מידע ותמונות רבות על טנק המרכבה
   Merkava EXtreme Combat Delivery - Remote Omnipotent Military Operating System (LINK)   
  TALIK 1924 - 2010     GAZA WAR     Me'il Ruach  MkIVM   Mark4B
   Tochnit ha Merkava Siman ARBA BAZ  Below First Image With Integrated Trophy II APS & Tadir FCS (SharpShooter
  Merkava Siman IV BAZ Tzahal MBT with TADIR FCS
, Trophy II "
360 Hemispheric" APS  (Active Protective System)
Click Above Image For After Battle Debriefing By IDF Native English Speakers

HEADS UP New for 2013, a state-of-the-art image of the new 4K !
Merkava Siman Arba Baz
                       Chariot Mark 4 Sharpshooter
On this web page is an image below so sharp that it's Twice 1080P 
  & it can be enlarged LIFE size of the tank if you arrange an array
  of HD monitors. With clarity so detailed you see the rivets & even
  the granulated rough textured
surface on the upper tank areas...
As you might imagine, even on a high speed connection this image
  will take a little while to download. the image will be fully loaded
  and you can enjoy viewing the tank as if you were right there!

     Merkava 4 BAZ replacement

    LIGHTNING I 2018

Merkava MkV Varient Carmel II 

 Direct Link To Israel Naval Web Page

9 Dolphin Ballistic Nuclear Weapons Subs

 Direct Link IAF Web Page


      FF-35AI ADIR Stealth

Tank MBT / MICV     Main Battle Tank / Mechanize Infantry Combat Vehicle Series
 Merkava   /  Nemer
     Biblical: Chariot (MBT) & Tiger (Armor Personnel Carrier)

Want To See Almost a LIFE Size Image Of This Behemoth ?  
Right Click Below

Merkava Mark IV BAZ Production proto-type roll-out Shown on February 2007 by
OC Armor Corps Brig. General H. Rodoi
In 1995 MANTAK (Merkava operations
office) announced the Merk III BAZ with a new Sharpshooter FCS called the Knights
Mk4 system. But, as they always do, they immediately began work on the next gen
system both the "I" Improve TADIR FCS and the Mark 4 Merkava for the 2000 years.
It was decided they would finally include an APS defensive shield that had been work
on for ten years, first by IMI and then by Rafael. IAI would also join in when they were
ask to provide the radar sensors by their ELTA division.   In 1999 testing of almost a
dozen Mark IV proto types had been completed and it was announced in October orders
for long lead items like for instance the new 1500 hsp German power pack was tendered
from MTU model 883 got selected. Since funding was tight and this Mk4 was to be way
more expensive than previous models, it was arranged to have the USA GD produce the
engine under license and get finance from FCS funding. Trophy was not ready quite yet
but was proving to be out of reached financially due to IDF budget restrictions. So it was
put on temporary delay. However, Israel many enemy's like Hezbollah in the 2006 war
would come to Merkava assistance. Actually it more than likely rescued it from a certain
early production closure. Funny how your worst enemy can do wonderful things for your
country's military defenses... just ask the Russian and American defense departments how 
that worked out for the entire cold war period! The APS is now here and is actually here
in more than just one way. IAI Iron Fist has arrived on scene and Rafael now has a whole
family of APS developments. Some for older tanks like the Mark IV's from 1999 through
2006, for export countries, for production line Merkavas now coming off the assembly
line with an integrated system and a mark II improve system that's even Lighter weight 
for smaller front line combat vehicles and trucks. Thus you can have Merkava Mk4 with
upgraded APS called Aspro C, production line Aspro A or Merkava Mk 4B or BAZ and
Merkava Mk 4 M newer improved APS from 2011 onward. Go figure.   The question on
still older Mk III's and Mark II's is not looking economical but to just order more Mark 4's
to sell off all the Mark I, Mark II & Mark III's on the world tank market.
That's  because
only the MkIV engine (1500 hsp) gives the IDF commonality just on engine inventory
Remember, it took from 1999 to 2009 to get Trophy perfected and to market due to the
unbelievable difficulty of hitting a Bullet with a Bullet
! Now we've India & USA exports!

Ok Stop The Presses
First foreign sale of Trophy II APS..... Goes to    U S Army Oct 2017
Immediate Urgent RFP to arm All   ABRAMS M1A 2 Sep2v   to full
Combat Ready Trophy II (Raytheon) $300,000 +  system & also will
extend to ALL Army field of battle combatant armor equipment. This

Active Protective System -

US Army & Marine Corps Orders Trophy APS

Close Up Trophy System On Abrams M1A2

Abrams M1A2 Live Fire Ballistic Testing

Marine Abrams
APS Schematic

Abrams Protective APS Dome Video

US Army Abrams M1A2 Sep2v Trophy

Following in rapid sequence Follow On
orders from not only India  but

----------END BREAKING NEWS--------

Merkava Mk IV M  2011 Golan Exercises

 notice the chains still hanging in back

 Click Below Merkava Mk1, 2, 3, 4 series Walk Around Video

  Me, still with floppy signature
'boonie' hat & 'MAMBA'  lurking behind me. 

 NAME = Tochnit ha Merkava (Official Chariot Tank Program)

 image=Image:Merkava-mkIV-BAZ-LIC-picX.jpg|300px|Merkava 4 As a result of the conflict August 2006, MANTAK,
 the IDF group that is in charge of all Merkava production, put in an immediate
Rush requisition for 100 Trophy II systems, 100 BAZ
 Knight Mk4 '
Tadir' SharpShooter FCS & 100 L3 1500hsp power-packs (formerly the General Dynamics Land Systems Division).
 LATER another request to UP-GRADE all 400 Existing Mark IV Merkavas to
BAZ status & standards was ordered into production.
 Trophy II is a 2007 development that has 2 inherent advances. First is 'Duplex' mode where the tank can come under fire in two or
 more directions simultaneously and defeat different types of threats all at the same time. Second, the interceptor can be RE-loaded
 from with-in side the tank without exposing any of the crew to hostile fire. Another challenge was met & is incorporated in stopping
 all types of 'Kinetic' ammunition and / or projectiles. A separate program to defeat all kinds of road side IED's called THOR and is
 described elsewhere below, has also been incorporated into the R-OWS (Remote Overhead Weapons System) now found on both
 the new Merkava Mark IV BAZ and the recently ordered into production NEMER APC (Armor Personnel Carrier) based on the
 Merkava IV BAZ chassis from NEW production. It was originally thought of using out dated Merkava I & II tanks for this purpose
 but, that was found not to be a wise choice according to MANTAK June 2007 briefings at the Latrun Armor Museum.  First batch
 30 Mark IV BAZ tanks rolled off the Tel HaShomer line January 2009, a 2nd
rushed batch will be five months later & a third batch
 arrives sometime late 2010 (exact date was not specified). These measures were all brought about from 2006 Lebanon war findings.
 Parallel Production is to be started in 2009 for Trophy
up-grade kits for all PRE-existing Mk 4 tanks with follow on for Mk III's and
 Pre-existing armor APC's in both the reserves as well as the active duty forces. New
Up-Grade kit is added on to the existing vehicle
 and does include the newer Trophy II modifications described above.  Orders for second and even a third series production run of
 the Trophy II's as well as first orders for the IMI Iron Fist for Nemer APC's were directed by new Defense Minister (former IDF
 Armor chief) Ehud Barak, which takes the Mk IV program & series out to the 2012 years. FYI, 
No Mk 4 was a total lost in 2006.*
40th Anniversary Merkava SIMAN ARBA BAZ 2010 !
 Above Definitive series of the Merkava 2007 through 2012 under the new TEFEN IDF funded project

 Below is the 1999 through 2006 ALEPH or First series of the Merkava Siman Arba (Mk 4) Program... 

Click above for in depth page on 2010 IDF Military English Briefing for Merkava Mk4 BAZ Aleph

 First 2007 Production
Merkava MkIV BAZ units having integrated TADIR FCS, ASPRO and new ballistic
 Side Skirt armor panels superior to Chobham armor. They feature redesigned turret with NO shot trap & chains.
 First Battalion 30 units completed training, conversion and deployment to Golan front 2009 shown here.
Due to the new reshaped turret the shot trap of the turret has been eliminated leaving only small basket with familiar hanging chains.      
 *It should be noted that it is a ballistic military fact a MBT can not be destroyed, not even by one's own Air Force and artillery and
  even when it is on purpose
! Both the Abrams and the Merkava in recent engagements had to be left on the enemy field of battle and
  rather than have the tank fall into enemy hands MANY attempts to blow the relic up prove futile and eventually had to be retrieved
  and pulled back to safety later the next day. Then each was sent to main 'depot' maintenance for 'Zero Time' rebuild and in both tank
  instances returned to service with their respective armies and crews... amazingly enough.  One was M1A2 & other Merk Mk IV A.
  Another adjunct to this is 'Lead Times.' MANTAK said at the Latrun 2007 summer briefing that in the case of the first series of
  Merkava production run the lead time was 40 months from ordering, first welds and assembly from hundreds of suppliers to the final
  roll out of the new tank off the production line. Last year for stats was prior to the Lebanon conflict and the Lead time was 7 months.
  However, with the giant largesse of billions of defense dollars in the 2012 TEFEN plan that Lead Time is expected to be 'Halved.' FYI 

 The new BAZ suite includes four sensors - radar, friend or foe identification system (IFF), Electronic Support Measures electronic
 intelligence (ESM/ELINT) and Elta II, Tracking Incoming projectiles / Communications Intelligence (CSM/COMINT) systems. All
 sensors are fed through a unique fusion technique, providing continuous cross-correlation of targets generated by all sensors, allowing 
 automated system-wide tracks of targets detected by each sensor. The multi-beam, electronically scanning phased array radar utilizes
 time-space energy management technique facilitating effective, multi-mode operations and coverage of 360 degrees using only four
 planar sections - two in forward facing conformal arrays and two on the rear turret bustle covering the remaining 180 degrees in back.

 Further: BAZ is an acronym for Barak Zoher or Shining Lightning for both Merkava 3 & 4 generation models; the MANTAK people
 said theoretically
BAZ can be associated with ANY Merkava tank past, present or future if they add the FCS SharpShooting features.
 Therefore, it can NOT be ruled out to have a Merkava Siman Aleph
BAZ if a Mk I were put through this up-grade program. The new
 'TADIR' FCS when put on Merkava Mk 4 makes it
BAZ even if just this FCS is added; Regardless if Trophy & other accessories are
  included with the Merkava up-grade. Usually the entire Merk series get a complete up-grade historically.       
 Just to be clear. 

The IDF plans to extend its fiber-optic high-speed broadband network, known as Gold Avnet to mobile ground, air and naval ranks.
 The plan is to use wide-area wireless point-to-point and point-to-multipoint (WiMAX) technology to fuse information into a network
 that allows the soldier to share information with a TANK or an aircraft, Maj. Gen. Ami Shafran, head of the IDF General Staff C4I.
 The IDF, Ha-Kirya sources say, IDF will be the first military in the world to have WiMAX wireless technology integrated by FY- 2009

  Here is my Personal Opinion regarding the last Lebanon war... 
  A Primary Fact of Mid East Hezbollah Wars military conduct, such as the 2006
  Plainly Stated...
         "Hezbollah Does NOT & Will Not Count Their Dead"
   Furthermore, neither can the press since Hezies Appear, Pass For and Dress just like all other Lebanese  Civilians.


       Heyl Shiryon Merkava Video's

      CLICK  New Merkava III VIDEO                 CLICK  New Merkava IV VIDEO

 Merkava History VIDEO           CLICK  Abrams4K Trophy VIDEO         CLICK  Merkava4K Trex VIDEO     

Merkava4K VIDEO                CLICK Merkava Mk1 - Mk3 VIDEO     CLICK Merkava Background VIDEO      

          CLICK  Merkava Bad  VIDEO             CLICK Merkava 4 Details Video           NEW  Triple Merkava Clips  VIDEO

Merkava  Video           Click  MERKAVA 4 BAZ  Wide-Screen Stereo Color Video   
  1999 to 2007 
MERKAVA SIMAN ARBA ALEPH BAZ  Video                                               2007 to 2012 MERKAVA SIMAN ARBA BAZ Video

 PS: You can buy this GHQ Merkava 4 pictured above for $2 (7 ILS).  It's the size of
 a thumb nail

                       Merkava's Back Yard
  Where The Action Happens: Sinai, Jordan, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon   


                    FISTS OF STEEL
Whoa Dere, Bridge Out! Slow Your Merk Down to 60mph

|  length=7.6 m (gun forward = 9.04 m)

|  Series production begins 400   Mark IV Baz  1999 - 2007 
   Second series production 400  Mark IV Baz  2007 - 2011
   Third series 300 additional      Mark IV Baz  2012 - 2015
   Fourth series to replace all      Mark III 500   2016 - 2020
  Playing Catch-Up
. We now get 30 Mk IV's at a time, 3 times a year. Notice aiming block (triangle) now on the end 120mm IMI new
  main gun barrel of these Merkava IV's

 Merkava Mk IV LIC was the largest Merk ever built and the most heavily
 armored, the fastest (70kph) and the most deadly of any tank in the world a/o 1999

Enter Merkava Namer Trophy APS

This Is The New Production Variant Mark 4m

See Video & Specs At Link Above

Enter Merkava Mk4 BAZ Aleph
 Merkava Mk IV BAZ Aleph
is shown here in time for operation Cast Lead 
Cast Lead was 1st combat for the Add-On TrophyII/WindcoatB/ASPRO-C  system.
 We now found out that in January 2009 there were as many as 9 different types of
 IDF vehicles being tested with various APS defense systems by 2 manufacturers...

Above is what the first 400 Merkava Mk IV's look like with the Trophy II Add-On to an existing rear turret  
 Here we have the 2009 version of the Trophy 2
Add-On to an existing 1999 - 2007 Merkava Mk IV 'A' bustle

 Look closely and you can still see the 'Shulamit Hair' OR the ball and chains protecting the shot trap since only
 the new 2007 - 2012 400 Mark IV BAZ units will have the redesigned turret thus eliminating the familiar trap.

 If you look carefully above under the rear turret you will see it still has shot trap with Chains to protect
 against RPG's. Also notice new placement of rear sensors from this Rare often missing view of the Merk.

 Click Above For Video & Audio Of The 2010 Eurosatory Israel Merkava 4 BAZ Exhibit's English Presentation


| width=3.72 m (without skirts)

| height=2.66 m (turret roof)

| weight=55 tons (Mark I) <br> 56 tons (Mark II) <br> 59 tons (Mark III) <br> 60 t (Mark IV) <br> 58 t (Mk IV BAZ)
NOTE: Due to the incorporation of new technologies such as Trophy & M-TAPS, weights may vary downward.

| suspension=helical spring

  Black Mamba & Black Mamba 2 both Mk 4's are stationed on Syrian front atop of the Hermon Plateau (I'm on right in 'boonie' hat)

  This web page is dedicated to all my fellow tank corps men that are seemingly always stuck out in the cold, wet,
                                   windy, desolate and forgotten part of our world.

   Do you like my tank crew and infantry squad below? Here we all are with our distinctive floppy boonie hats, including 2 in hand.
  Except for me and my photographer you see my whole tank team. Notice lack of smiles, next stop will be
tipul shvui  (tank bath)!

  My crew at the Staff lookout at the Armor Shizafon Merkava
'Playground' (Training/Refresher Course & Combine Exercise Area)

  2 Of My 'MaTak' (T/C's - Tank Commanders) Eye Witness Report of Their BAZ Post from 2006 HERE

  Rare picture of Mamba 1 and Mamba 2. No questions please... Ops Sec 24/7 till the new FCS & APS installed.

|  speed=Road: 65 km/h (Mark IV); burst speed 70 km/h (Mk IV BAZ)

   Syrian T-62 hit by a Merkava in Lebanon 1982 with an IMI APFS-DS-T
|  primary armament = 1 x 120 mm smoothbore Israel Military Industry's (IMI) main gun with 50 rounds + 10 ready round magazine
   APAM 120mm Mk III & IV
, LAHAT & Excalibur Smart ATGM (anti-tank guided missiles), APFS-DS-T rounds above & below
  120mm ATGW LAHAT    120mm ATGW EXCALIBUR (Rafael Spike-ER family)     Below is LAHAT Round


 secondary armament =
1 x 7.62 mm coaxial [[machine gun |MG]] (I-III) and/or 1 x 12.7 mm (IV) <br> 2 x 7.62 mm MG
<br>1 x 60 mm internal mortar; R-OWS Laser/Gun combo see below (Mk IV BAZ)

 THOR anti IED & M2 50 cal MG R-OWS on Boeing Test Vehicle

 MBT Range = 500 km (on board fuel only... 
 Extended range (Mk IV BAZ) = 2500 km (with combat trailer)

|Merkava Mk IV Power-Pak engine=[[diesel  V-12 MTU 883
 by L3 air cooled 1500hsp w/ Renk Transmission

                       ASPRO =
rmoured Shield PROtection (Trophy)
Merkava Mk IV BAZ Turret Bustle Shape   First Combat Use Jan '09

Compare Precision Wooden Merkava Mk IV photo above with the image below and notice how MANTAK
development team has dramatically modified basic design, ballistic shape of all important turret to incorporate
no less than 50 up-grade improvements, primarily the very obvious APS
Trophy / ASPRO system. One benefit
is the now missing Shulamite's Hair (60 Ball & Chains) used to prevent RPG's jam'n turret traverse with a shot
trap hit.  There's no longer a Shot Trap on BAZ
.      Full hemispheric Dome 360 coverage.  

New Octagonal ELTA radar flat panels are now bullet proof & shatter proof as opposed to 2006 'blister' type

A little APS history here might be in order. This idea of knocking down RPG's and latter guided missiles (ATGW)
from the sky has been an Israeli R&D program for over 20 years ever since the 1973 surprise Yom Kippor War
which the Egyptian's were  handed out wholesale tens of thousands of these man portable Russian anti tank
weapons which were so deadly to Israeli armor forces deployed though out the Sinai. IMI began actual proof of
concept in the beginning of 1990. One problem that came back to delay again and again it's implementation was
'collateral' damage. It was conceivable that the enemy could cause a miss reading during combat that a tank could
think a nearby friendly tank was shooting at it and begin a chain reaction in which all the tanks in the company or
the brigade or even the battalion were firing at each other and set off all the defensive ammunition at each other.
Another was how to prevent a tank from an air burst to begin defending itself against a 'non' attack also in domino
effect. By the 2000 decade computer technology was finally mature enough to solve these riddles. Net-Centric
ballistic management systems (BMS) now solve these and other generational issues including telecommunications
and UAV air ground data links. Because it was felt a repeat of the 2006 Hizbollah war would occur within months
rather than years, it was agreed to rush 200 Trophy systems into production and deployment ASAP or by 2010,
which is now adjusted to 2009. Also the beginning of a second production line for Iron Fist has begun for the Merk
APC called the Namer and first units have been deployed with first battalion due by 12/09. 

   armor =
   laminated ceramic / steel / nickel composite (Chobham), RHA (Rolled Homogenous Armor), spaced armor + a new classified matrix
   LEGEND of Korea's
  1/35th Resin Scale Models,  Merkava Mk IV "A" above 1999-2006.     Click for Walk Around 


  2008 improved Legend $200 LF1165 kit Merkava Mk IV intermediate model for LIC warfare with dual hatch  
  for UAV observer, but, also there is the newer full length 'thicker' ballistic side skirts, new power vents over rear
  Pantiers & aiming block at end of gun barrel all seen above. Ballistic Mesh covers all soft surfaces. More images
  of this new 'improved' Merkava Legend model at the
LINK above.

