about 200 thousand dollars.

“Trophy” adds a system alert that triggers when it detects a laser pointing at the car.

Improved smooth-bore 120-mm gun can withstand the higher pressure of the barrel, which allows to use developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI) more powerful high-explosive shells М339 Kalanit (“Actinium”), the fuse is programmed for a specific task already in the loading chamber of the gun barrel, which increases the efficiency of their use for different purposes, be it infantry or vehicles, tanks or fortifications. In the latter case, for example, the shell first breaks through the barrier, and then inside the object triggered the warhead is filled with striking elements.

Semi-automatic loader guns mounted behind the armored wall in a niche of the tower. His electric drum 10 shots on their own gives them charged. Each of the 38 shots the rest Packed in a protective container to prevent explosion inside the turret and in the hull in case of hit of a shell in the tank.


From the same 120-mm gun can be firing shells LАНАТ. They are controlled by laser beam and have a semi-active laser homing head. After the departure of the projectile from the gun barrel starts its boosters and stabilizers are disclosed.

Tandem shaped-charge warhead is designed to overcome the active protection system purpose.

Gun has integral heat-insulating cover, which improves the efficiency of shooting from it, and also significantly reduces the wear of the barrel.

In addition to guns, the tank is armed with coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. The other is the same, is mounted on a turret on the starboard side of the tower. This weapon, the commander can fire even remotely from inside the tower at 360°. The regular one is and 60-mm mortar, and a new design breech-loading. The tower mounted magazine smoke grenade launchers.

The fire control system “Merkava” MK.4 – tracking of targets. It includes advanced thermal imaging and TV channels. The commander and gunner have independent stabilized with the thermal sights.


“Merkava” Mk.4

Firm Еlbit have developed to a MK.4 tank information and management control system (TIUS), which provides continuous monitoring of the situation on the battlefield with the constant displays it on electronic map on a color display. All information elements of the machine sensors, rangefinder, navigation equipment, other equipment – connected unified control algorithm, the processing and display of the data. Jobs commander and gunner are United in a local network and automatically track and report the situation in terms of warfare. This allows the commander to quickly assess the situation and make the right decisions, gives a great opportunity to promptly detect and engage enemy targets.

The system displays the situation in real time and gives you the opportunity to exchange information with the crews of other tanks.

The weight of the tank MK.4 is 65 so he was put in 1500-horsepower diesel GD883 American company “General dynamics”. This engine under the designation MTU883 was developed by the German company MTU Friedrichshafen and manufactured in the USA under license.

New the tank engine MK.4 differs from installed on other models improved mass-dimensional indicators, specific performance parameters, fuel efficiency. Increase liter power demanded improvement of the turbocharging system with air cooling, improving the efficiency of liquid cooling, the intensity of the oil cooling the pistons. The embedded individual fuel pumps with electro-hydraulic regulating system fuel supply. Thanks to the use of the oil pan to the special design and the associated extension of the flat oil tank, possible engine performance at all heel and trim differences.

MTU883 done in a single power block with a new automatic transmission RK325 German company Renk (“Renk”), hydromechanical with a hydrostatic mechanism of rotation. Management of power plant is made by the computer to give the required information about the work the driver of the tank. The exhaust pipe located on the starboard side.

On MK.4 is provided with an automatic fire extinguishing system and the system of collective NBC protection. Aft on the port side for ease of manoeuvring reversing the video camera, the outstanding image on the monitor driver.

Tanks “Merkava” battle

In the Lebanon war in 1982 on the Israeli side of the available in the AOI 4,000 tanks participated, according to various estimates, from 500 to 1,000 cars. It was composed at the time armed M60A1 Patton, centurion and Merkava MK.1; the latter is about 200 units.

MK.1, according to foreign experts, has proved itself in the fighting. They do not light up, despite the broken shells Syrian T-72 turret and hull. Affected successful actuation of automatic fire extinguishing system, the rational defense of the ammunition at the rear of the fighting compartment.

However, the war destroyed about 50 “Mercan” and mostly from the fire 125-mm guns of the T-72. Many of them were afterwards restored, and only seven were lost forever. Died only nine crew members.

However, the military command of Israel felt that MK.1 have under-booking because they can be disable by a direct hit even in the frontal part of the hull and tower. Then began the development of the tank “Merkava” MK.2 with a more powerful armor protection.

In the fall of 1997, the “Merkava” was used in the fighting against the armed forces of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. With anti-tank guided missile 9K111 “Fagot” (according to others – “Kornet-e” ) in Russia, the Arabs managed to knock out three tanks “Merkava” MK.Z.

The Tanks MK.2, MK.Z, MK.4 also participated in the Second Lebanon war of 2006, Of 400 vehicles during the fighting, shot down 52. 50 of them – guided missiles and grenades, RPGs, and twenty-two punched through the armor, including six MK.4. Two cars were blown up by roadside bombs. All damaged eighteen MK.4.

Gone forever was one MK.2 and MK.4; two MK.2 and one MK.Z was completely burnt when a rocket hit. Killed 23 soldiers.

Most of the “Mercan” were quickly restored after the repair is re-entered into the system.

According to data for 2007, in tank units of the IDF was armed with 711 – M60A1/3, 100 – T-55, 100 T-62, 111-the MAGICIANS-7, 561 – “Patton III” 1681, and “Merkava”.





Combat weight, t 65
Crew. 4
Length, mm 7970*
Width, mm 3720
Height, mm 2660**
Ground clearance, mm 490

120-mm gun MG251; 7.62 mm MAG coaxial machine gun; 60 mm mortar; two six-78,5 mm smoke grenade launchers SD-3030; two 7.62-mm anti-aircraft machine gun MAG
Ammunition 120 mm rounds — 48 7.62 mm cartridge — 10 000
Engine AVDS-1790-9AR
Power, HP 1200
Maximum speed, km/h 60
Fuel tanks capacity, l 1400
Cruising range, km 500
Overcoming obstacles in m:
— the wall height of 1.05
— the width of the pit to 3.55
— fording depth of 1.38
— the angle of elevation, deg 30


Note. * With gun forward — 9040. * * On the roof of the tower.



Combat weight, t 65
Crew. 4
Length, mm 7970*
Width, mm 3720
Height, mm 2660**
Ground clearance, mm 490
Armament 120 mm gun М0253; 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun MAO; 7.62-mm machine gun cinity MAO; 60-mm breech-loading mortar; two six-78,5 mm smoke grenade launchers SD-ZOZO
Ammunition 120 mm rounds – 48 7.62 mm cartridge – 10 000
Engine АУ08-1790-9AK
Power, HP 1200
Maximum speed, km/h 65
Fuel tanks capacity, l 1400
Cruising range, km 500
Overcoming obstacles in m:

– the wall height of 1.05

– the width of the pit to 3.55

– fording depth of 1.4

– lifting angle, deg –


Note. * With gun forward — 9040. * * On the roof of the tower.




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