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Merkava 4



Overview


Merkava 4

Side view of Merkava 4 in the desert.
Source: Michael Mass - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Origin
Israel
Type
Main battle tank
Entered service
2004
Status
In service
Development
1999 - 2004
Developer
Israel - MANTAK
Production
2003 - 2009 (Mark IV)
2009 - present (Mark IVM)
Producer
Israel - MANTAK / IDF Ordnance
Unit cost
$ 4.5 to 5 million in 2006
Number produced
320 produced, plus 300 ordered
Designations
Chariot of fire
Merkava Siman 4
Notable users
Israel - IDF

Description


Introduction

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.

Layout

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.

Firepower

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. NATO standard ammunition can be fired including indigenous rounds and the LAHAT anti-tank missile. High quality fire contol systems and stabilizer 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 machine guns are pintle mounted on the turret roof. A 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun can be coaxially mounted above the barrel.

Protection

The redesigned hull and turret provide even better all around 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. The improved Mark 4M is fitted with the Trophy active protection system.

Mobility

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 of 64 km/h.

Users

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.

Details


Merkava 4

Right side view of Merkava 4.
Source: MathKnight and Zachi Evenor - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Merkava 4 variants

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.

Facts Merkava 4
General
Origin
Israel
Type
Main battle tank
Crew
4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Dimensions
Weight
65 t combat load
Length
7.60 m hull
9.04 m gun forward
Width
3.72 m without skirts
Height
2.66 m to turret roof
Main armament
Type
120mm MG253 L/44 smoothbore gun
Mount
Turret
Ammunition
48 rounds, 10 in revolver system
Elevation
Powered
Traverse
360°, powered
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Coaxial machine gun
Type
7.62mm MAG machine gun
Mount
Coaxial with main armament
Ammunition
10.000 rounds in total
Traverse
Traverse and elevation as main armament
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Mortar
Type
60mm Soltam breech loaded mortar
Mount
Internal, fires through roof
Laying
Automated laying based on range input and traverse
Secondary armament
Type
7.62mm MAG machine gun
Mount
Pintle mount on turret roof
Ammunition
10.000 rounds in total, 100 ready to fire
Traverse
Manual traverse and elevation
Coaxial heavy machine gun
Type
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Mount
External coaxial mount over barrel
Ammunition
100 rounds ready to fire
Traverse
Traverse and elevation as main armament
Chassis
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, 6 roadwheels
Chassis layout
Drive sprocket front and idler rear
Suspension
Helical spring
Automotive
Engine
MTU-883 V12 water-cooled diesel
Power output
1.500 hp
Transmission
Renk RK 325
Gears
5 forward, 2 reverse
Fuel
1.400 L
Mobility
Speed
64 km/h on road
Range
500 km on road
Power to weight ratio
23.1 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.45 m
Fording
1 m
Protection
Armor type
Steel with modular composite armor
NBC system
Yes
Smoke system
2x6 smoke grenade dischargers
Fire suppression
Yes

Media


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