  $35 Academy of Korea, 
Plastic 1/35th Model Merkava Mark IV MBT of Jan 2009
  Right Click Above Picture for MANY More Images of 1/35th Scale Plastic Model

      Image above from new Academy release box cover showing the up-graded ballistic rubberize vented side
      skirts which were current during the 2006 conflict but have now been further modified on 2008 BAZ Trophy

      production line versions. Academy Model the
Merkava Mk IV A 1999 to 2006 version for those of you keeping score.. 

Merkavot 4 les pusieran "BAZ"...  derived from TADIR Mk 4 FCS systems being installed Post 2006 War production
Please Note: Elbit Systems, El-Op and Kinetics collaborate on all Merkava Fire Control Systems from the Mark I to the
        present day Merkava Mk IV BAZ and the Mk IV BAZ is derived from the state-of-the-art Knight Mk4 'TADIR' FCS.

        This from the manufacturer:
TADIR Thermal Imaging Sensor for Combat MBT now serving with Tzahal forces since January 2007
         EL-OP has begun deliveries of the Next Generation FCS Merkava Mk IV starting in 2007. TADIR will enhance the IDF's
         Merkava tanks with cutting-edge thermal imaging technology, that is the most advanced in the world. ELOP is announcing
         for the first time its own home-grown innovative thermal imaging technology (TDI 480x4) TADIR. This technology, that is
         regarded as the most advanced in the world, will soon be implemented in the IDF's Merkava Mk IV BAZ tanks. The IDF's
         development and replenishment plan in this area includes the enhancement of the thermal channel in the Merkava tanks' "BAZ"
SharpShooting Fire Control System (FCS). TDI 480x4 Technology (TADIR : Time Delay & Integration) is characterized by
         high sensitivity, improved resolution & a superior reliability level that ensures a maintenance cost lower than other technologies.
         A tank thermal channel based on this technology will enable the tank crew to conduct surveillance & to identify longer-range
         targets in a wider Field of View (FOV). This is done by observing a TV LCD Color display, that renders a HD resolution image.

   =Merkava Mark IV Enters 1st Combat==
        You're looking at the evening 'roll-out' for the battle at Saluki Valley in the last hours of the war. The Merkava Mk IV's first Stand-Up

Section Begins Below Under Entry for the Mark 4 series Merk's

|     crew: 4 (Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader / Radio Operator)

      'MaTak' (Tank Commander - TC) here waiting for Move Out orders  12 Aug 2006.
      Reason he's smiling, he thinks he missed the war. Only 48 hrs left. He's wrong
     Merkava Crew: Tank Driver under way at controls
        (Notice how the IDF Censors have prevented anyone from knowing the wristwatch brand? Lighten Up, Just Kidding. Everything
        is so very bright inside due to the stupid interior decorator's crazy idea of using a neutral color like WHITE.  The dummy!
        Now no one can get any shut eye (sleep) during a war or our endless training exercises.  Remember Rule #2. Don't get
        caught. Rule #1. Don't forget Rule #2...  Tanker below forgot Rule #2...   yup, he's a sleep... again!    Got caught... again

     Merkava Crew: Tank Gunner at his station (are you sure our dude here is winking?)

     Merkava Crew: Loader / Communications specialist next to 120mm Cannon breech.
     BTW, he's practicing rule #9. #9 - What happens when I throw THIS switch? Oops
     Just barely can be seen behind his head is the internal Soltam 60mm internal mortar.

     Note on Improved Merkava Mk IV BAZ Seats by AutoFlug...
       Crew protection has been employed by installing the Autoflug safety seat systems, to protect crew from side & bottom mine or IED
       blasts as well as reducing stress and fatigue during long duration missions. Several types of seats were tested in Merkava Mk IV BAZ. 
       The driver's and commander's seats utilized elevator designs, while the loader and gunner's seat positions are fixed. So is the aft platoon
       compartment arrangement when the Troop Transport configuration is employed. However, seats are not part of serial production tanks.
       Autoflug safety seats are also being considered for use with the new Namer and various wheeled APCs under development by the IDF.

     Note on Improved Merkava Mk IV BAZ Armor  (Sometimes - CHOBHAM)

       OK, let's get this straight. ALL damn tanks these days, even Soviet block MBT's use this creation. It was named for the British Lab
       in Chobham England and only refers to a very common practice of layered laminates with ballistic steel to minimize penetration of the
       outer armor of tanks and is NOT a secret, at least anymore. Whether one is better than the other will be found out AFTER a battle.
       Not before & certainly not by so called arm-chair generals that never been in a tank or know which end the shell comes out for that
       matter.    End Of Discussion and me Pontificating... 

       Brand new and already battle tested in the 2009 Gaza Conflict is RAFAEL's
FCD; Fire Control Director for the Merk IV BAZ
       For Images From The Battlefield Go To This... 

       M-TAPS – Multi-Threat Armor Protection System – a new generation add-on armor technology for IDF armor combat vehicles.


       The recently developed M-TAPS is the newest generation hybrid (reactive / passive) add-on armor designed to defeat a variety of modern
       threats in the combat arena. The M-TAPS is a modular system that can be easily fitted onto any wheeled or tracked vehicle or MBT.


       The system, when installed on a combat vehicle, is able to defeat Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), Improvised Explosive Devices (IED),
        the new Iranian Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP), high speed fragments from artillery bombs (simulated by FSPs) and Armor Piercing
        (AP) projectiles from heavy machine guns.  


        The M-TAPS technology is an upgrade of Rafael's combat proven, Insensitive Reactive Armor system that has been successfully applied to
         the US Bradleys, IDF infantry combat armor vehicles (Namer) as well as the new Merkava Mk IV BAZ second generation Chariot 2007.

|        engine = 900 hsp (Merkava I & II)<br> 1,200 hsp (Merkava Mk III)<br> 1,500 hsp (Merkava Mk IV ALEF & BAZ)

       ASPRO-A  Merkava Mk IV BAZ has production line custom fitted APS systems built-in rather than Added On   
         < Image: Merkava mk iv baz.jpg|
Merkava Mk 4 BAZ with new permanent 2007 ASPRO-A APS installed & No Chains>

|         p/w_ratio = 14 hp/ton (Mark I & II)    18 hp/ton (Mk III, III BAZ)<br> 25 hp/ton (Mk IV & IV BAZ )

|         resource = One of the best English discourses ever set to print on the Merkava family is the 276 page hard bound book
          from Erlangen Germany's Tankograd Publishing 'Merkava by Marsh Gelbart' ISBN 3936519013 I treasure my copy as
          do many of us merk-tankers which is also in German FYI. Despite getting diss'd by MG
                         I'm telling Helen on you BTW...    ":-)    and YES, I'm a hell of lot older Marshie FYI...

          Hi, I would like to explain the process of how I have been able to photograph IDF vehicles.
          1. First preliminary contact and enquiries with the IDF, lets say to see if I can photograph the Merkava 4. This can
           take many months before you get a decision. Emails and letters got lost or mislaid. The contact you are communicating
           with gets moved post or leaves the army and you start over again. Senior officers who know and trust you retire. So,
           you start all over again.....

           2. Step 2, your request is forwarded to someone senior, usually in MANTAK. From here things are far more efficient,
           but you are subject to careful scrutiny. Why do you want to photograph the Merk 4 ? Which publication do you except
           to use the photographs? What variant of the Merk 4 do you wish to photograph and why?

           3. Step 3. you are invited to list exactly what aspects of the vehicle you wish to photograph. Even from what angles and
           if the vehicle is moving or stationary has to be negotiated carefully and fully.

           4. Step 4. You are invited to MANTAK and have meetings which are half interviews and half scrutiny to make sure your
           intentions are honest.

            5. Step 5. You are invited to photograph the tanks. It's exciting, things always go wrong; either exercises are cancelled or
            no-one has told the bored gate guard that a funny little foreigner is turning up at the base. I am accompanied at all times by
            a representative from Field Security and usually a senior member of the Merkava design team.

            6. Step 6. Photos are taken and immediately vetted by Field Security and a senior officer at the base. Several shots have to
            be deleted.

             7. Step 7. Usually an intense meeting with MANTAK personnel at a very senior level. You are talking about, say the actual
             head of the Merkava programme, or the bloke responsible for ballistic protection they are friendly and efficient but very
             security conscious. More photos will be deleted. they will ask to look at the text of your article and again it is vetted. You
             remove text as requested. Finally, after a meeting, where you are not present, your work is further subjected to security approval.

             8. Step 8. You are flying back to the UK that morning. You receive a phone call stating that you must go to the Kiryia as General
             Tal, wishes to meet you and discuss the photos, book or article. Its Tal; you go. Its great ,but then you nearly miss your flight. yes,
             this really happened to me.

              9. Step 9. The article is finished. Before publication, if the article is about a sensitive beast such as the Namer, then a final copy of
              the article is sent back to MANTAK, along with all photos that are going to be used in the article for final approval. At the last
              moment, before publication, you are asked to remove some technical detail which you have been told you can use and which you
              are excited about. Yes this happened to me too.

              That is why I got a little hurt at the reaction by some to the publication of the Merkava with the ghillie suit. I didn't take the photos.
              Soeren did. However, he will have worked under the same rules and restrictions that I did. Jochen Vollert the publisher I work for,
              is a careful and scrupulous man. He would not publish material that has not been subject to security clearance. I wouldn't even try
              to get such work published. I don't just turn up at a base and take photos, it's the result of a lot of negotiation & security clearance.

Sirpad, I would be really grateful if you could show your friends this!
                                                                             Hope this all makes some sense.   Cheers    Marsh

          2007 Merkava IV BAZ (FCS 4) returning from Negev Desert field trials being transported by the Merkava Mk IV Prime Mover to
          our Golan staging area.  It's almost impossible to find the new Soltam 60mm internal remote control 3,700m roof turret Mortar
! Trophy
C Add-On had not been installed at the time of this picture was taken in 2006. I know, this is my crew's damn Mk4 tank. Thank You.
          You arm chair dummies look carefully & you will see FCS 4. RAFAEL's modular
Add-On ASPRO-C series was installed summer
          FY-2008 and funded with the new approved TEFEN funding program 2006 thru 2012.

         Above Mk3 DD & Below Mk4 A IDF's MERKAVA on its PRIME MOVER heading to the Golan Heights
         from the new armor corps live fire Shizafon Training grounds.

Ok, I get this asked a lot, can you show a picture of a Prime Mover loading a Merkava MBT?
         Well, that turned out to be harder than I first thought so I grabbed a shot while  being Off Loaded 
         of our PM during the big May 2009 exercises. This Black Mamba image will have to do for now.
         Depending on what our mission
, will determine if supply will issue anti IED / RKM & etc. Please
         do not ask about all that brik-or-brack hardware on top of our turret, sometimes WE don't know
            Fill Her Up... diesel will be just fine for the next 500 clicks...   Gee, a Merk Siman ARBA going into battle with a PAZ gas station sign
            seemingly on the turret...  How Novel
!    NOT .    Want to see this image Really Beeg ?  Right Click Above

   ''TOCHNIT HA MERKAVA''' ([[Hebrew language|Hebrew]]: {{Audio|He-Merkava.ogg|מרכבה}}, ''The  Chariot Program'') is a series of
    [main battle tank]]s developed and manufactured by over 250 Israeli and 100 foreign companies with main assembly at the IDF (Israel Defense
    Forces) Logistics & Armor facilities inside the Tel HaShomer  (Hill of the Watchman) Army Base near Tel Aviv at Plant #7100. 'Merkava'
    name was derived from the IDF's secret developmental program name and was kept by the late General TAL (the overall Merkava program
    administrator) because he liked the biblical reference. Also, because he sometimes listens to me! Note on THIS military base that use to be
    called Tzerefin (Sarafand) will soon be replaced as a basic military training facility by a massive new installation South of Beersheba called
    Ramat Hovav. First IDF construction began in 2006 with an expected first stage opening date of 2009.        Merkava plant stays.

   The Merkava has been designed for crew survival and rapid battle damage repair thanks to an Israeli development  called 'Telescopic
   Production' and the novel use of quick appliqué modular ceramic armor panels. The Telescopic Production method allows for changes
   on the assembly line at the last minute, such as the installation of the 1500hsp engine, which was not ready when Merkava Mark IV
   tank production began in 1999, but was immediately installed once they began to arrive, first from Germany & only later from the US
   GDLS (General Dynamics Land Systems) corporation two years later in 2001. With the use of spaced-armor techniques and quick-
   replacement modular designs, the assembly line team was  able to incorporate secret compositions of a derivative of Chobham type
   ceramic armor, RHA ([[rolled homogeneous armor]]) and U.S. developed carbon epoxy fiber filament. It should be pointed out that a
   further enhancement to crew safety  was the use of the space between inner and outer armor walls to be filled with diesel engine fuel;
   an excellent storage technique and a method to defeat HESH and HEAT enemy tank rounds. The Merkava's unique layout was
   accomplished by the positioning of the powerpack to the front of the tank thus increasing frontal mass while affording greater crew
   protection.  Then moving the main gun turret towards the back of the hull for both over-all tank balance as well as allowing for a
   fighting compartment strategy.  This revolutionary tank now had a rear compartment area that could be accessed in complete safety
   while under fire by use of a double vertical door called a 'clam-shell,' that when open, provided a roof above and a ramp below.

       2007 Merkava IV B firing the new improved 120mm I.M.I. APAM (Anti Personnel - Anti Material) round in the Golan Heights

    Away from anti-armor munitions, Israel Military Industries (IMI) has introduced one of the more intriguing anti
    personnel munition innovations of recent years, primarily intended to neutralize infantry tank missile killer teams.
    Known in the IDF as APAM this innovation is already in Merkava Mk III and Mk IV service. Once fired the 
    APAM ejects six sub munitions over a pre-selected area for the sub munitions to airburst and scatter lethal small
    fragments and blast effects over a wide area of terrain beneath. The APAM is highly effective against terrorist
    in asymmetrical warfare and can reach into cover such as over hills and into trenches as well as fox holes.

          I.M.I. Anti-Personnel / Anti-Material  (APAM) tank round              Rafael EXCALIBUR Fire & Up-Date Round

    What most likely will be the most significant advance in tank gun ammunition accomplishment for decades to come
    is when the RAFAEL
TERM (Tank Extended Range Munition) enters the Merkava fleet with the new Mk IV BAZ
    tanks in 2007 for 120mm (a world's first). Although handled, loaded and then fired as a conventional projectile, the
    EXCALIBUR TERM will be Fire & Up-Date versus the USA/Euro versions Fire & Forget which leads to accidental
    collateral civilian casualties. It should be remembered that the controversial anti-personnel mines fired into Southern
    Lebanon were US Army munitions. Because Israeli munitions could not be bought when US FCS funds can only be
    applied to USA purchases. One fall out of the '06 Lebanon War report was to terminate that contract and purchase
    IMI non-collateral damage artillery shells immediately. Same now goes for the IMI
    energy projectile now has last stage rocket motor to boost final velocities. Excalibur will extend the Merkava Mk IV
    lethality to BVR (beyond visual ranges) of 14+ miles via forward teams, UAV's, aircraft and other Merkava tanks.

    Shizafon tank range with Excalibur round training under way

    With engine up front and ammunition reloading could be accomplished without exposing the crew or any of the reload teams to
    enemy fire on the field of battle. This compartment has now been used as: a medical operating theater (Tankbulance), a forward
    command and control center, a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) control tower, an ELINT forward operating office, an air-to-
    ground FAC (Forward Air Control) station and a forward battle field command post. If this rear tank compartment contained
    armed infantry, then up to 10 fully combat soldiers could be carried & the clam-shell door would allow for deploying these soldiers
    while on the move under combat conditions and taking fire.  In an emergency the crew can use the clam-shell door as an escape
    hatch to safety on the battlefield, even from an internal fire. These are just some of the many lessons that were painfully learned
    in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars when the Merkava was under development from 1970 to 1977. One such lesson
    from the 1973 surprise Yom Kipper War was from Egyptian AT-3 swatter and RPG-7 anti-tank weapons.  These were all single
    stage war-heads which were defeated by the Israeli invention of the 1970's of RA (reactive armor) panels that fired outward upon
    impact to deflect the penetrating enemy rounds.

      Merkava Mk IV firing a 120mm Lahat ATGW round at the Southern Armor Training site at Shizafon

 IDF Ordnance And
           Tank Workshops
     The lead organization for system integration of the Merkava's main components is I.M.I. [Israel Military
     Industries]. The IDF Ordnance and Tank Workshops of the Armor Command are responsible for all of
     the Merkava final assembly. In the beginning (1960's) these were the old WWII British vehicle repair shops
     at what was once called by the British, Sarafand Army Baracks.  The primary assembly facility, "Plant 7100,"
     was later built in time for the new Merkava Mark III (1988) and is co-located in the IDF armor complex at
     now called Tel HaShomer which is just outside of Tel Aviv. All new MBT construction, development, R&D,
     modifications & up-grades to older tanks is done here at Plant #7100 to this very day. 

    Major LOCAL Israeli suppliers, which there are 200+: 

 Merkava Prime Mover
     Local Israeli TRAILER builder Netzer Serini Metal Works fabricates all Prime Movers for the
     entire Merkava series over the past forty years from the Kibbutz of the same name. Cabs have
     come from America, Europe and elsewhere. Volvo, Mercedes, GMAC, DAF, MAN & MACK.
 Israel Military Industries
      Little known story about the main armament of the Merkava. It was originally thought the first Mark I's would actually
      get the new developmental 120mm barrel but the ammunition was not ready in time nor in any inventory to be rushed to
      Israel in time of war. It did make it for the 1989 Mark III model and more interesting IMI was able in the next ten years
      to develop an improved version with higher recoil pressures and able to take a whole new generation of gun fired missiles
      called ATGW (LAHAT, TERM, EXCALIBER and ETC).

       IMI Locally Produces the Merkava 120mm Main Canon Shells & All IDF Ammo Among It's Merkava Long List  

      The  Merkava Mk IV has incorporated an IMI 120mm Smooth Bore main gun that can now withstand higher ballistic pressures and
       has a softer recoil due to a locally developed an ingenious more compact Breech than the first generation 120mm gun found on the
       Merkava Mark III series.
 Ever notice how much
       smaller the Israeli 120mm guns barrels looks on Israeli tanks?     That is not a co-incidence, it's... Technology.

IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) ELBIT Division
ELBIT Revolving 10 Ready Round Automatic Magazine with computer auto selection choices

       Microprocessor controlled, fully automated, electrically driven, 120 mm magazine rounds. The system
       is located in an isolated space of the turret and is designed to protect the crew in case of ammunition
       explosion. The system is easy to operate from the crew compartment. Also, the tank loader can select
       ammunition out from TEN choices of 120mm ready rounds in the revolving magazine.

