Combat vehicles / Main battle tanks / Merkava 4

Merkava 4

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Main battle tank


    Chariot of fire
    Merkava Siman 4
    Nemmera, leopardess (Merkava ARV)

    1999 - 2004

    MANTAK (part of IMI)

    2003 - 2009 (Mark IV)
    2009 - present (Mark IVm)

    Israel - MANTAK / IDF Ordnance

    320 produced, plus 300 ordered

    $ 4.5 to 5 million in 2006

    Good all aspect protection lvel
    Powerful armament
    Good crew survivability
    Multipurpose rear compartment
    Good all terrain mobility
    High production costs
    Very large and heavy


The Merkava 4 is a modern main battle tank of Israeli origin. It is the latest development of the original Merkava tank and differs in nearly every aspect. Compared to the Merkava 3 the armor and mobility have been improved. Unique features such as the front mounted engine, light mortar and rear troop hatch have been retained.


The Merkava 4 has the same unique layout as the original Merkava series but both chassis and turret have been extensively redesigned. A larger and more powerful diesel engine has been installed in the front. The reshaped turret mounts a much more powerful 120mm smoothbore cannon equivalent to Western cannon. The rear ammunition and crew compartment with rear hatch has been retained.


The main armament is a 120mm MG253 smoothbore cannon. A total of 48 rounds are carried and are manually loaded. Loading speed is increased due to the use of a 10 round electrically operated drum with ready to use ammunition. All NATO standard ammunition can be fired including the LAHAT anti-tank missile. High quality fire contol systems provide a good accuracy, even when firing on the move. A 7.62mm MAG is mounted as a coaxial machine gun. A 60mm mortar can be fired from within the turret. Additionally one or two 7.62mm MAG are pintle mounted on the turret roof. A 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun can be coaxially mounted above the barrel.


The redesigned hull and turret provide even better protection than the Merkava 3. Especially the side protection levels are improved. This feature is valuable in urban combat. The composite armor is of modular design, allowing damaged sections to be replaced. Smoke grenade launchers and NBC protection are fitted as standard. Some Mark 4 are fitted with the Trophy active protection system.


The tracked chassis with helical spring suspension provides good all terrain mobility. Unlike the previous Merkava models the power to weight ratio is on par with other modern tanks. The 1.500 hp diesel engine provides a maximum speed is 64 km/h.


The Merkava 4 is only used by the Israeli army. There have been no exports. The total number of Merkava 4 tanks that have been ordered is over 600 and production will continue for several years.


Merkava 4

Merkava 4: The Merkava Mark 4 is a modern main battle tank. Compared to the previous models the hull has been fully redesigned and the turret has a more round and symetric saucer shape.
Merkava 4m Windbreaker: Mark 4 fitted with Tropy active protection system. Although trailed since 2007 this upgraded model was introduced in active service in 2011. Parts of the Trophy system are visible on the turret sides.

TypeMain battle tank
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Length7.60 m (hull), 9.04 m (gun forward)
Width3.72 m (without skirts)
Height2.66 m (turret roof)
Ground clearance0.45 m
Weight65 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracks, 6 roadwheels, sprocket front, idler rear
Turn radius?
EngineMTU-883 V12 diesel, 1.500 hp
Power ratio23.1 hp/t
Transmission4 forward, 1 reverse
Speed64 km/h on road
Fuel1.400 L
Range500 km on road
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x6 smoke grenade dischargers
Armament120mm cannon
7.62mm coaxial machine gun
60mm mortar
7.62mm roof machine gun
12.7mm roof machine gun
Weapon1120mm MG253 cannon in turret
48 rounds, 10 ready to fire
powered elevation
360° powered traverse
stabilized in both axis
Weapon27.65mm MAG coaxial machine gun
traverse and elevation as main armament
10.000 rounds in total
Weapon360mm mortar within turret
automated laying
Weapon47.62mm MAG machine gun on turret roof
10.000 rounds in total, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
Weapon512.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun at turret
100 rounds ready to fire
traverse and elevation as main armament


Nemmera: The Nemmera is an armored recovery vehicle based on the Merkava 4 chassis. Instead of a turret a crane and a heavy 35-ton winch are installed. The production model of the Nemmera features a large 42-ton crane stowed forwards. Two large jacks are fitted at the rear to stabilize the vehicle when the crane is in use. An earth anchor at the rear holds the Nemmera in place while using the winch.

The prototype model of the Nemmera was based on the Merkava 3 chassis. During development it was called Namer, but this name was later given to the heavy APC based on the Mark 4 chassis. The prototype is easily identified by the smaller much smaller crane that is stowed along the rear of the vehicle when not in use. Also the two jacks are not present on this vehicle.


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