Ballistic Steel Foundries:
    Urdan (now called: Associated Steel Foundries) makes all the ballistic
    steel parts i.e.
hull, turret, road wheel assembly, skirts, hatches & frame 
and accessories in association with Netzer Sereni such as... Mine plows
    /Roller Systems,
RKM, TWMP, Dozer Blades, anti IED devices & Cranes

      Merkava Siman II with Urdan MCRS 1983 anti mine clearing roller system and used during Lebanon 1982 Campaign  
      IDF ARV with Urdan's RKM-4 version of Russian KMT-4 anti-mine plow, returning from Golan region. 
      Compare this 1960's generation anti mine equipment with newer Mk III BAZ 1990's below & even newer RKM5
      located near the very bottom of this web page. So good have the Israelis become, that these are now sold to NATO.
    Merkava Mk III BAZ with 1990's version of Urdan's RKM rollers
    Merkava Mk III below @ Shizaphon Tank Proving Grounds in 10/9/2002

      *All Ballistic steel castings: complete Merkava Hull, wheels, suspension, drive systems, gun shield, belly armor, mine
       plows, bulldozer blades, turret shell,
cupolas, hatches, track shoes, hubs, sprocket carriers, idler wheels, ballistic covers,
       final drives, grille doors
as well as the newly design Mark IV bustle is by ''Urdan Industries." Urdan also contributes the
emote control 120mm barrel travel lock, IED/mine clearing roller systems, low profile cupolas and clam shell rear doors.
       Haifa's Urdan Steel Works is only 1 of 6 armor foundry's in the world capable of Ballistic Castings 

      New 2009 Tank Supply Trailer...

Announced by Armor Command August 10, 2009 because of positive feedback from
    the 2006 Lebanon conflict
, a new under armor trailer being attached to the back of 
    specially designated Merkava tanks within the tank company depending on assigned
    task. This trailer includes new Urdan's
360 wheels to carry onto the field of combat:
ammo, fuel, water, food for the entire Merkava tank company. Therefore a trailer is
    assigned to Merkava company, brigade or even the frontal command.   This changes
    dramatically the calculus for Merkava force projection, since this brings about certain
    instances where main tank round availability jumps from roughly 50-100 to hundreds
      There are many players on the F.E.B. (forward edge of battle) with the MBT being the
     big guy on the block. Here you can see Merkava's being serviced by 'fast-fuelers' (the
     combat front line mobile gas stations), trailers by Urdun above and even troop type
     vehicles with the Namer and
Achzarit's seen here also pulling these replishment trailers.  

    Internal Anti-Personnel 60mm Soltam Commander's Mortar

      Above is the 60mm Soltam mortar for the Merkava MkIII, This Merkava Mortar went from the
      2,700 meters range out to 3,700 meters. It's now Auto Fired & Targeted by the BMS computer

     Up-Graded 2007 Merkava Mk IV with Improved Legend Resin Kit @ LINK below
       Extended range (3700 meter) Soltam 60mm Mortar compartment can be found above with an expert eye. Also
       the new spotter's hatch door is closed & is used in LIC & centric battlefield warfare. Tank Commander's hatch
       is now open. New thicker side skirts is seen. The smaller rear tank bustle stowage basket now just holds the tank
       one piece camouflage netting with an all weather tarp. See Video. This image is a
GATEWAY, just right Click for
       Above model and 'Walk Around' on this 2008 up-grade Resin Kit by Legend of Korea.
Below Left 60mm Mortar door open while on Right 60mm Hatch door is lifted open on Merk IV  
As soon as they let me I will post some outstanding MkIV mortar images like night firing illumination rounds, daytime WilleyPeet and
           new Kalanite TERM GPS state-of-the-art round by IMI. They can be very PR touchy on enemy 'surprise' subjects not geting spoiled.
Improved 60mm Internal Remotely Controlled 3,700 meter range Soltam Mortar is primarily used against anti tank teams & terrorist
            snipers. Rapid return fire is now linked to enemy fire direction finder Rafael SpotLite for rapid Counter Fire for suppression of any
            possible ambushes and well concealed sniper fire positions.
We can now go into 2003 detail on MerkavaIV versus Abrams on Golan.


     120mm Intelligent Mortar Round by
     I.M.I - Raytheon - RAFAEL
        TERM 120mm Top Attack Excalibur Merkava tank ammo
     Tank Extended Range Munitions with Intelligent Brain on board.
       In conjunction with USA Raytheon Corporation, Israel Military
       Industries (IMI) & RAFAEL in production & placed aboard IDF
       MBT Merkava Mk IV's
a state-of-the-art mortar shell which has
       a range of greater than 10 miles & with an on-board GPS system
       that hits its targets within a three-yard radius. IDF 'smart mortar'
       built in celestial guidance system allows armor command to direct
       the mortar to its designated target with a laser-homing beacon.
          RAFAEL Armament Authority of Ramat Hasharon 120mm GPS EXCALIBUR
          Merkava Mk IV BAZ Tank Round 2010 through 2019 now in service with IDF

        Because this new IDF GPS guided mortar is so accurate, it will
        enable a target to be destroyed with only 1 shot, thus reducing
        the number of mortar rounds needed and also to be transported.
        That in turn will greatly reduce the strain on logistic resources
        during conflicts. The so called 'brain' of the mortar shell is a
        combination computer, guidance & navigation system that IDF 
        calls 'Pure-Heart' which operates in Pure Digital Real Time.

Many of the Armor Crews are FULL time armor assembly line workers and this 
          Merkava tank is the only tank in history to have been designed, built & improved
          by the very same troops that use the tanks... Crews, Repair Teams and logistics.

             *Electronic sensors, Infrared equipment and targeting radar are all from I.A.I.'s  Elta Division

             Mark IV BAZ, Mark IV, Mark III BAZ and Mark III Merkava Pyramid Aiming Device
            Business End of all current Merkava's the IMI 120mm smooth bore Gun up very close...
             *120 mm main gun plus all other ammunition is made by Israel Military Industries & Rafael
              And BELOW we have the
Action End of the 120mm Smooth Bore IMI Main Gun
              Unlike many other MBT's there are
4 safety features that prevent jamming & Injury!

Ballistic Firing  Computer and digital FCS [[Fire Control System]] interface systems
               from Elbit Computers Ltd' (Knights MkIV Tadir
SharpShooter Barak Zoher System),

Merkava III BAZ and Merkava IV BAZ Fire Control Systems

We are the manufacturers of all of the Merkava series FCS as original equipment including the latest and most up-to-date
MBT any where in the world today. We are since 2004 called Elbit Systems of Ramot haSharon Israel. We are both a prime
and a sub contractor for the supply of various sophisticated electronic systems in the IDF Merkava tank platform including the
new electric gun, turret drive as well as firing on the go stabilization systems.  These systems include day / night gunner and
commander ballistic sighting systems flat thin panel color display screens, advance warning systems against all laser guided
threats, life support systems & BMS battle systems.

Since 2006 Lebanon War we have been awarded orders for the development and supply  of electronic and optical systems,
improved electrical drive systems for all Merkava series to bring them up to Mark IV BAZ standards. Elbit was just awarded
orders by MANTAK to supply a new generation of classified electro-optical systems for the Mark IV BAZ series. The orders
will cover the period from now until the year 2012, is part of the TEFEN multi year IDF plan. We remain the prime contractor
for MANTAK for all Merkava new construction on the tanks Fire Control System. We have also received a contract to begin
the upgrading of the firing computer of all IDF Mark III and early Mark IV main battle tanks over a three year period and to join
our subsidiary Kinetics to supply a new type of life support system, new Tadiran encryption equipment and a new generation
of helmet slewing / aiming technologies. Over half a billion dollars in Merkava programs.


*Tadiran (Now with Elbit Systems) supplies the air conditioning, intercom, HF, RF, communications relay equipment & C4I such as...

We at Tadiran along with our sister companies of the Elbit Systems electronic warehouse, are the prime contractor for the new
generation of Merkava series of main battle tanks now being fielded by the IDF from 2007 through 2012 called the BAZ series.
We integrate theater missile defense and armor with artillery through a new centric BMS matrix, spectrum management, also
command and control systems, data link solutions for a 'next' generation of stealth UAV called the Silver Sparrow as well as
new guided munitions and IDF ELINT satellites, a video dissemination system that will link ground and front commanders with
armor, naval as well as combat air assets with the integration of the new IAI G550 series of AESA based AEW.  Spectralink &
even search & rescue systems along with counter IED solutions are all being implemented over the next four years by Mantak
on this new Merkava BAZ program as can be seen in the picture below.


*Optical Peritelscopes and LWS (Laser Warning Systems) is from 'El-Op, Elisra', Elscint, Elbit, Scopus and 'Astronautics'
(who all supplies driver compartment equipment, actuators, electronics and automotive system integration),


  Merkava Siman Arba BAZ / Merkava Mk 4B / Merkava Mark 4 BAZ /  Merk Mk IV BAZ  TADIR & ASPRO-A 2nd Generation
 APS  (now featuring an Auto Internal Re-Loader) & at the center top above the new Remote-Overhead Weapons Station (R-OWS)

TADIR FCS = Mark IV BAZ 2007 Production Series
 (All Because of the TEFEN 2012 funding program)

  *R-OWS (Remote - Overhead Weapons Station), THOR & Trophy APS (ASPRO-A). is from 'Rafael Armament Development
  Authority,' while the new redesigned turret bustle with the integrated Trophy APS was developed by IAI and built by Urdan ballistic
  steel works. THOR Laser will defeat in place IED (Improvised Explosive Device), EFF (Explosive Formed Fragments) and the new
  Iranian EFP (Explosive Fragment Projectiles).  Also in August of 2007 Raphael announced M-TAPS (Multi Threat Armor Protection
  System) which is a break-through technology of a new generation of appliqué armor far more advanced than Chobham Armor which
  is found on many US, English & NATO tanks today. It's a Hybrid reactive-passive add-on armor that is designed to defeat modern
  Russian, Chinese and Iranian tank threats such as dual and tandem warheads. It is modular and very quick field repairable. It is even
  effective protecting against IED, EFP and FSP including the Bushmaster high velocity gun ammunition. It will be installed on Bradleys.
  U.S. Marines will use it in all their 2008 and on-ward production of MRAP-II vehicles according to the Commandant of the USMC.  
 This Section Begins Below After the Mark IV Lebanon 2006 Conflict Entry...

  Some of the more prominent FOREIGN suppliers are:

   *GDLS (General Dynamics Land Systems), who at Israel's urging got the license production rights from Germany's MTU for the
   state-of-the-art 1500 hsp GD883 V12 air cooled diesel engine along with the RENK RK325 Transmissions make up the power
   pack (which is army vernacular term for a field quick change package of a tank power plant system. For example the Merkava
   Mark IV B engine weighs 1.7 tons while the field replacement Powerpack weighs over 4 tons complete.

  A Merkava Mark III BAZ Up Close and Personal with Knights Mk III FCS
   Business End of the Merkava BAZ 120mm Rheinmetal Germany developed, But IMI (Israel Military Industries) produced main gun .
Revolutionary MBT approach to defense, Smallest & Hardest to hit target on Battlefield of Any tank in the world... to this very day!
   BEEP BEEP, OK Move Over Amigo or I will place this barrel where the Sun Doesn't Shine. Hezzie's co-operation is SO important.
  "Smile Partner - AND MAKE MY DAY"...
   *DARPA  who obtained the design details for I.M.I to develop and produce a native 3rd generation FCS, But more importantly was
   the German direct under the counter secret trnasfer of the manufacturing production of the smooth bore MBT tank gun.   This 120mm
   XM-256 (Watervielt  Arsenal) smoothbore Rheinmetal main tank canon barrels was provided under an arrangement between intel type
   agencies (Israel & German). The trade - I.M.I. agrees to sell to Rheinmetal the LAHAT 120mm anti-tank missile that can destroys air
   borne attack helicopters, aircraft and fast moving enemy tanks with an on-board auto-tracker and slave system). In fact the very same
   Germany in 1950's transfer the necessary Billion (round numbers) Dollars to pay France for the entire 1957
nuclear weapons under
   ground facility at Dimona in the Negev dessert, a so called 'textile/ cum desalinazation/ cum peaceful enrichment plant'...  Go figure...
   Merkava live fire exercise firing IMI Depleted Dimona Uranium (DU) 120mm Round (talk about A head ache)

    *Motorola for the Tadiran on-board communication encryption systems,

    *DuPont for the Nomex and other ballistic and fire retardant materials used by Hagor tank uniforms,

    *Russia's Military Industries for unknowingly helping Israeli equipment designers with both the KMT-4 & KMT-5 (see above) anti-
     mine rollers (RKM) as well as the ABK-3 dozer blade, now all built by Urdan with exports to NATO countries, US Army and US
    *Belgian Herstal FN for supplying MAG 7.62mm heavy coaxial and roof turret machine guns,

    *Caterpillar who is producing a revolutionary Israeli designed tank 'rubberized' track tread system,


    These systems & others are now being deployed on Mark IV BAZ SharpShooter version of the Merkava tank, now in full
    production with first deliveries expected early 1st quarter 2007. To date about 200 Mark I's were built, 550 Mark II's, 650
    Mark III's and now 400 Mark IV First Generation. In 1999 400 1500hsp power-packs were
ordered and in 2006 post
    Lebanon another 400 powerpacks were placed, with deliveries beginning during 2007 according to L3 who purchased (in
    2006) GDLS, the German MTU licensee in America.
A 2007 Up Date: all 400 Mark IV A's have been built and power-
    packs installed. A RUSH order of 200 Merk IV's (now BAZ) are now in various stages of production & one IDF Battalion
    or batch of 30 Merkava's was produced at the beginning of 2007,  a second batch of 30 has been constructed & are under
    going field trials in the Negev while a 3rd batch of 30 are either off the assembly line or just about completed by winter 2007. 
    All of these versions are full Mark IV BAZ with the new Knight's Mark 4 FCS Tadir (BAZ) and incorporate well over 200+
    modifications since the first Mark IV was delivered back in June of 2002.  It is true that in a perfect world and in Normal times
    we can expect about 60 units per year, however... in the early years of the 2000's there was severe military cutbacks & scaling
    back across the board which hit the Merkava program hard and several times looked as though the whole program would end.
    Only to be resuscitated at the last moment usually by 'events' which can thank Yasser and now Nasrallah in a strange twist of
    IRONY. Because of the 2006 war and all the recriminations and feedback there are now many crash programs funded by
                                                                  TEFEN 2006 through 2012
    that is now bringing about another side of telescopic Merkava production. 3 sets of 30 tanks at a time are now being ramped up
    per year like never before and you can bet that MANTAK is taking full advantage of this 'windfall' money before it evaporates...
    again.  Also concurrently early Mark IV A's and Mark III's are being now Up-Graded with the new ASPRO-
C APS Add-On
package along with the new Knight's Mk4 FCS among other systems to bring them up to Mk IV BAZ 2007 IDF standards. 
     Note: Mark IV production numbers above can only be extrapolated from the US based tank engine supplier
L3 & Not MANTAK or
    other IDF / Official sources as that is Always considered sensitive information and is neither discussed or ever disclosed... BTW.

   NUMBERS (Merkava Mk IV):
Platoon = 3     Company = 12     Battalion = 30     Brigade = 90
The late Aluf Israel Tal said that he "hoped" 1,200 Merk IV B's be fielded by December 2012 with the Tefen
      2006 Funding. That's not necessarily a production line of 90+ units per annum however.
"  I'm guessing here
      Talik is referring to new Mk 4 BAZ turret, bustle and APS with Knight's Mark 4 replacing Mk 3's as a series
      wide Up-Grade for older Mark 3 Merks! Then THAT dead line would certainly be plausible and realistic! The
      only catch is the annual IDF budget battle with finance ministry to prevent this from coming about.  We'll see
    Undergoing Live Fire Negev field exercises at Shizafon with new 2007 Merkava Mk IV BAZ with integrated ASPRO-A  APS 

   Compare Original Merkava Mk I Alef Below & Latest Merkava Mk IV BAZ Above  

  == Merkava Tank Series History ==
      Tochnit ha Merkava   (the Chariot's official development program name)
     This is the actual May 1977 1st official IDF released photo of the THEN new Merkava MBT # 820001 Z
     (Zahal) Note at the time, this particular angle was suppose to make the new Merkava look at it's WORST

     The First Public Showing of the Chariot would be ONE Year later on Independence Day May 22 1978.

      One note here about this Merkava Mark 1 ALEF bereft of all crew accoutrements, kits, stretchers, shovels,
      tow cables, bustle baskets, balls & chains. As time passed and new Merkava Marks and derivatives were
      produced; these later changes, lessons learned from the field and instituted during wars;  all of the Merkava
      family of tanks evolved & would no longer Looked, Performed, Resembled or Handled like the original.

      The story behind the above picture may prove to the reader to be a real eye opener some 30 plus years later...
      Dateline: HaKirya, Tel Aviv (Israel's Pentagon) by Hirsh Goodman JPost Military Correspondent TUESDAY
      (May 17, 1977) Defense Minister Shimon Peres (current President of Israel) officially acknowledged for the
      first time Saturday (14 May 1977) that Israel is producing a main battle tank called the Merkava (Chariot).

      The announcement followed the unexpected public disclosure in Washington D.C. by President Jimmy Carter
      of a most unusual pledge of $100 million dollars of U.S. funds to help start initial production of a new Israeli
      domestically built tank on Thursday (May 12, 1977). Coverage of this signing was provided by Jerusalem Post
      Washington Correspondent Wolf Blitzer (current CNN news anchor).  This up to now secret tank program is
      headed by the Israel Armor Corps and by Aluf Israel Tal, a world authority and proponent of armor warfare
      since beginning of the decade. Peres elaborated that the Merkava has a typical crew of 4 and can carry as much
      as 92 rounds of 105mm ammo. He also disclosed that this tank would be unconventional as certain lessons from
      recent wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 have made the Merkava the safest tank in the world. If only a basic load of
      62 rounds were carried then up to 10 combat infantry can be accommodated in a special rear compartment as the
      engine in the Merkava is in front which adds to its safety design. The tank will be powered by a newly developed
      900 hsp version of the U.S. Patton 750 hsp Teledyne Continental Motors engine. The main armament is  105mm
      canon now found on all the German, British and American main battle tanks and is the current NATO standard
      found in inventories across Europe. The new joint American-German next generation MBT is not expected for
      another seven years and would not be made available to Israel for at least another decade after that to allow for
      both the US Army and German Army to build up inventories. A factory especially set up for the production of
      ballistic armor casting is the brand new Urdan steel foundry in Netanya and is only 1 of 10 in the entire world
      capable of producing ballistic castings. Urdan just recently (1977) got a multi year contract that went a long way
      to pay for the plant capitalization, to manufacture for the U.S. Army the cupola for use on the M60 Patton series
      of tanks. The Chariot it was learned Sunday (May 15, 1977) has completed field trials of 10,000km in both desert
      and mountain areas of Israel and passed with flying colors. Full production will commence immediately. The first
      castings of  40 tanks was completed in 1976 and it was expected by the IDF to have first examples in units hands
      by November of 1976, there was a major hurdle with funding, transmission problems and U.S. State Department
      licensing rights. (As Usual

                   One more urban rumor to be put to rest... a so called preliminary sketch of the
                                   Merkava Siman Aleph signed by Moshe Dyan.

      Close but, no cigar
. Ok, it's 1970 & the English next generation Chieftain tank project is no more and the IDF staff
      wants & needs a tank badly, like yesterday! Aluf Tal was tasked with the proposal to be studied, worked, planned,
      find infrastructure & prepare for a major briefing on a massive IDF project... Tochinit ha Merkava, classified code
      for "Merkava Planned Tank Project." Tal works out what he needs, what the IDF can afford and what the armor
      commanders in the field ask as their #1 priority; which is crew protection over mobility and lethality (coming on the
      heels of the 1973 surprise anti-tank weapons). He gets all his ideas together except one remaining important item...
      a color image. He goes to Jerusalem, finds celebrated Master Builder Moshe Safdie who just moved from Montreal
      Canada at Mayor Teddy Kollek's urging. They collaborate on a sketch /architectural conception of Merkava for the
      First time. This did the trick as the project got full IDF and government funding. SO, the "Moshe" on the drawing is
                                                  Safdie's NOT Dayan.  Here's that rare Painting...
End of Story...

                   Division Commander 1967 War                       Deputy Chief of the General Staff IDF                           Commander Armor Corps

      ===Major General Israel 'Talik' Tal===
Born Sept 1924   Died Sept 2010
               He was Affectionately Known as the 'Father Of The Merkava' IDF MBT series of armor fighting vehicles
               LEFT 1970's Director of the IDF Merkava Project Office 'MANTAK' & RIGHT at the Sarafand work shops.
               Born in 1924 the now eighty year old Octogenarian (upper right) still can be found each day on the grounds of
               the new Tel HaShomer armor work shop facility busy as ever on the development of the '
Next' Merkava
               challenge the NAMER (Tiger, above) APC built around the hull of the Merkava Mk IV, Engineer ARV
               Armor Recovery Vehicle, the unique Tankbulance or the next new Merkava; the 2010  Mark V  40 ton
               Hi-Mobility class MBT
! Speed in excess of 60mph, Laser anti-IED/EFP gun, all wheel drive & Smart shells.

               Major General Tal single handily molded the Armor Corps into a Sharp-Shooting tanks corps with one shot
               equals one enemy tank hit. Ask the Syrians back in 1964. His command and leadership of armor divisions
               is renown. His tactics are legendary and are taught in every major military school around the world today.
               The idea, thought, design of the Merkava is icing on a distinguished military career of 6 decades. This MBT
               is not just revolutionary and unconventional but practical, sensible, economical, Deadly and gives the Israeli
               Defense Forces an UNFAIR advantage over all its adversaries regardless if their equipment is the most
               the Greatest or from Russia, China or even the USA. It has changed over the years and adapted very well to
               changing tactics, battlefield lessons learned and advances in enemy technology. Nothing is perfect in the real
               world but, the Merkava series has stood the test of time and it's Mark IV BAZ will verify that fact once again. 

               For all those nut cases out there in web chit-chat posts endlessly arguing Which Tank Is Best might find it
               very annoying that Aluf Israel Tal may have had a part in the development of another tank, the Abrams MBT

               Surprised? You shouldn't have been.
He was already known to have helped the XMBT-70 the Abrams tank
               predecessor with vertical hanging armor skirts that Creighton Abrams liked so well that it was ordered by the
               U.S. Army. And:

Abrams recalled when the American M1A1 MBT, then in first production and using a turbine engine, was failing    
 in every phase of its construction. It suck sand, its suspension could not take desert punishment, its bearings ate
 dust, its firing on the move was inadequate, etc. We called upon Israels General Tal, the father of the Merkava, to
 assist us in de-bugging the M1 from head to toe, A to Z.  After General Abrams passed away the tank was named. 
 But, the 'official' Thank You that followed was to be a charge of stealing US technology for chrome-plated tank gun
 barrels, which was later quietly dropped. Turned out that this chrome lining technology was being sold in 3 countries.
 Israel had asked for bids on transfer technology of chrome plating from Swedens Bofors, French Giat & Germanys
 Rheinmetal,  all of whom had developed chrome plating for gun barrels a year before. It was a trumped up accusation
 inspired by the hostile US State Department so it did make it to the front pages as planned. However, when proven
 wrong,  there was never any printed apology either by the US media or the United States State Department. As usual

  In Honor of General Tal's Contribution to the Abrams MBT Development, A Section of the U S Army Armor Corps
  Museum is Dedicated to Him with the awarding of the
Patton Armor Corps Medal. He's only 1 of 3 non Americans.

                  Major General Israel Tal being Congratulated by Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Gabriel Ashkenazi
Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Knox International Commanders Wall  honors General Israel 'Talik' Tal

                      In the entrance hall to the Patton Museum, there is a special section dedicated to only 5 great armor commanders of the 20th
. One is a German; two were U.S. Army general officers and two were general officers in the Israeli Defense Force
                      (IDF). The Israeli generals were Commandants of the IDF Armored School and of the the IDF Armor Corps. The German,
                      of course, is Field Marshal Rommel. The U.S. officers are Gen. George Patton and Gen. Creighton Abrams. The Israeli
                      officers are Gen. Israel Tal (Talik) and 1973 Golan Heights armor Gen. Musa Peled who successfully defeated an enemy
                      that out numbered his tank force by 46 to 1. Defeating over 600 Syrian T-62 tanks in four hours of intense close battle. 

                      "Israel Tal, a teenager at the time, fought as a sergeant in the Jewish Brigade with British forces in Italy in World War II. He
                      would leave that war just in time to participate in the Israeli War of Independence, and again in the 1956 War, and again as
                      a division commander in the Six-Day War (1967). Then as the Israelis struggled to separate themselves from dependence
                      on foreign equipment, General Tal set about to design & produce a tank, a tank for the unique combat circumstances faced
                      by the Israeli Defense Force. The Merkava was the result and is by all odds the best of the worlds tanks in terms of most
                      nearly meeting the requirements set forth for it by the user the Armored Corps of the Israel Defense Force. In every detail
                      it is Tal's tank. Its capabilities include, among other things, the ability to provide crew and vehicle survivability at levels never
                      dreamed of before its design. Syria's attempt to divert water away from the Jordan River from the snow melt run-off on the
                      slopes of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights prompted the Merkava's capability for long range gunnery. That run-off was
                      a critical source of water into the Jordan. Having failed at political persuasion with the Syrians, Israel called on its Armored
                      Corps to solve the problem. Tal and his tanks opened fire across the border onto the Syrian bulldozers digging trenches to
                      divert the water. The Syrians backed up the mountain; the tanks opened fire at greater range. After several such episodes,
                      the digging stopped, not to be resumed. The Armored Corps became world class long-range tank gunners and the water
                      continued to flow into the Jordan till this very day.
"  Citation by General Donald A. Starry, US Army   Armor Corps.

               Little Known Story behind The Legend of General Israel Tal... HERE
                  Click Image Above for Classic Review "
The Tank Even a Jewish Mother Would Love"

                       Above Gen Tal Showing PM Begin Merkava Plant @ Grand Opening Christmas 79
Merkava Mk 1A 30 unit 1980 assembly line @ new Armor Workshops

                  Merkava Mk III 30 unit 1994 line at the Tel HaShomer armor plant

                      Merkava Mk IV BAZ 30 unit production line during 2007 with Mk2 & Mk3 Lebanon
                      Conflict damaged tanks under repair foreground above with a new Tadir Knight Mark 4
                      FCS and Trophy II Mark 4 BAZ tank finished in back.  While below is the new Merkava
                      Mk IV BAZ coming off the assemble line bottom left with more units in back on the line.
                      All Lebanon damaged armor has been now repaired & the Merkava Mk IV BAZ 2008
                      production line is in full swing  Also there are now parallel lines for Nemer Mk IV APC's,
                      Older Mk III, pre-2006 Mk IV Merkavas being sent through IRAN complete upgrading.

                      Note on IRAN, a common term for Zero refitting and Zero Timing process first used in air
                      craft to bring older models of the same series to that of the latest variants and technologies.

                      History of the Merkava series of main battle tanks (MBT) dates back to the 1960's.
                      Israel realized that to defend itself in times of war, it had to have unrestricted sources of
                      the major weapon's platforms of land, sea and air. To be able to do that, a country would
                      have to have the infrastructure to build and adapt those systems to it's own specific geo-
                      graphical conditions, a technological base as well as have a  history of national-defense
                      industry.  Israel could buy nearly any plane, ship, submarine, gun and ammunition on the
                      world surplus market. However, not a single country in either the West or the East was
                      willing to sell her MBT during the 1940's and 1950's. It was not until the French sold
                      Israel tiny AMX light tanks for the 1956 Suez war did the IDF have any armor capability.
                      Later when the British began to unload their WWII style Centurion tanks did Israel have a
                      main battle tank. This French and British tank would be upgraded dramatically by the IDF
                      repair base at Sarafand until it was not feasible any longer to keep fixing up 20 year old &
                      out dated technology armor. Israel still lacked the experience or the infrastructure to design
                      & construct a contemporary MBT by 1960 that was comparable to any industrialized nation,
                      either from the West or from the Eastern. They would have to start from scratch and they
                      decided to build a 'Sabra' (Hebrew for Native Israelis) indigenous type main battle tank.

                       So you might ask, Does the APS work and has it been tested...    uh, duh!
                       What smoke Marshie?  I don't seem to remember you being inside this sardine can of a tank with us guinea pigs

                   Design, Planning, Proof of Concept and even wooden prototypes were begun for the Sabra...  
                   Above SABRA series began after Merkava as 'conversion' kit for older existing tanks in inventory
                Design started in mid 1960's but because of Chieftain fiasco was delayed 20 years to mid 1980's
It has now been successfully exported to a half dozen countries and is still going quite well in all.
                         So in 1965,  Israel set about to design and produce a 'Sabra' IDF main battle tank. However, fate would intervene
                         in 1966 when Israel was approached by Britain to help jointly develop & conduct field trials for a new next generation
                         MBT called the [Chieftain] MBT. Israel agreed if they would be given the opportunity to locally produce a variant for
                         the IDF and so 2 examples arrived in January 1967 along with a team of British armor and technical experts. The two
                         Chieftain prototypes were put through exhaustive tests of their performance in dirty, dusty desert climatic conditions of
                         the very hot and dry Sinai Desert.  England back then, had hoped to compete with Soviet tanks for Mid East sales.

                   Fourth of 4 Chieftains (2 Pairs) for Preproduction Sinai Testing Early 1969. General Tal on Right

                        But, during June 1967 Six-Day War, the technicians were briefly called back to England and the two prototypes were
                        hidden and stored. But soon a
second pair of 'improved' Chieftains arrived & began more exhaustive trials to verify the
                        improvements made over the first 2 prototypes to see if they held up under the field conditions of the Middle East. This
                        time however, they would face the even harsher conditions of the cold, wind and moisture of the barren Golan Heights
                        as well as it's notorious basalt rocks & bad topography. The first
2 examples arrived back in England to be re-evaluated
second two new prototypes were tested not even 1 year when an Arab potential buyer for the tanks put a stop to
                        this Anglo-Israeli military hardware co-operation with the British Ministry Of Defense. However, many valuable lessons
                        were now learned by the IDF from the 4 prototypes and from the 1967 conflict, especially  the need for more crew
                        protection and a new approach to an 'instant' fire suppression system as burn casualties top the list for armor injuries in
                        most of the Sinai & Golan engagements. Also factored in would be the ground work for an IDF tank production line that
                        Britain had promised as a part of the package. But, politics intervened in late '69, MOD withdrew from the joint program,
                        because the Home Office and the Foreign Ministry was coerced with an Arab promise of future tank sales. That there has
                        since Mandatory Times been a bias within the British Foreign Ministry of Brit Army getting too 'chummy' with the Zionist
                        state, so a convenient excuse was now at hand to stop this program dead in it's tracks. It was never the British Defense
                        Ministry (MOD) & to this very day still purchases millions of dollars worth of IDF desert military (UAV) equipment. The
                    two remaining Chieftain tanks were ordered returned on a cargo ship at Haifa port 17th December 1969.   Dead End!
                        Thus 5 valuable years were now lost in Israel's quest for self sufficiency in a future main battle tank production program.

                         A sad foot note to this chapter was the Pentagon would many years later admit that the British Foreign Office also asked
                         the US State Department to make sure
NO 'new' MBT's were sold to Israel. It seems, when the last two remaining MBT
                         tanks arrived 25 December (Christmas) 1969, it was discovered all the important IDF suggested improvements and new
                         recommendations for Chieftain short-comings were not included and were missing, according to the AP wire service back
                         on December 28th 1969.     Why the nerve of those ungrateful Zionist... !   They are still laughing at the Pentagon BTW.

                         Israel then realized that it could not rely on other nations to help her produce a main battle tank, it would have to be done
                         by Israel's own manufacturing base. 
                         General Israel Tal, began considering a new Israeli-made and Israeli-designed MBT and put forward on 15 of  May 1970
                         a proposal that was accepted by the Israel Parliament for funding, scouting for an industrial base and the search for native
                         as well as foreign suppliers began. This May date would then come to be known as the birth date for the Merkava tank
                         program. However there would be many set backs, shortages of funds design flaws and developmental problems that
                         would arise over the next few years adding to the Merkava's birth pangs. One of the worst would be the 1973 Yom Kippur
                         War & just as the first proto-types were being approved for funding & constructing. The Israeli High Command realized that
                         they did not have the human resources to withstand a war of attrition again with Arab neighbors.  Now, with that conclusion,
                         the Israeli government decided to initiate at once spin off projects related to designing the Tochnit ha Merkava (the Chariot's
                         official development program name) where crew survivability would take precedence over firepower and tank mobility
                         attributes.  So terrible were the tank crew losses in both the previous 1967 Six-Day and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 that
                         drove the Merkava program to what it is today. After those battles General Tal would shut down the tank program and all
                         production; to inspect, photograph and document every single armor casualty as to it's cause and possible prevention.
                         Because of this type of attention from war feedback from previous battles, Israeli priorities were firmly reset the 'Crew First'
                         concept from that date (June 1973) forward.

To this very day this Priority has not changes one iota in the last forty years of the Merkava Tank Program.

                          Here we see an excellent example of Lessons Learned. Because in all tanks world wide;   reloading has to be done through the top
                          hatches, many injuries, casualties and even fatalities were incurred while tanks attempted to re-supply while under combat. With the
                          innovation of the rear clam shell door seen above the canisters protecting the 120 mm main armament ammo rounds are quickly and
                          now safely brought on board, even while under combat without compromising crews. Simply Ingenious.  

                          By 1974 the tank's design was complete, prototypes fabricated and a temporary factory  (the current plant dates from 1988 and the
                          Merkava III series) created from existing World War II British armor workshops back when the base was called Sarafand (Tzerafin in
                          Hebrew).  Work soon began on adapting these workshops into Tell HaShomer Ordnance Depot for permanent full-scale mass tank
                          production over the next ten years. Ten-thousand kilometer field trials commenced in December 1974, first with four examples, then
                          later expanding to six Merkava proto-types (all of which can still be seen today at the newly refurbished Armor Corps museum at the
                          mandatory times British Taggert Fort in Latrun, Israel). Merkava was formally acknowledged among military circles for the first time
                          during March 1977 in the 'International Defense Review' monthly magazine. But the huge Merkava program was in dire need of any
                          kind of additional funding. Aluf Tal (General Tal, Father of the Merkava tank) then made a rare trip to Washington D.C. in hopes of
                          finding an American financial support source for his Merkava.  The United States Congress accepted Tal's proposal & the agreement
                          was enacted when President of the United States Jimmy Carter publically signed a multi-million dollar grant for Merkava development
                          on Thursday, May 12, 1977. Then the first official images of the Merkava MBT were then released 2 days later to the world military
                          press, like the US "Armed Forces Journal" on Saturday May 14, 1977. HOWEVER, it would be a more memorable experience on
                          the Merkava Chariot's FIRST public appearance during Israel's 30th Independence Day celebrations May 1978 in the huge new
                          Jerusalem University sports Stadium.

                          The 100 million dollars provided all the seed money for the mass production and large scale purchases from foreign sources of many
                          state-of-the-art components not yet available in Israel and that allowed the Merkava program to go forward. It was THAT crucial.
                          Interesting enough only 1.7 million dollars was actually used for the new plant because war from the North loomed in those dark days
                          of 1970's and instead of making one or two more "pre-production" batches of 30 tanks each to work out in the field with the regular
                          IDF forces all the kinks and oversights that happen with a first model of anything, the IDF ordered immediate 24 hrs a day around the
                          clock production so that by the actual date of the Lebanon war almost 200 Merkava's were completed and in the field ready to go to
                          war. The new purposely designed final tank assembly factory, the famous building #7100, would not be constructed until the first major
                          definitive change to the Merkava tank (the famous Mark III) in 1989 began production. The old WWII British & Palestinian Quonset
                          huts and dilapidated workshops of the Merkava Mark I and Mark II would be used for follow-on maintenance, up-grading old tank
                          series from Korean & older wars which would then be sold off as Export. Soon they began to get work orders from other countries for
                          PM (preventive maintenance) such as the U.S. Army and Marine Corps European / NATO theater. MANTAK had come a long way
                          from Nothing to a full MBT assembly line infrastructure.  

                          President Carter focused world attention on this Israeli 'Black' secretive military enterprise with his public signing but, those needed funds
                          did speed up tank assembly so that by 30 April 1978 the first production examples of the Merkava Mark I tanks rolled out with one of
                          them making the first official public appearance May 1978 during the annual Israel Independence Day celebrations at Jerusalem's main
                          university stadium. A Merkava Mk I rolled slowly out onto the large elliptical race track to the applause of many there that day, The four
                          IDF tank crew members were announced & stood proudly up in their fighting compartment positions & waved to the crowd.

                          Then Colonel Avigdor Kahalani (tank hero of the '73 war) received the ceremonial 1st Keys from General Tal on behalf of the 1st armor
                          group in the IDF to get the brand new Merkava tank (7th  Brigade).        But, then, slowly the rear hull began to open up with these giant
                          armored doors in a vertical clam-shell arrangement & the crowd fell silent.          No one had ever seen anything like this, including all the
                          attending foreign military attache's that were in attendance. They could not believe their eyes when ten fully armed combat soldiers began
                          racing out on the lowered ramp of the clam shell door & then stood in formation in front of this 56 ton behemoth.            All the while the
                          complete Merkava crew of Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver stood in their tanks' open hatches.  Fourteen fully armed troops in
1 Tank
                          There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd that day. Me included! A new Tank era was born.  Israel had just joined an elite small group of
                          nations on the world's stage          
To Be Able To DESIGN, DEVELOP and MASS PRODUCE their own MBT in 1977.

                          1st Merkava Mk I in Feb 1977 at Tel Ha Shomer IDF armor workshops outside Tel Aviv (seen on horizon) near Sarafand (Tzerefin)
This Tank's Serial Number is 820001 or the very first production model.  See First Released B&W Photo Above...
                          Also note the differences in detail on this model today versus the released censored B&W photo by the IDF PIO office.

                          The IDF hand over ceremony would not be until December 1978, when the first full brigade of 30 Merkava tanks began unit training.
                          One year later in 1979 the first Merkava unit was officially received by the IDF as operational with 90 Merks. By late 1980 the second
                           brigade of 90 takes began training so that by the 1982 Lebanon war over 200 Merks could be ready. Some would think that ten years
                           was a long time for a start-up of a MBT program. Others would have blamed funding problems of 1973-1976, growing pains from
                           transitioning from an economic based industry to a military industrial complex, the many equipment failures with such a radical new
                           platform, the 1973 Yom Kippur War did not help matters and would actually cause years of funding issues, then there was tank crew
                           conversion difficulties of going from a WWII tank mentality to a next generation armor warfare that the Merkava would be the first in
                           the world to adopt arriving before the French, German and even the US next-gen tanks, also the longer than normal crew training and
                           a whole new set of armor tactics that had to be developed due to the new tanks shape, speed and capabilities found in such an
                           unconventionally design tank. Further, the first deployed Division of Merkava tanks would not be battle ready and finish training until
                           mid 1980's. Still, 10 years from nothing (no money, no infrastructure, no experience workers, no existing similar programs) to full tank
                           deployment is quite an achievement in the annals of world armor history. Especially when you think that in Israel's case there was
                           absolutely no industrial production located anywhere in the country before the 1970's. Everything had to be developed from scratch.

=== Merkava Siman Echad (Mk I Series) 1970 to 1983 ===
                     Only 5 Years From First Casting 1973 to First Production Units 1978 On Display


                         First Six Merkava proto-types began their 10,000km field testing in 1974,
                         first definitive tank 1977, first series production 1978 & IDF acceptance
                         June 1979 & BTW, this is a plastic model of my first assigned Merkava tank.

                        Compare Original Merkava Mark I Below with Latest Merkava Mk IV BAZ
                        Rare AP wire photograph of Jerusalem stadium May 22 1978 Independence
                        Day Celebrations unveiling the first public showing of the 'Chariot' Tank. On 
                        this first occasion the Merkava tank went on display, 10 Combat IDF troops
                        came out the back clam shell doors, while the 4 man crew remained visible.

                        Merkava Siman Aleph with new bustle basket but NO chains prior to 1982 Lebanon Conflict

                       The Merkava Mark I was Israel's first home built MBT that was designed, fabricated and put into
                       mass production. This tank represents a departure from basic MBT layout, the high degree of crew
                       protection and the amount of armor between the crew and incoming projectiles.  Even the tank's
                       shape and general layout of the Merkava is very unconventional and most unique among all tank's.
                       The Merkava I was designed with the engine mounted in the front and the turret placed  toward the
                       back of the tank. Most remarkable of all however, is that from a  'prepared position'  the Merkava
                       series of tanks presents the Smallest front silhouette of any MBT in the world, making it the hardest
                       tank to hit or even for the enemy to see despite it's great size, bulk (above). The MBT's visible turret
                       area measures as follows:  the USA Abrams M1 is 1.17 square meters, British Chieftain is 1.55sqm,
                       German MBT Leopard is 1.29, Soviet T-72 and T-80 is 0.90 square meters while the Merkava is
                       only 0.76 square meters visible.  Even the current Mark IV is still one of the smallest targets (below).
                       When the Merkava tank is in 'Hull Down' battle field position it is almost impossible to see and when
                       it approaches it is still able to mask it's great size and mass, after all there can be 14 troops inside
! No
                       other tank on the scene today can make that claim, now it's over 80+ storage of main canon ammo...
                      Merkava Siman Aleph arriving at mouth of Lebanon's Litani River beach for an assault during 1982 
                      One of many Israel Naval LST's landing armor forces all during 1982 Lebanon War from the sea

                      Even though the tank was equipped with the state-of-the-art 105mm rifled US M68
                      main gun, developers pointed out that up to a 120mm main gun could be easily retro-
                      fitted, once NATO officially adopted that weapon caliber & it's 120mm ammunition
                      became available to Israel in times of war and crisis. Both the Chieftain & the Abrams
                      tanks came with the 105mm caliber main gun when they were first produced for their
                      respective armies in the late 1970's.

                      This pair of Merkava Mk I's are seen here on the Golan prior to the 1982 war. NO CHAINS, yet!

                     The Merkava first saw combat action in the  June 1982 Lebanon War  when 180 units in
                     three brigades (six battalions) were deployed. There, many battlefield issues would come to
                     light and later be addressed.  It showed a need for the 60mm mortar to be installed inside &
                     fired remotely,  rather than outside the turret in an exposed urban battlefield environment. A
                     shot trap was discovered in battle under the rear area of the turret bustle which was easily
                     remedied with a field installation of hanging chains & steel balls at the turret bustle over hang.
                     The high-power typical tank Zeon spotlight was removed as not needed nor wanted. Tracks
                     were modified and strengthen due to their constant failure on Lebanon's steep mountainous
                     conditions. Unlike most MBT's in the world, the Merkava could climb a 70 degree incline, a
                     most amazing feat that even foot soldiers would have difficulty in trying to accomplish. A more
                     powerful automatic transmission was also needed, as well as an up-grade to the Merkava's
                     main braking system. Major up-grades that were also found in the Mark I's Lebanese conflict,
                     would have to wait till after the December 1983 introduction of the Merkava Mark II,  for a
                     next generation Merkava Mark III series in 1989. They were: an improved cabin (NBC / air-
                     condition) system,  a pure water supply, an anti-helicopter weapon system, a more powerful
                     engine pack with an Israeli built and designed transmission, a more deadly main canon, longer
                     or extended range parameters and even a basic increase in the over all size of the tank hull
                     itself that would provide for a more comfortable ride in the most inhospitable terrain.

       Lebanon1982 Merkava I First Combat...
HERE for Images, Stories, Actions & Battles
                 Soviet T-54, T-55, T-62 & T-72 have always managed to come in a strong Second place to IDF in Wars

           === Merkava Series Aerial Deployment ===
                  Anyone Want To See A Merk Mark IV BAZ Being Off / On Loaded to a C-17 ?

                      Many arm-chair would-be generals would tell you that one of the DOWN sides to a Merkava tank
                      has to be it's weight as that would prevent it's deployment to many of the battle front areas in the
                      world today by aircraft. Well, that has not slowed down one tank, the US Army M1A2 Abrams
                      which if I am to believe the manufacturer (General Dynamics Land Systems) is about 70 tons, give
                      or take depending on... accessories. Well, they also had no problem on hundreds of occasions to
                      have to airlift Abrams into the thick of battle in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Merkava tank can
                      weigh about 50 tons give or take, but due to recent developments (like IAI Iron Fist and Rafael
                      M-Taps) can weigh even less now.  Ok, meister, show me ONE example.     OK, How about....
                       this case of a development model (shown here a Merkava Mark I upgraded to Mk II standards) and placed
                       with the Czech Republic, France and above Germany on an exchange for T-80, Leopard Mk V & LeClerc.
                       Later, to satisfy the U.S. State Department, an agreement between Turkey and Israel that was finally reached
                       in 2005 was that Merkava Up-Grades would be made to existing Turkish M-60 series Army tanks such as: 
                       engine-packs, armor, weapons and even an Israeli FCS system. Also,
"tests have been conducted with DOD 
                       teams over the years & All Merkava series (Mk 1 - IV) COULD be airlifted with USAF active air assets.

                       Just Because Some Nut-Job Head Puts a $1.75 English Sign on a Hebrew Tank... Does NOT Make It So
                       There are NO Merks in IDF service with English Markings, Model or Versions but All Merks do go through
                       Up-Grades constantly just to stay current even if they are like this old 1980's Mark now on a Museum loan...

               EXPORTED MERKAVA's
The Israeli government agency that is responsible for military exports and their web site have
                   listed the Merkava Mk I, the Mark II and now the Mark III at www.SIBAT & have done so
                   now for decades. However, sales are kept quiet and always been censored in the Israeli press.

                   I expect Iran's northern neighbor Azerbaijan will not be the only recipient of a company of
                   Merkava's, even if for only palace guard duties in Baku. SIBAT has no less than 5 request
                   on record in late 2006 for reconditioned Merks Mk 2 & Mk 3 which the IDF now wants all
                   to be replaced with the new edition of the state-of-the-art Mark 4Baz up-grades & production.
                   Currently with Merkava Mk III's there is an on-going proof of concept to swap out the turret
                   with new Mark 4 state-of-the-art electronics, APS, armor, GPS, WiMax, Ammo & intel gear.

                        SIBAT has over 600 ex-IDF Merks ready for export as of 2008 if anyone is counting... 

                The definitive fully mature Merkava Mark I back from Lebanon Combat...
Notice old turret bustle basket but with new "Shulamit Hair Chains' now attached?

       === Merkava Siman Shteim (Mark II) 1983 to 1989 === 
              Merkava II out scout'n for a parking spot!     What ignoramus said the Merkava was 'Under Powered?'  You wanna see a wheely?   
              Where are you suggesting? Tibet climbing the Himalayans?  Antarctica?  Maybe Laguna Beach? FYI, USMC Abrams M1A2SEP
              did not fare well against Merk IV's OR the Golan Heights BTW. Jes Say'n !

               The Mark II was first introduced into general service in April 1983 after the previous year's incursion into Lebanon. Some (like Royal
               Armor expert Brigadier General Richard E. Simpkin) have said; 'if it were not for critical timing & the need to get Merkava Mark I into
               service of the IDF ASAP, that the Merkava Mark II would have been the first definitive production model in the hands of the armor
               brigades and that the Mark I would have been just another of the many proto-types and development 'mules' that were used and field
               tested prior to IDF 1977 acceptance.'  So put  THAT  into your pipe and smoke it!

     World Armor Expert In Depth
     Merkava Series Review

The Merkava Mark II included many new upgrades & improvements because of the Lebanese 1982
Spring conflict, such as the focus on  urban warfare.   By adding additional 7.62mm machine guns to
the weapon stations for the T/Cmdr, gunner and loader allowed increased fire-support for dismounted
infantry along side the tank. Mark II  displayed further improvements in crew-survivability: functions 
such as relocating the 60mm Soltam mortar's firing station inside the crew compartment, introducing a
new Israeli-designed & built Ashot automatic transmission, increased fuel storage for improved  range
of 500 km (by putting the diesel fuel between the outer layers of the ballistic steel shell which help defeat
HEAT warheads), by replacing a 5 cent engine spring  (this lead to the amount of time between major
engine overhauls from 100 operating hours to over 1,000 hours), as well as the modification & installation
of the ubiquitous ball and chain arrangement seen hanging from all Merkava rear bustles.  These clever
simple devices deflect RPG's and other projectiles away from the tanks shot-trap areas that all tanks have.


Various upgrades to the Merkava Mark II models emphasized improved FCS systems. The new mast
for the meteorological sensors, crosswind analyzers,  thermal imaging & night vision optics, and the new
El-Op Matador 2 fire control system have all been improved & modified.  This created a new Merkava
Mark I-BIS series in 1985. Although the 900 hsp Teledyne pack remained the primary power plant for
the platform (1200hsp still was not ready), an Israeli break through in automatic transmissions designed
by Ashot of Ashkelon Israel was developed & incorporated into the Merkava Mark II BATASH series.

== Merkava Siman Shalosh (Mk III Series) 1989 - 1999 ==

First Merkava Mk III's to be deployed to a war was Lebanon June 1989 straight from production line

Another Under Powered Merkava, this time the Mk III seen here heading out for some coffee & donuts... Mustava been a Monday!
This tank is IDEALLY suited for the environment for which it was built... The Middle East.
    Not Europe you chat room dummies.

Professional Precision Scale Model Merkava Mark III by Colonel Fernando Galdiano-Ribeirao
For in depth discussion, picture examples and HOW-TO instructions on making a Merkava MkIII BAZ go HERE

Following new intelligence gained during Israel's 1982 campaign in Lebanon, the Mark III was first seen in December 1989 with 
more major modifications.  Among the many modifications were major changes to the Merkava basic turret silhouette features:

West Bank Patrol for new Mark III BAZ April 2000, Note the New Low Streamlined Silhouette Turret

Merkava Mk III Dor Daleth on maneuvers among the Daisies in the Galilee's Plain of Esdraelon at the foot of
historic Mount Megiddo

Merkava Mk III Dor Daleth up Very Close indeed with the snow caps foot hills of the Hermon mountain range
seen here above in the distant back ground

Merkava Mk III Dor Daleth company up close with smoke canister container open at the ready

*120mm smoothbore main gun (designated MG-251)  originally developed by Rheinmetall of Germany.

*1200 hsp powerpack for improved mobility & terrain handling (1500 hsp version was NOT ready in time for initial tank production)

*Special new type Israeli ballistic ceramic armor suite (a local version of British "Chobham" armor).  Above, border patrol company.

*Solid state ruggedize Digital electronic communication suite,

*External, two-way hard wire telephone for secure troops-to-tank communications,

*Main gun stabilization system, which allowed for independent turret movement and anti-helicopter capabilities,

*Implementation of dual round protective munitions containers for minimizing ammunition cooking off,

*Laser target designators and 360-degree laser warning system (LWS),

*Improved modular armor system allowing quick replacement of damaged armor (designated Kasag).

**The modular armor is designed for rapid replacement and repair in the battlefield and for quick upgrading as new designs and
sophisticated materials become available.

== BAZ (Falcon) FCS Knight Series Up-Grade Systems==

Merkava Siman III BAZ (HAWK) SharpShooters series laying a smoke screen for on board troops prior to combat field deployment

For the arm-chair generals out there, we have BAZ units of every shape, model and Merk derivative as it Only refers to the FCS (Fire
Control System) that is being '
constantly' upgraded by Mantak and not some dumb chat room preconceived idea it applies to a 13 year
old Mark III's wandering around in search of a mission. This '
Sharp-Shooter' version is deadly accurate with the IDF Armor goal of 1
shot Equals 1 Hit and is just as deadly accurate against armored helicopters as it is enemy MBT's. All else is... FAILURE.
Talik's Law
Debuting in 1995, the BAZ Up-Grade to the
Merkava Mark III BAZ Series was designed with  improved Sharp-Shooting BAZ
and additional electronic systems... 
ElOp up grade FCS for BAZ on Mark III Merks is Knights Mk3 System

*Upgraded FCS (Fire Control System) Both Knight's Mk3 for Mark III Merkava's & the Armor Corps
new 1999 Tadir Knight's Mark 4 for the entire Mark IV production line 1999-2009 through 2012

*Improved Protection against weapons of mass destruction; NBC ventilation / air conditioning and heating  / air cleaning systems.

*Locally-developed central Micro air-conditioning system (this was revolutionary in tanks). NOTE, all Merkava series have had A/C from
day 1. (In Micro A/C a distribution system of flexible tubing pipes cool (or heat) air right into the tank crew suits for individual comfort. Also,
since the Mark III BAZ units of 1995,  all seats in Merkava tanks have also had an air cushion suspension and anti-IED blast system installed.

2007 Merkava Siman III BAZ LIC (FALCON FCS) undergoing new Up-Grade at Plant 7100 including the new Belly Armor Pak

The designation appended to the name; Merkava Mark X "BAZ" (Falcon, Hebrew Barak Zoher meaning shining lightning), which the 
planners & engineers deemed appropriate for a
SharpShooting tank killer sniper platform with a computer based FCS. It's now the
 most advanced type found anywhere. The Mark IV BAZ it's Tadir beats M1A2 SEP as proven by one on one USMC Golan trials.

    === Dor-Dalet (Fourth Generation Armor)===
Merkava Mk III's with Dor Daleth 4th Gen. up-grades on the Golan Heights.  Hezbo's confused these as Mark IV kills

The latest generation of the Mark III class is the Mk III BAZ D or Dor-Dalet.  The most significant difference between the two
versions is the installation of the ''Kasag'' modular-armoring system, specifically around the turret area. Some of the other differences
 include up-grades such as: 

Merkava Mk III Dor Daleth (Reserves) on Prime Mover trailer by Netzer Sereni metal works heading to Lebanon Front

*Upgraded and strengthened Cat-Tracs (built by Caterpillar) and design by an Israeli. If you look at the
6 ground road wheels you will
notice an obvious space between the rear two wheels and the forward four wheels. This is so a 'Quick-Fix' can be done in the field to
rescue disabled tanks by shortening the track around just the first four forward wheels and the tank will be still able to continue under
it's own power to safety. You can see this clearly in the next four Merkava Mk IV photos that follow below.  Look Carefully. 

Merkava Mk III BAZ In Depth Report-Here
Click Image Above For BAZ series of Merkava tanks both UP-Grade and Mass Production Versions

*Upgraded machine gun placement and installation of a remote OWS (Overhead Weapons System) with a Laser anti IED system.

The newer model also keeps many of the previous modifications, such as air filtration  and advanced NBC protection.  Prospective up-
grades planned for this model include a battlefield-management system (similar to the 'IVIS' system installed in the  American M-1 A2 
Abrams MBT.  The system's deployment is crucial to integrating individual tanks and allowing a central command authority to follow
the course of battle from an individual tank level perspective.

= Merkava Siman Arba (Mk 4 Series) =
                                 Merkava Siman Arba BAZ Aleph 1999 - 2006
                                 Merkava Siman Arba
BAZ Bet      2007 - 2012

 Above First Series Production Merkava Mark IVA June 22, 2002 Coming Off Assembly line in back.

Merkava Mark IV 'proto-type' from 1999 trials, proof of concept, now on display at Latrun Museum. A
2008 rumor has it that
this Lebanon veteran was 1 of 2 IED MBT's and could not be restored completely!

Aerial of Yad LaShiryon Armor Museum at Latrun Israel, Click image for Link

These images above and below,  show the Merkava Mark IV with some new
features such as the anti-ballistic mesh coverings here on the right forward
engine exhaust grill, optics and sensitive turret electronics

as well as a set of new Up-Graded side skirts for the Tractor - Roller assembly
areas on the sides.

Here Mark IV can be seen in it's best profile with the new rubber treads, newly designed ballistic skirts,
anti-fragmenting mesh, close quarters LED marking polls and the
BAZ FCS sharpshooter aiming system

I Forgot to say cheese, besides it was my Day-Off... ugh! 
              I Just Hate It...  When That Happens!

The Gap between the rear two road wheels and the front four is very noticeable on this angle.

The Mark IV is the latest generation in the tank's line and has been in production since 1999.  It's production was first announced
in an October 1999 edition of ''Bamahaneh'' (In The Camp) IDF military publication. It was then published in December of 1999
in additional publications such as ''Armed Forces Journal''.  The 1999 articles discussed many of the qualities, features and
specifications of the Mark IV version. Production and ordering long lead items such as the German transmission & power-pack as
well as the necessary ballistic steel.  It would not be until 2002 first production models rolled out for trials, testing & unit teaming.

One Version Of A Merkava Proto-type

Six Merkava
4 prototypes were started in 1996 and all eventually were in the test
program at the same time prior to the 1999 announcement of the new IV Series.

The prototypes accumulated over 10,000km field trials by end of 1999.
 October 1999
the IDF military publication
Bamahane (In The Camp) had an in-depth article on the
new MkIV. There it said Israel had placed an immediate order of
400 rush US GDLS 
(General Dynamics) now called L3 Land Systems and their new license built 1500-hsp
GD-883 power-packs (tank engine and transmission power plant), featuring the new
German Renk RK-325 Automatic transmission with five forward gears & two reverse
gears.  Note: that L3 Systems bought out all GDLS military contracts in 2006. In early
2002 the IDF asked NRG (Haaretz News) to video six Mark 4's undergoing field tests
in the rugged cold Golan Heights. See Video section near top of this page for
That clip.

 Here New FCS prot-type mini is shown ADD-ON SERIES and been installed to a pre existing Mk IVA turret.
 Definitive Merkava Siman Arba (Mk IV A) Upgraded tank series 

Since the 2006 war all the Armor brigades have been on refresher,  intensive training and mountain courses; here Mk 4's at Shizafon.

     German MTU - US GDLS - USA L3 : 1500 hsp Power Pak
       Standard on all Merkava Siman Arba (Mk IV) series tanks 1999 - Present
         Merkava Mk IV 883 Engine Only     Merkava Mk IV Renk Transmission  Merk 4 1500 hsp PowerPak  

         RENK of Germany now allows Israel to liscense produce the Merkava IV transmission locally... FYI

         License production by MTU of Germany to General Dynamics at their Muskegon diesel engine assembly
         facilities for export to Israel due to FCS payment restrictions & the technical agreement signed by none
         other than General Tal in 1997 on behalf of MANTAK and the CEO of GDLS (now L3 systems).

         Here the 1500 hsp Merkava Mk IV PowerPak being Changed Out by this new ARV vehicle above that
         has On-Board 220 volt generator, air pressure system for impact tools, air conditioning, 8 man crew cap.
         of tank engineers, a latrine, APU (auxiliary power unit), with hydraulic field Crane of 50 ton/meter torque.


               Merkava MBT Power Pack Coming Out          Merkava Engine Compartment Cavity       Mk IV 1500hsp MTU-883 Exchanged Out 

              Above the Merkava Mk IV BAZ 1500 hsp Power Pak engine change on a field exercise. Total record  time 35 min
              flat. Gen Tal told me one of the lessons learned from the 1973 war was quick tank engine change out under 1 hour.
              The L3-883 USA-German Engine is 2 Tons while the total weight for 1500hsp field Power-Pack is over Four Tons

                (Left)  PowerPak German MTU 883                                                MTU 883 1500hsp Turbo-Charged PowerPak  (Right)
         Merkava Mk IV PowerPak Engine Cavity Forward of the Crew Compartment  
*The Merkava main PowerPak has been upgraded to 1500 horsepower in the Mk IV & allows the tank to accelerate to burst speeds of over 65
km/h and have a Military Power Ratio to Weight factor of 24.5,  which is similar or better than other current MBT's in the world today. This engine
was pioneered by the famous German 'motor-works' MTU as a supercharged V12 Diesel air cooled combat power plant. Israel' s Merkava IDF
office 'MANTAK' convinced General Dynamics to acquire the license production so that the entire PowerPak could be purchased with the annual
FCS funds from Congress that had to be spent in the US on US made & produce equipment each year.  Four hundred 1500hsp PowerPaks were
first ordered in 1999 when the Merkava Mark IV production series started, with first USA made PowerPak models arriving not until 2002. Because
of MANTAK's 'Telescopic' process this was never a problem, this despite the erroneous PRESS at the time of a supposedly German Boycott of the
MBT tank engines that come from the final assemble lines of General Dynamics and now L3 in York, Pennsylvania USA.

           ==Merkava ARV & ERV==
           Armored Recovery Vehicle with PowerPak lifting Crane and Eight man Engineer Recovery Vehicle

Merkava 3 based ARV with 4 Ton PowerPak & Crane before Trophy II installation

The Merkava '''ARV''', named: ''Namera'' (Hebrew: Tigress) is the latest armored recovery
vehicle based on a Merkava chassis. It is capable of towing disabled tanks and carries
a complete Merkava back-up PowerPack that can be field changed in under 90 minutes.

Rear quadrant view of Merkava Mk IV Armor COMPANY Recovery Vehicle

Here Merkava IV chassis as ARV (Armor Recovery Vehicle) for field repairs

Merk IV body Namer Armor Recovery Vehicle (ARV) for field change out of the Power Pack MTU883

Battalion Vehicle capable of lifting both 2 ton 883 MTU/L3 engine & entire 4 ton PowerPak assembly 

Merkava Mk IV in Lebanon Border position with LIC Belly Pak Configuration

Notice how my Golan buddies will seek out shade no matter how difficult to find, to stay a little cooler and little less conspicuous?

Merkava Siman Arba (Mk IV) In Gaza Action & etc...

Here Merkava Mk IV company on patrol in Gaza as Hunter / Killer teams looking for Kassem Rocket bandito's...
In this case a Palestinian Red Crescent Van (Islamic Red Cross) is used as Hamas troop carrier / rocket transporter.

Merkava Mark IV on Lebanon border patrol against nasty Hezbo's who kidnap, murder, plant IED's, terrorize, etc.. 
Then wonder why they get no World sympathy or support from the 37 Moslem counties or any of their oil billions.
UN teams along this border are the 1978 - today UNIFIL from Noqoura to Shaba Farms area foot of Mt Hermon.

Merkava Mark4 on the frontier with Egyptian Sinai, since their border with Hamas controlled Gaza is now wide open.
UN teams along this border Eilat to Rafa near Gaza is MFO 1981 based out of El-Gorah with USA participation.

Merkava Mark IV on routine patrol in Samaria against Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA or PLO) & Fatah guerillas
with UN observation post,  in the vicinity of their Mid East headquarters complex at, Hill of Evil Counsel in Jerusalem
The UN teams here are UNTSO and have been here since 1948 and monitor Palestine, Jordan and Israel positions.

Merkava Mark IV on border patrol in Judea to stop 'friendly' Palestinians from attempting suicide bombings by young
children (some under the age of 9
!). Very Nice neighborhood huh? Most are young girls BTW. Their reward; they get
their Mommy back...  no wonder Euro's, flakes, Quakers and other imbeciles love these poor Palestinians so much
UN teams in this area are UNDOF since 1974 and are based in Damascus & also cover Syrian - Israel Golan border. 

You May Ask the Reason for having a MBT in the above cases. WELL, that's because... it's air conditioned, Israeli
troops get to go home each night to their families, it protects against IED's & they eliminates wounding IDF troops.

Here we have Merkava Mk IV Winter Syria Frontier on Station

1st WAR deployment for Merkava IV was 2006 Lebanon Conflict Now all 4 Merkava versions
have now seen combat except Trophy & THAT is about to change with 2008 revelations in Gaza

It would not be until the beginning of 2002 that completed Mk IV's would be in IDF hands. Usually
30 tanks would roll off at a time and about two production runs would average out during one calendar
year.  Since 2006 summer war all Merkava production has been put into over drive and will hit 3
production runs of 30 units: 90 tanks annually

Pair of Golani Armor Brigade Mk IV's with Anti-Mine devices on patrol during February 2008 snow

On Patrol near Jericho West Bank 2004, Rear bins empty in LIC warfare, here at the west side of the town's road approaches

Oh, & Don't Be Fooled Like the Hamas & Hezbo Press, This Is NOT A Merkava Mk IV, The One Below IS!

Merkava Mk IV shown in detailed at the 6 o-clock position & ready for inspection. It's MaTak Cmndr below:

       Size: 9' Feet Height, 30' Feet in Length and 12' Feet Width @ 60+ Tons
    2.66 Meters by 9.04 Meters and 3.72 Meters Width @ 60,000+ KG
       BAZ upgrades; Trophy/ASPRO, M-TAPS can reduce 1,000's of pounds 

       Representation of a company of 3 Merkava Mk IV with scale toy models 

It is only with the accuracy of time and hindsight will the real story of what happen and what went wrong, but also what all went right
during this 2006 Hezbollah conflict. Some things are for certain. A perceived deterrent by Iran against it's nuclear warfare program
by an Iranian Hezbollah army threat to Israel, has all been destroyed and now pushed back by over fifteen thousand NATO troops,
French armor tank brigades and German Naval warships. Many of the so called civilian casualties were in fact Hezbollah forces and
their families. Such is the price with 'sleeping' with the enemy. It is also feared many Hezbollah casualties may never be found and are
actually entombed in their deep under ground bunkers and caves. They are sealed under tons of collapsed concrete and steel. Rather
than risk IDF troops lives searching the labyrinth of hidden bunkers, the IDF relied on a I.M.I. developed new Thermo-Baric 155mm
arty round which completely collapses any under ground harden sites most effectively in seconds. This was 1 of the reasons IDF took
so long to pull out from all South Lebanon. It has been estimated that between 4 and 6 billion dollars worth of Iranian weaponry has
been destroyed, damaged and even captured & brought back to Northern Israeli military ammo bunkers in many convoys over a period
of months in 2006 after the cease fire was declared.  This was in an after-battle report to the U.S. Congress by the GAO in late 2006.

Chief of Israel Armor Corps, General Benjamin Gantz said of the 2006 Lebanon conflict...

We always knew that the anti-tank threat would not stand still, and that over the years, we have to go to the next level of protection,
 in reference to a family of active armor protection systems that has been developed by Israel's Ministry of Defense. In all fairness, the
Merkava series of Mark II, III and IV's did not demonstrate even half of their capabilities in this war.

Aside from its war-fighting contributions, the Merkava is credited by the Manufacturers Association here with attracting some $250
million to $350 million in annual exports. More than 200 firms and factories employing some 10,000 workers in 2006 to participate in
Merkava production, rendering the program not only a clear strategic asset, but the industrial backbone driving a critical sector of
Israel's defense industrial base through the year 2020.

                Some of you wanna-be tankers have notice the apparent discrepancies in both Merkava antenna Count and Placement. When you
                look over entire series you will begin to see aerials more prominent in Older models and versions,  to a point where in the latest
BAZ series they seem almost invisible.  
                Different angle of 2007 Merkava Mk IV BAZ with factory installed ASPRO-A integrated APS after a day of Live Fire field exercises


                Explaining the above schematic: the TOP BAZ is a M-60 or similar Conversion Export customer tank with what can only be described
                as a whole new 120mm turret, bustle and electronic sensor placement.
While below schematic: shows  #1. The RAFAEL APS system
                in place covering over lapping arcs of
180 along with #2. Showing the placement of the directed projectile defense mechanism & finally
#3. The location refers to the internal BMS and all the concomminent electronic tracking, traversing and firing sequencing calculations
                intercept computer positions. This concept offers additional crew protection, a more powerful, accurate fire-control system, produced
                by El-Op, the Knight Mark 4 FCS. Optimized for urban combat, the Mark 4
BAZ has been given improved armor on all sides including
                the top and even underneath the tank with a removable "belly armor pack."  The modular armor system introduced in the Mark III
                series is further advanced in the Mark IV as well as the NBC measures of  the previous generation.  An IDF approved upgrade to the

series was the implementation of individual fire-proof GRP ammunition storage canisters to reduce the  chance of tank
                rounds cooking-off if the tank compartment was compromised by a fire. The turret is classified as "dry," because no active rounds are
                kept in storage above  the turret line.  The Mark IV also has the lowest cross-signature of any modern MBT.  Some stealth features,
                like hull shaping, the exterior non-reflective paints and shielding for engine heat plumes mixing with air particles to help confuse enemy
                thermal imagers, were carried over from the IAF ''LAVI'' ATF (Advance Tactical Fighter) program of the 1970's to reduce further the
                battlefield signature of the Merkava series tanks. In 2009 another upgrade.

                Undergoing Live Fire dessert field exercises at the Shizafon armor base in 2007.  Merk Mk IV BAZ & integrated ASPRO-A APS 

           In Depth Merkava Mk 4 BAZ Above with Walk Around & Extended Info @ bottom

   MERKAVA IV Iron Fist
                Web page is from Fresh.co.il  ABOVE: Merkava Siman Arba Aleph with add on Iron Fist

                     Article is by noted British World Armor Expert Ogorkiewicz (wrote Merk MkII 25 yrs ago)

This Merk Mk IV became the definitive example used by LEGEND in their Resin 1/35 Scale Model tank below

August 2007 LEGEND MODELS of Yongsan, Seoul, Korea 1/35th scale resin model that is in high detail relief.
For up close
Walk-Around of the Mark IV series just click the LINK above. Very large images of Merkava IV
We now have coming NEXT YEAR in July 2008 a new ACADEMY of Korea Merkava Mk IV model HERE
Excellent top view below as Lebanon war Mark IV calls in for aerial fire retardant to put out hezzie started fires

I guess the old axiom if you can't beat your enemy, burn his trees, forest, parks, yards, flowers etc down. Nice...

Sources HERE  for Mk IV numbers data is NOT Israeli, but from RENK, builder of
the German transmissions and L3 Corporation 1500 hsp engine orders and delivery
schedules from Open Public Sources.  It is true that MANTAK never discloses those
numbers and most likely Never Will...

The World Famous Merkava MBT Mk IV Elevator...
One little known feature is that the Merkava Mark IV now includes an elevator... of  sorts. The tank commander's position has a small
platform that can quickly elevate & lower back into the protective commander turret position with optics, communications, station keeping
and electronic warning instrumentation.  Most of the crew interior positions are white and very brightly lit.  Many redundant systems have
been also implemented to insure fighting capabilities even when hit or damaged in combat, this would also includes the complete electrical
power grid, fuel lines, fire suppression systems, communication systems, drinking water, food supplies and tank ammunition. 

Below screen shot from a PC game called "Operation Flashpoint" 

Above is NOT from any simulators...  air heads !
The Merkava comes with it's own full size as well as specialized simulators that offer realistic combat environments and conditions

== 2007 FCS (Fire Control System) & BMS (Battle Management System) ==

New Merkava Mk IV incorporates a sophisticated and elaborate computerized integrated BMS (Battle Management System)
A new very sophisticated BMS (Battle Management System) has been completely designed, constructed, and tested using local
Israeli technology. Named the BMS (Hebrew: צי"ד), it was designed by [[Elbit Systems]] and allows for a centralized distribution
of battlefield data on color plasma TV like screens.  It collects data from tracked units and [unmanned aerial vehicle | UAV]s
deployed in theater and then this data is distributed encrypted by central command authority instantaneously to all other tank units
in a given theater. This is all part of the IDF new 'centric warfare' C4I being implemented since 2006 Lebanon conflict.

Israeli El-Op computerized Knight Mk3 (2000) & now Knight Mk4 "
TADIR" (2006) FCS enables the Merkava to operate as an anti-
helicopter sharpshooter platform & is most capable of detecting and taking down armored attack helicopters such as the French Aéro-
spatiale Gazelle, ubiquitous Russian MIL Mi-24 Hind D  as well as many others used by many of Israel's surrounding Arab neighbors)
to say nothing of fair weather neighbors...  like Egypt, Saudi Arabia or even Jordan who have previously attacked Israel many times,
usually without any provocation since 1900
! Yes for well over 100 years.


==About IDF Markings==
White painted markings on IDF armor indicate the Battalion, the Company and the Platoon.  For instance; the battalion is
indicated by the white rings around the barrel of the main gun. One ring 1st battalion, Two ring 2nd battalion and so forth.

The armor Company is indicated by the rotating chevrons (V's). V is for 1st company, > is for 2nd company, ^ is for 3rd
company and finally < is for the 4th company. US, NATO and many other countries have also adopted this symbol as well.

The Platoon and the position of the tank in the platoon is indicated by a Hebrew letter A (Aleph), B (Bet), C (Gimmel) and
D (Daleth).  For Platoon A, B, C or D) followed by a number, 1, 2,3 and 4.. They are normally indicated on panels at the
rear of the turret. These indications are sometimes are also present on the front left and right mud guards and they include a
geometric symbol ( star, circle, square, rhomboid) that represent the regiment of that armor formation..

Rubber whip pole-markers with LED tips and a driver's rear facing TV camera
have also been installed to improve navigation and inner city maneuverability day
or night on LIC Merkava tanks that are used constantly in Gaza and West Bank
areas that are notorious with small narrow streets. Merkava Mk IV A's have
rear TV camera while Mk IV BAZ have 360 degree TV color camera coverage.
MANTAK said in 2007 that there are now well over
200+ changes and new
improvements being applied to Merkava Mk IV since 1999 first production run

Merkava Mark IV series has a smooth bore 120 mm main gun which can fire the 
I.M.I. APAM, Kalanit, HESH, HEAT, APFS-DS-T tank rounds.
2008 choices:

It is not like there is few choices now for the Merkava 120mm Ordnance Rounds :
Depleted Uranium (DU), White Phosphorus (WP), Lahat & Excalibur ATGW here

Loading 120mm LAHAT ATGW round Above

120mm Excalibur DTW  ATGW Above  

Merkava BAZ Tank Missile Rounds
Lahat (Knife Blade) 1st generation & Excalibur 2nd generation 120mm
ATGM round for the latest Merkava (Chariot) MBT tank series armament.
Some of these new missiles go far beyond the 7,000 meter to 30,000m.

They can bring down gunship helicopters and aircraft as well as UAV's

Israel Military Industries (IMI) & Rafael are working jointly on the follow-on
guided tank shell to IMI's current top-attack ATGW Excalibur design. This
new guided round will retain the top-attack approach & Terminal-Sensor
guidance system as used in the Excalibur Mk I, rather than reverting to the
older Laser beam-riding guidance approach used by (IAI) Israel Aircraft
Industries in its
LAHAT (Laser Homing Anti-Tank) 120mm round. Back in
2007 a consortium of
Rheinmetall W&M Group, Diehl Munitions System and 
Rafael agreed to produce the new Spike-Excalibur Mk II in Europe and
have signed contracts with NATO armies for 10,000 examples at over 1
Billion US Dollars in the next five years.

The IMI-Rafael team believed that four years and US$70 million was all that 
was needed to bring this improved version of Excalibur to operational service.
Developmental issues include making sure that the on-board seeker and
guidance unit both survive the force of being fired from a tank gun. Like the
original Excalibur design, the new round will have the same external volume
as a standard 120mm tank shell.

This system also incorporates a .50 caliber coaxial main gun feature and an improved
60mm mortar that has increase range (3,700 meters) from previous Merkava versions. 
A new rear facing firing port with an internal sniper M4 rifle can now be fitted to the
rear door and has proven very effective in many urban LIC (Low Intensity Conflicts) 
environments.  It was announced late in 2006 that the new Knight Mk4 '
Tadir' FCS
is being installed on all new Merkava Mark IV's production line, creating what will be
the new Merkava Mark IV BAZ for an early 2007 introduction. Some features of the
new 2007 BAZ edition of the Merkava Mark IV is the complete integration of the
Trophy APS (Active Protective System) a first in the world since Russia's Arena never
was adopted, worked & had to be retired. 1 of the advantages of the new Trophy
(ASPRO-A) system is the internal re-load capability since reloading takes place inside
under protective armor during battle with access to more ammunition from the rear
compartment. Trophy II is very effective against most  rockets (i.e. RPG's), Kinetic
energy rounds, top attack munitions, ATGW's and
Dual Tandem Warheads such as
the (Metis-M,  Kornet E and the new Soviet RPG-29).

New I.M.I. Kalanit round at the Baladia Negev Training area 2007 refresher course for all Merkava crews

A Merkava Mk IV White Phosphorous round heading down range at Shizafon February 2008

 === Upgraded Israeli Designed 'MAZKOM' tracks ===

Track 'Shedding'     A perennial favorite Tanker past time

The Merkava has been built with an Israeli designed concept of improved [[caterpillar track]]s system.  Called "Mazkom" by IDF
official designation of "TSAWS," is ''tracks, springs, and wheels system'' (Hebrew language|Hebrew: מערכת  זחלים קפיצים  ומרכובים). 

The new system is designed to endure the harsh ground conditions of desert sand (Mk IV), basalt rock conditions of Lebanon & the
Golan Heights to minimize incidents of track-shedding.  For quick FIX repairs under field / combat conditions there is a space between
the back two road wheels and the front four road wheels so a smaller 'run' can be devised in case of broken or damaged tracks, say
from an IED (improvised roadside explosive device). Above Merkava Mk IV under going track maintenance repair in the field.

=== Unique Merkava Rear Fighting Compartment Interior View ===
Similar interior arrangement of Merkava IV & Namer AFV shown with clam shell doors removed. 
Right image has 8 position seat troop arrangement for their similar configured rear compartment areas.
Note the two forward facing seats are for Namer driver on left and OWS gunner position on right.

Merkava II here named Shahak (Sky) deploying Nahal Scouts for MOUNT LIC Gaza operations. See this in Video provided at top
of page.  Below you see 4 troops ready to exit out the back, plus this cameraman & tank crew of 4 AND 4 men already deployed

It's crowded but, this Merkava Battalion deployed swarms of IDF troops in support of armor attack in 2006 war
Merkava III BAZ deploying it's EIGHT man platoon from rear compartment during Gaza CAST LEAD 2009

Interior view of the closed clam shell door with a full load of spent GRP ammo containers,
Mk IV can easily hold 48 rounds plus 10 in the Elbit electrically driven Auto Magazine 

Rear Storage / Fighting Compartment Initially this was a secret, then it was not when it
was publicly demonstrated on it's first appearance back on Independence Day 1978 before
the world (see below), then  it was denied, then it was made secret again as if it never existed.
Later, it was then said that there was no room for a rear compartment and besides, if there
was this 'hidden' compartment it was always filled with extra main canon ammo
!     Now...
IS most surely a rear compartment area and it Does Surely exist as can be seen here.
Special Ops will deploy 7 plus squad leader while 10 combat troops were carried in 1978
during 1st public roll out and recently the Mark 4's during 2006 conflict. A Medical team is 
now fielded in ten special unmarked Tankbulances that are getting the Trophy APS installed.
They have 1 doc plus 2 orderly's with 3 casualty stations. A
Forward Command Post with 5 
specialist depending we're talking about a company, brigade or battalion Merkava. See below. 

1000's of IDF troops have ridden inside Merkava troop compartments over the past 30 years.
It's true that all the main gun 120mm ammo makes for one very cramped riding condition but,
I never saw anyone complaining of too much ammo!    However the Mark IV ride is smooth.
Don't forget a bathroom facility & air conditioning. Of course they could walk or Run alongside

Tavor armed tanker hand launching BVR 'eye-in-the-sky Merkava Mk IV TADIR Down-Linked mini UAV

Newer, faster, further and more precise UAV for Merks but does take up more crucial space

Stealth Silver Arrow UAV on board Merkava IV BAZ units 2010

There is a quiet program of incorporating a state-of-the-art Mini-UAV from the Silver Arrow project called Skylark III
which is a man-pack system, individual deployed Stealth UAV by virtue of it's surface color, design, carbon fiber
material & a whisper quiet Electric Engine. Highly
COVERT day or night electrically propelled medium range (5 to 10
miles) providing the Merkava IV BAZ net-centric system of receivers:  Intel, image surveillance, target acquisition &
reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities to tank companies, brigades and battalions. UAV is very light weight, foldable
and canister deployable in a matter of seconds by a single individual soldier from the Merkava on board team. The
system includes a mini ground control station for UAV combat operations. Below is an example of rear hull view of 
Merkava Mk IV
FCP.  UAV duration is from 2 to 6 hours and altitudes up to 15,000 feet... day or night, rain or shine.  

BTW in conjunction with the above article, it might be of passing interest... that a little known fact, but very
important is that the Mark 4 and the Namer APC both contain a full permanently installed bathroom facility
on board as missions usually run over 12 and 24 hours in combat.      Just another Merkava World's first.

=== While We Are On the Subject of CMND Tank ===
Anything moving around a battlefield with more than a couple of dozen antennae's is more than likely
NOT the cooks tank Marshie

Upper and Lower Clam Shell doors in the open position to Merkava IV company commander's tank.
Our Tanker above didn't want any quick pictures of the below 'Forward Command Post' set up as it

wasn't for export then. Lot's C4I equipment, LCD HD screens, map table, computer work stations,
dials, switches, gauges, UAV joy stick, tons of crypto, communications gear and Centric electronics. 
Some of the power supply and non essential access equipment is now stored
below in the Pantiers.
I would tell you exactly what all the goodies are here, but then I would have to shoot you afterwards.

Most Merkava 4 BAZ 2007+ up-grade series have these 'Electronic Pantier' storage areas installed,
notice too the triple cooling fans to keep sensitive electronics from over heating esp. desert conditions

===Mk IV Baptismal Of Fire 2006===

There are currently four versions of the Merkava tank and all saw combat in action in Lebanon 2006, including Merkava Mk2
with reserve units, the Merkava Mk2D (with a Merkava 4 distinctive sloped turret) Mark 3 BAZ and the new Merkava Mk 4.

Before the end of the 2006 battle Brigadier General Halutzi Rodoi, chief of the IDF armored corps, was asked to assess the
performance of his tank force and especially the lessons drawn from the fighting against advanced antitank missiles fired by the
Hezbollah gorillas on the Merkava series of tanks. According to General Rodoi, the Merkava proved to be well protected and
designed to minimize risk, even when it was rarely penetrated. The IDF employed almost 400 tanks over a period of 33 days in
Lebanon. According to official reports & about 10 percent were hit by various threats, of which less than half were penetrated.

The overall assessment, the potential risk to crewmen would have been much higher, if the tank had been more conventionally
designed. Colonel Moti Kidor, commander, 401st Armored Corps Brigade, which bore the brunt of many battles, mentioned
in an interview that during the war, 800 to a 1,000 antitank missiles were fired on IDF armor and in total, only 18 tanks were
seriously damaged to require depot maintenance. Of those, ATGW actually penetrated only ten vehicles (four of which were
tanks). According to statistics, only two tanks were so damaged that they would require a Zero-Time rebuild and even then
1 of those 2 was later given to the Armor Museum, Latrun where it remains on display to this day. Both of these were struck 
by super-heavy improvised explosive device (IED) charges. One officer, Lt Yotam, reported that his Merkava Mk4 tank had
been hit by 3 unspecified antitank missiles simultaneously but miraculously, all 4 of his crew members evacuated unscratched. 

The unique Merkava design uses special armor to minimize the risk of spall, which is generated by shaped charge plasma jets.
All Merkava vehicles use fire retardant containers to store ammunition, preventing highly lethal secondary explosions. Further,
tanks are equipped with a rapid fire suppression system (by Spectronics of Israel) that eliminates sympathetic detonation of any
ammunition. As a result, only a few tanks encountered any catastrophic fire hazards after suffering penetrating missile attacks on
ammunition.  Thus, substantially reducing lethal-bum casualties to Merkava crew members during the course of the 2006 war.

Some of the tanks, especially those outfitted with the low-intensity conflict (LIC) urban combat kits are equipped with bottom hull
plates (belly-armor) to protect against heavy mines and under carriage charges. Several Merkava tanks and heavy armored fighting
vehicles (AVS's) encountered a number of these charges, some weighing more than 300 pounds. While heavy armored vehicles can
hardly be expected to survive such an attack, the upgraded vehicle types demonstrated effective protection for the crew, which, in
some cases, even managed to survive such an attack with only minor injuries. In one instance, a Merkava 4 tank was hit by a belly
charge carrying more than 380 pounds of explosives, which killed one crew member and wounded the remaining six. This particular
Merkava was using its rear compartment as a troop carrier & some 7 personnel were aboard. Despite the loss of one crew member,
this incident gave considerable proof of the effective protection of the new Merkava Mk IV in its first combat deployment.  

To reduce this threat even further, the heavily armored D-9 bulldozer was later employed to precede the tanks over high-risk routes
in the last two weeks of the 33 day conflict. The D-9 would blow up IED's with minimum risk of danger to the driver or dozer, thus
clearing the way for the tank columns that followed. IDF Armor Corps has traditionally invested considerable effort in examining after
battle hit statistics on its tanks to establish new tactics and techniques. The founder of this procedure was Major General Israel Tal,
"Father of the Merkava" and a leading armor expert of worldwide renown. He said in 2007 that over 47 changes have now been
implemented on the Merkava Mk IV production line from detailed lessons, experiences and feedback of the tankers involved since
the very first Mark IV entered the Lebanon 2006 conflict. His vision goes on; now almost 40 years later.  Shiryon is Fists of Steel.

[as reported] Aviation Week & Space Technology by Lt Col David Eshel IDF-Retired

Merkava Mk IV Marshalling area just prior to last day's attack on Hezbo's post at the crest of Wadi Saluki and on to the Litani River

Merkava Marshalling area prior to evening launch into Hezbo-stan of Southern Lebanon, on last day of the war


ZANEK! Attack! Move Out!  Here Merkava Mk III BAZ battle experienced units in Lebanon July 2006

Mk III's at first light. First task; Secure High Ground then eliminate mines, bunkers, snipers & Hezbo stragglers

These Merkava III's are preceded in battle by D-9 'Dozers' to remove any IED's or booby-trap roadside 'gifts.'

During 2006 conflict the IDF successfully deployed the D9 with an Anti-IED Mine Plow Blade Above & Below

Here seen with Mounted Remote Control 50 Cal Machine Gun on the top right of the roof above the driver.

This Mk III in English is Kimo for Kimo-sabe and here you see an excellent 'Hi Yo Silver' in a cloud of dust.

If this is #3 in the company, then it is "Sabe' as in Kimo-Sabe and they ARE indeed both very in separable... Trust me. 

One Very Proud
MaTak T/C (Tank / Company Commander).  They ALL performed most bravely and heroically in 2006 battles

Hunter Killer tank teams tracking Hezbo Rocket Launchers & Hamas Missiles, tunnels and underground storage
Notice my tankers with their Type 602 Merkava combat communication ballistic helmets in our old Mark III's.

Anyone In The Merk Seen Our Pakal Kufa Kits Laying Around Eating Up Space

Crossing Over Into Hama-stan land in the Gaza Strip terrorist Playground Area... near Sderot which has been
attacked over 6,950 times since the Hamas 'Cease-Fire'  

Visiting the Peaceful, Kind and Generous Palestinian terrorist in Hamastan part of the Gaza strip.

Close up Merkava IV Lebanon deploying troops interfacing with on scene combat teams called
'Combine Arms'

Once the Saluki Valley is secured the way is cleared all the way to the Litani River and all in under 5 hours and
All On The Last Day Of The War with a UN ceasefire already set...  Politicians make for Very Poor arm chair
generals... and could not have made worst decisions or constant hesitation of stop, then go, then stop etc orders.

Mark III Combat Team deployment here has old style combat helmet while T/C has tanker Type 602 helmet

2006 Lebanon Conflict Merks (Mk4) Pushed in The Last Day Of the War To The Banks Of The Litani River

Merkava Mk IV Sniper Teams Dismount from tank to take out Hezbo Embeds among civilian hostage homes

Rear Door Sniper port installed on LIC Mark III in 2006 Lebanon   (looks sorta like a Mk IV huh?)

Note: There were no less than SIX (6) armor vehicles with Trophy mounted and operating during the
2006 Lebanon war. However, it may be correct if it was stated '
no Merkava used Trophy nor was it seen
in combat. Trophy Vehicles were 2 Stryker proof of concept, 2 Merkava III Baz and 2 Merkava III D's.
Also there're several APC's that also had the system. But no evidence supports Trophy combat use

Back in 1977 the Russian newspaper 'Red Star' accurately cited that the Merkava's most dynamic feature was the fact that it
"was both a fully armor MBT (Main Battle Tank) as well as a troop MICV (Mechanize Infantry Combat Vehicle)."   IDF
Armor Corps commander during the 2006 Lebanon war (Aluf Bar Kochba), stated in an after battle press conference that "
the Merkava performed such duties as transporting infantry into combat engagements and it rendered protection once the
troops were deployed." In one battle in the Saluki Valley, BGen. Bar Kochba stated Merkava Mark 3's were called upon to
evacuate pinned down infantry and one Mark III extracted 13 wounded troops on just ONE trip most successfully; all the
while coming under very intense anti-tank missile & heavy machine gun fire from many well prepared positions.

Please read the following very carefully. There was a case of a Merkava Mk IV that was a mobility kill but no loss of life. It
would be almost FOUR weeks before that tank was pulled back to Israel side of the border. Now why on earth would the
IDF leave such a valuable tank prize on the battlefield as it would be worth many millions if Syria, Iran or Russia, Korea OR
China could get their hands on it for 10 seconds
? Because,  all that was left on the field of battle was the bottom empty hull.
Even the hinges, toilet paper, you name it was stripped and then the IAF took target practice with 250 & 500 pound bombs.
Now the enemy did try to steal it but, suffered what would be later described as a human mountain of enemy dead in futile
attempts till the very last day of battle. Story does not end there... once the cease fire came,  the IDF armor recovery team
picked up the hull remains and carted it off the battle field. However, MANTAK reassembled all the parts and since the hull
was deemed 'Intact' was amazingly returned to 401st Brigade. Quite a episode for that individual Mark IV.  The Merkava
Mark IV Aleph that's now on display at Latrun Armor Museum is an example of one of the IED Lebanon 2006 casualties.

Eshet Battalion Mk IV On Exercises. The above photo courtesy Abir 'Abe' Sultran   (NOTE: notice that this is a company commander's tank)

The Merkava that rescued the most people in one trip under fire in the 2006
Lebanon conflict. THAT Merkava Crew standing in front. Great Going Men

One Mk 4 tank was hit by a tandem missile which penetrated into the rear compartment, hitting a stored HEAT round
setting it on fire, which activated the automatic fire suppression system,  wounding two of the turret crew, who were
evacuated & replaced by a reserve crew. The tank continued to still fight. Another Mk IV  tank had its main armament
120mm barrel blown off by "The Lucky Shot." But, crew managed to drive it back to BASE, where a field ordnance
repair team exchanged out the barrel and sent the tank back into battle within hours. 
Below, the famous 'Lucky Shot.'

How About a Direct Hit by a Hezbo RPG at the same
Exact time a 120mm round was fired All in the same location ?
Talk about a 1 in a million shot... so went the Hezbo-Lebanon 2006 Summer War.    Note that the Tank is
Still Intact.
I guess in the enemy's mind and some of the stupid press, this was an example of a Mk IV destroyed. Barrel replaced
in under 2 & half hours and tank return to battle that night with the rest of it's platoon. Just in case any were wondering.

 Up close I guess I look older as my BFF T/C here can attest, but wearing my eternal
 floppy hat - well that's... 'priceless,' as in the American Express TV commercial goes!

Here I'm leaning on our favorite iron baby which came through Gaza No Worst for wear
But, Thank You for asking...

Despite disinformation put out by Hezbo & Their press, Merkavas would become a major IDF Success in the 2006 War.

Here a Mk III BAZ Merkava, defeats many years of Iranian planning, Billions of dollars of Syrian weapons & Russian stocks.

Here a Merk Mk III Goes Rolling On In To A Hornets Nest Of The Hamas Strong Holds In Gaza

The Hezbo civilian gorillas were firing missile after missile from vantage positions at the vulnerable points in the Merkava armor.  
Commanders were frantically calling for air and artillery support, but because of the large number of Nahal reserve infantrymen
present,  Northern Command refrained from ordering assistance from artillery and helicopter gun ships, fearing they would  hit
friendly forces. The tanks were left to fend for themselves until they reached the top and stormed the Hezbo's anti-tank positions.

Merkava Mk III Dor Dalit 2006 Lebanon

When this was achieved, the brigade commander making his rounds, found to his surprise, that in all, only four crewmen had been
killed, with several dozen wounded, fortunately most of them suffering only minor wounds. Later summing up the battle of Saluki,

Colonel Kidor said that it had been "an unqualified triumph of his Merkava force." Had those tanks been of an earlier generation,
 and not equipped with state-of-the-art High-Tech armor, then hundreds of  crewmen might  have perished" or at least injured. 

Colonel Kidor said this was the single most important battle that assured the continuation of the whole Merkava Mk IV program!

Merkava After Battle Report &
      Combat Images 2006 Lebanon Conflict

              ALL HERE

All the various different 120mm rounds can be easily and quickly re-supplied through the back clam shell door as demonstrated here.
Note: Very Rare Look at the Merkava's Soltam 60mm Mortar in the raised position next to the leg of the turret roof
soldier & bottom half of clam shell door shows part of the M4 sniper barrel firing port for rear protection of LIC Merkava

At first during the 1990's Lebanon conflict, Merkava I & II crews would carry as much as 92 105mm rounds into combat unless they
carried troops in which case they would carry 47 rounds and up to 10 combat troops. Now with a slightly larger tank in the Mark III &
IV series they can carry 50 rounds of 120mm main gun ammo and an 8 man combat platoon into combat. This would still be 10 more
120mm rounds than a current Leopard 2,  LeClerc, Chally or Abrams M1A2 SEP (improved) carries in NATO exercises. Even LESS
aboard a French LeClerc in UN Lebanon service BTW. 

What sets this concept apart from both Russian doctrine & the Abrams/Bradley M1/M2 combination is that with the Merkava you do
not have a gas guzzling turbine tank, plus another vehicle in combat with all your infantry without the protection afforded by the heavy
armor only a main battle tank provides and you have less the congestion of vehicles for targets swarming all over the battlefield. Now
the possibilities are limited by only the combat commander's imagination and the infantry NCO's in charge, of their men's' lives when
practicing Combined Arms tactics on the asymmetrical battlefield of the 2000's..

Merkava LIC rear quadrant view with Sniper Port door sealed. 
Notice the square door next to the left tail light?  It's a 2-way phone.

An example of 360 degree tank protection is that the foot thick rear
hatch door have withstood direct anti-tank fire without major damage
in 2006 Lebanon conflict. The tank includes a firing port built inside
part of the rear door for a sniper's position with a .50 caliber specially
dedicated M-4 weapon for this purpose. There are 360 degree vision
blocks for the commander and gunner.  There are also video cameras
available to all crew member's flat panel color screens for 360 degree
situation awareness. There are now  motion detectors to warn of
surrounding movements & 360 degree laser warning coverage devices
for incoming rounds and projectiles.

 New M-4 Sniper Position within Door


  ==== Merkava LIC & MOUT  ====
                 LIC (Low Intensity Combat) edition
         MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain)

Eight and Ten Man Squads Dismount From their Mk IV's
Following the al-Aqsa Intifada, the IDF began modifying some of the Merkava's to satisfy the needs of Asymmetrical Urban warfare. 
This adaptation is LIC (Low Intense Combat). Can be done by  field engineers and does not interfere with the tank's combat handling.
Look Carefully... New Trophy II Lite APS ADD-ON SERIES Installed Above...
Merkava Siman IV BAZ LIC 2006. The Merkava LIC Mk III & IV Is Most Suited for MOUT Because of it's Troop Compartment,
it's Wide Assortment of 120mm Ammo & Missiles, it's R-OWS with Laser & Chain Gun, it's Micro UAV's and it's Hybrid M-TAPS.

One Merkava Mk IV A that fought in the 2006 Lebanon conflict was hit NO LESS than 11 times (possibly more) by RPG's & ATM's!
It was able to returned to base under it's own power (although with many systems down or damaged) but was repaired and no casualties.

== Merkava Mk III & Mk IV LIC ==
Look... New Trophy II Lite APS ADD-ON SERIES Installed Below (now ASPRO-C)...

This is the main series of Merkava tanks designed for urban warfare.  The 'LIC' designation stands for "Low Intensity Conflict",
underlining its emphasis on  counter-insurgency, street-to-street inner-city asymmetrical type warfare of the 21st century.

 The most sensitive areas of a tank, its optics, exhaust ports and ventilators, are all protected by a newly developed high-strength
 metal mesh, which prevents damage from a direct impact from RPG's [[Rocket propelled grenades]] and most ATGW's.  In
 addition the vulnerable under carriage of a tank in the LIC Merkava's have now removable BELLY ARMOR seen above & below.

Merkava Mk IV LIC with Belly Armor plate installed at Lebanon border (seen on the left above) during 2006 war

Merkava Siman Arba Aleph LIC in 2009 Gaza dust up over raining rockets, missiles, granades, planting IED on Israeli villages

Merkava is equipped with a turret .50 caliber coaxial machine gun, enabling the crew to lay down fairly heavy cover fire without
the use of the cumbersome and ineffective main gun against individual enemy combatants.  It also provides much higher protection,
because like the new remote OWS it is fired safely from inside the tank without exposing the crew to small arms fire and snipers.

=== Merkava Droid Enters Gaza Combat ===

Droid above is under Dust Cover & Below has been Uncovered

Here a Reserve Merkava Mk II DD (Dor Daleth) with special ATGW Sensor Tower Detector seen
during 2009 Cast Lead Gaza action and close-up below Mark III BAZ with field dust shroud in place

These detectors have been placed on ALL model series of the Merkava including Mk IV below & usually are leading a tank column

This ATGM FCD (Anti Tank Guided Missile, Fire Control Director) was successfully deployed in 2009 Gaza conflict with company
level lead Merkava tanks MkIIDD, MkIII Baz & MkIV Aleph. There's no confirmation that any Mk IV BAZ engaged even though
there are examples in the field and training at the time. The only cases of Trophy was the Lite II versions on 'lesser' armor equipment. 
This FCD is a Local invention and involves some cutting edge technology and computer software as it will in a split second determine
the exact co-ordinates of enemy fire and then through the FCS quickly re-aim weapons and return withering fire down upon targets.
Right click image above for more in depth details...

Shizafon Trials Reach Their Final Testing          Returning From Combat South Gaza January 2009
Merkava under attack, while laying smoke screen down, by Metis Russian anti tank munitions. BELOW we see 

Merkava Siman Arba Aleph with IAI's IRON FIST under going proof of concept trials during 2008 R&D prgm.
2009 it was decided the Namer APC series of MkIV production would get the Iron Fist instead not the tanks.

IDF now expects first field trials to be completed fourth quarter 2008 for IMI's Iron Fist APS
which is about 1 year earlier than previously expected due to interest not only in Israel but, from
world wide markets and a successful break through with the 'Interceptor' and the Elisra IR
sensor / detector part of the Iron Fist light weight system for all battlefield armor vehicles.

===THOR Laser R-OWS===
As if this new Merkava Mk IV BAZ  is not armed enough, we now have a LASER gun added to the
R-OWS (Remote Over Head Weapons System) that is able to defeat and 'neutralize' Both IED and
the newer EFP road side anti vehicle bombs. This system saw combat last year on Merkava APC's
called Namer (Leopard) & was successfully deployed and neutralized many Hezbo road side devices.
It is now being installed on Stryker and Up-Armed HUMVEE vehicles in both  Iraq & Afghanistan as
well as  Merkava Mk IV BAZ MBT's right on the Tel Hashomer assembly line outside Tel Aviv.
Link at the picture below shows Abrams M1A2 SEP after a little IED surprise. Very Nasty results indeed


THOR R-OWS with Chain Gun and Chemical anti IED Laser Gun now equips Merkava IV & Namer APC

The directed energy beam from the laser is capable of rapidly clearing unexploded ordnance
and defeating IED / EFP's by inducing a low-order burning or deflagration reaction in the
explosive fill at a safe stand-off ranges (see photo above). THOR uses a powerful, air cooled
Chemical Laser, measuring up to 700 watts. The kinetic energy from the 12.7mm bullet fired
by the M2 functions as a standoff disrupter, destroying fusing, thick-cased munitions & booby
traps. The M2 machine gun also provides accurate, direct fire upon enemy forces & targets in
either an offensive or defensive role.

RAFAEL's New Spotlite II - M               RAFAEL's Trophy System
In ASYMETRICAL warfare the next        Add on version of the Trophy for pre 2006 armor     
step would be automatic weapons cueing.  MBT's as an Active protective System (Aspro-C). 
Rafael's high-tech
Spotlite Mk II M can     This is currently being accomplished by MANTAK
already point out where a sniper is on         right on the Tel HaShomer production line on a new 
the tank plasma screen. Thus the logical      parallel assembly line program in conjunction with the 
next step would be to put up a sensor on    TEFEN 2012 Merkava build-out of 1,000 Mark IV 
a armored vehicle and then link it to the       and BAZ improvement program. It is believed that 
remote controlled weapons turret. Upon      certain MkIII models will have the entire MkIV turret
being fired on by the sniper, the sensor will   installed during upgrade and visually will be hard to tell 
calculate the rough location of the sniper      the difference between Marks. This upgrade amounts 
and pass this info to the remote weapons     to a full Zero-Time renovation of the 10 to 20 year old 
turret, which will slew the weapon onto        Mark 3's.  The new Trophy Lite system above are being
the sniper's position. The firer, within the      installed on early Mark IV's (1999-2006) and many 
safety of the Merkava or Namer, can then   secondary armor & reserve units battlefield equipment. 
make adjustments and then RETURN fire    This is a multi-year project for MANTAK. Separate 
back at the sniper upon visual confirmation   program altogether is the light armor vehicle fabrication 
utilizing the THOR's 30 Caliber chain gun     plants. The NAMER is still another main assembly line 
for very effective fire suppression.                at the Merkava Tel HaShomer facility near Sarafand.

=== Merkava Mk IV Tankbulance ===

Merkava Mk IV 'Tankbulance' carries No Medical ID / Markings, but is better protected than anything else available.

Note: All SIX Merkava Mk 3 & 4 Tankbulances have now (2008) been fitted with TROPHY II APS (Add-On) & Tadir FCS.
Some of the Merkava's were fitted with full medical and ambulance capabilities. The rear cabin area of the tank can now be converted for
carrying injured personnel and has had stretchers, life support medical station systems and emergency operating theaters added along with
a full medical team compliment to operate them under the harshest of combat conditions with a under combat Merkava battalion.

Merkava Siman IV Tankbulance Operating Theater Compartment
which can have a full Medvac / Casevac
EMS Team with Doctors.

Note: Trophy II has been now completed on all existing tankbulances
according to the October 2007 Winograd report on the 2006 War. 

Because the "tankbulance" is an armed vehicle of war, it is not protected by the Geneva Convention as an
ambulance theoretically should BUT, because it is still a tank, it's survivability far exceeds that of any traditional
battlefield ambulances in use today. No Red Cross or Red Mogen David Adom emblems are displayed as all 
Israel's enemies have NEVER in 65 years honored medical teams or their vehicles during War OR even Peace
To this day Hamas in Gaza preferred choice of transportation for terrorist & Kassem rocket teams has been
Red Crescent (Moslem Red Cross) vehicles almost exclusively as well as cases reported of Hezbo's in Lebanon.


         === Merkava based APC / IFV ===
 \\\\\ Including 'Trophy Shredouts' /////

First Aircraft to be fitted with Airborne version of Trophy Light System:  CH-53C

The IAF (Israel Air Force) plans to conduct the first test flight this week (Nov 10th, 2007) of its newly up
graded transport helicopter - the Yasur 2025 - equipped with more than 20 new electronic systems including,
for the first time anywhere an airborne missile-defense system. It is a special newly developed by MANTAK
(Merkava Tank Office) light weight system (Trophy II) that's added to small vehicles, boats & now aircraft.

The Yasur - the IAF's name for the Sikorsky CH-53 - was first put into service with the IAF in 1969 after being bought from the USAF
It is the IAF's primary craft for transporting soldiers - it carry's 35 - and was used extensively during the Second Lebanon War in 2006
and in Gaza 2009.  Below an IAF Huey is shown armed with Trophy II Lite for air defense while on Gaza border patrol 2008 and 09.

     #### This  'Just'  In ####
Trophy & Thor Enter Gaza Combat

Rafael has begun testing with active units under combat conditions Tanks and TIGER (up-armor
APC's) In Gaza for months here with Thor, Trophy & Spike

As of second quarter 2008 there are numerous Trophy equipped vehicles.

Some of which that are publicly known and others (above) not so widely
known.  Used in 2009 Gaza Conflict Successfully

ASPRO-C fitted to M113 as well as HMVEE vehicles

At least
6 IDF STRYKER proof of concept Trophy Add-On ASPRO-C
At least
6 Merkava Tankbulances all ASPRO-C
90 + ? Merkava Mk IV BAZ ASPRO-A models and counting
At least
15 assorted ARV, APC, Golan, Humvee, etc  Add-On ASPRO-C
At least
90 + ? rapid refit of existing Merkava III & early Mk IV's also C
Assorted other Armor Vehicles from Mantak's new production line such as:
          Namer APC ASPRO-
A, Golan, MRAP & etc armor equipment.

Coming soon here images of all of the above.

Click HERE For Latest Namer
Cut Away and Interior Images

Merkava Mark IV hull enters production as Namer APC
with R-OWS of Thor Laser, M2 heavy machine gun station
and Trophy (ASPRO) APS on 2008 deployed versions

New 2007 Merkava Mark IV Family shown at Plant 7100

Merkava IV chassis on NAMER APC during desert trials above and below...

Wider door ramp than Merk tank for stretchers & casevacs
Sniper port in rear door above has been retained as well...

Rafael THOR Laser system is on Merkava Mk IV's and Namer (Tiger) APC's

Merkava Series Up-Grade internally operated R-OWS

The First of hundreds of Merkava based Tiger APC's

Detail rear quadrant view of 11 troop Armor Transport made at MANTAK

Fourth generation reinforced entry way with integrated TV, IR & sniper port

Interior cut-away view of new Merkava 11 troop APC vehicle NAMER

 Merkava new version of Namer (Tiger) below during proof of concept trials earlier (2005)
Merkava MICV R-OWS (Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle) Configuration & layout is for 3 crew plus
Eight combat Israel Defense Force troops fully equipped and armed. MICV can keep up with Merkava IV's.

First rolled out at MANTAK Plant #7100 November 2007. HYBRID M113 & Merkava IV seats 11 troops with
A/C, Laser gun and a toilet.

Merkava Mk IV chassis continues with a family of no less than 7 vehicles now here with 5 ton PowerPak lifting
crane ARV engineer vehicle

Israel developed a heavy-duty [[Armored Personnel Carrier|APC]]/[[Infantry Fighting Vehicle|IFV]] based on the
Merkava chassis called ''Nemmera'' (Hebrew for [[tiger|tigress]]). Because many of the 200 built Merkava I's are
being withdrawn from service (and now it can be told)  that it's been found that the Mark I & II 105mm gun can
NOT be upgraded to the IDF standard 120mm main gun... this APC conversion can now be utilized  (in 2003).
So now the IDF has allowed SIBAT to sell off the Mk. I's and Mk II's and soon even the Mark III's. Baz is spared.

MANTAK is now producing 'hundreds' of these APC's from Merkava Mark IV frames here shown with R-OWS
due to the 2006 Lebanon War after battle reports & TEFEN multi year, multi billion dollar defense appropriations.  

Nemera (Tigress) has been changed to just Namer (Tiger) with Mk IV hulls from late 2006

NAMER on Merkava prototype Chassis by MANTAK  (here based on Mk I & MkII)

Only a handful Mark IV APC's were produced up to 2006, due to cost and the need for main battle tank chassis.
<ref>Page 7, Gelbart, Marsh, and Tony Bryan (illustrator). ''Modern Israeli Tanks and Infantry Carriers 1985-04.
Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84176-579-1.</ref> Yet following Operation Rain-
bow and the vulnerability of the M-113's, the IDF re-opened the Nemera program 2006 which is now been funded
& in full development. The 2006 Lebanon conflict also verified the integrity of this unique program now with Trophy.

Note: NAMERA (Tigress) became NAMER (Tiger) in 2006 with the Mk IV chassis & Trophy II

MANTAK'S LT WEIGHT 10 PAX Golan MRAP late 2006

MANTAK's Golan II for IDF & 1st USMC ORDER OF 60 with Deliveries BEGINNING IN 2007 with
new TROPHY II LITE which competes with IMI's Iron Fist.  Look for a FORCED merger

ASPRO is the term for the APS production line installation on Merkava Tanks and IFV... FYI

Golan was displayed here equipped with a new lightweight version of the Trophy APS active protection system and the 'Samson Junior',
a lightweight remote weapon station designed specifically for IED's with light automatic weapon (7.62mm). The vehicle was also fitted
with an acoustic gunshot locator, utilizing RAFAEL's SADS system. It will also be able to employ the company's Spotlite M - electro-
optically based threat locator which can serve as a gunshot locator, & threat alerting system, as it can detects launch sources and even
approaching RPG's, missiles and rockets in the current Russian (Syrian) & Chinese (Iranian) arsenal inventory for export.

Important Lesson Learned from 2006 Conflict:
Passive electronic countermeasures were developed in time to be used in
the Lebanon 2006 conflict. Four Merkava tanks were equipped with experimental electronic countermeasures systems. NOT one of the
four Merkava's was hit by even a single anti-tank guided missile

New RAPHAEL Trophy II Light system
Suitable for small MRAP vehicles like the
Wolf, Cheetah & Golan as well as high
speed patrol boats and now IAF aircraft.

Golan MRAP with Samson Jr. anti IED Vehicle series
The new RAPHAEL THOR anti-IED Laser system can also
now be ordered and installed as all testing has been completed

Golan Interior at the annual DESi 2007 Convention

Various interior layouts are available with a maximum
seating of 10 soldiers and crew of 2 up front to operate
the Remote Over Head Weapons Systems (R-OWS) &
sensor suite such as SAD's and Spotlite-M.

Super Namer LIC model going to Eurosatory 2006 with THOR Laser &30mm chain gun & Belly Armor

 Merkava Mark I and Mark II LIC version of Namer will be Discontinued

On February 15, 2005, '[Ma'ariv'' reported that a running prototype Merkava APC was fielded by the
Givati Brigade & was equipped with a OWS, which is remotely controlled and loaded from within the vehicle.

It was also decided to rename the vehicle from ''Nemera'' to ''Namer'' ("Tiger"). This same unit was also
demonstrated in Europe at Eurosatory   2005 military exhibition with 2 export NATO customers signed.

 NAMER (Tiger) Based on the Merkava Mark IV BAZ chassis with new integrated ASPRO APS & FCS
Selected September 4, 2007 as Next Generation IDF MICV / APC (Armor Personal Carrier) Here Shown
  the New NAMER with TADIR & ASPRO-A Lite System factory installed as opposed to Add - On Systems

However, the IMI Iron Fist was later selected to be the IDF choice for this APC APS

Rafael Concept APC based on Merkava IV Chassis with Trophy I Upgrade kit & R-OWS

 Complete rejuvenation of the whole Merkava program was the direct result of  the 2006 Lebanon War when 60 Billion
 Dollar TEFEN 2012 program to re-equip the IDF land forces with 400 new Merkava Mark IV BAZ including the new
 Trophy II APS (Active Protective System) & 200 Merk IV bodies for an UP- Graded Namer (Tiger) armor personnel
 carrier for 11 crew and passengers above in the next 18 months.  All paid for with FMS credits amd TEFEN funds
 '07-'09.  This was announced publicly by Defense Minister and former Armor Chief Ehud Barak.

Here is last year 2006 version ...

Namer just back from a combat patrol September 1st 2007 in Gaza strip

This variant has a single Large Rear Door with the new sniper port is clearly
visible on the unfolded door platform with the Excalibur ATGW R-OWS.  

=== Merkava Soltam Sholef (Gun Slinger) ===
155mm Self Propelled Fast Moving Howitzers

Merkava Sholef SP 155mm had a 45km range, 8 crew and was fully air conditioned

 Image Below: Sholef-beyt-hatotchan|Sholef in Beit ha-Totchan, Israel mid 1985.
Prototype 155mm Heavy Artillery based on the Merkava tank chassis. This unique armor equipment featured  a complete  air-
conditioned cabin interior, seating for a team of 7 and included a revolutionary at the time (1985) auto shell loader but, more
importantly and UNLIKE the U.S. Army  M-Series such as the typical M-109, this piece of armor Could keep up with the fast
moving Merkava's as it had a high speed (55kmph) artillery support system and steep climbing capabilities.  

2 prototypes of ''Sholef'' Gun-Slinger 155mm self-propelled howitzer were built by Soltam in 1984 - 1986.  The 45-ton vehicle had a
long 155mm/52-calibre gun barrel giving a range of 45+ km and was capable of direct fire while on the move. It never entered production.  
The story here was this 155mm artillery was actually superior to the USA M-109 series because, during the 1982 Lebanon War the US
models could not keep up with the speed, mobility and terrain ability of the Merkava Mark I models! But thanks to the US annual largess
of billions of dollars towards defense purchases, the IDF was forced to keep on buying the inferior M series. The Israeli version actually
had a lot going for it. One was it was more accurate, had 35% further range at 45kms, another was the entire crew rode under-cover of
ballistic armor in a protected cabin area that was even air conditioned. It also featured for the first time anywhere a fully automatic and
computerized Auto-Loader for higher fire rates. It can be said now that one should never put all his eggs in one basket, especially when it
comes to one's own country defenses. Unspoken was that there was suppose to be a new futuristic piece of artillery that would make all
others obsolete on the battle field of the future and that in five or ten years Israel could have first chance of procurement for this 'Paladin'
system. The Paladin was NEVER adopted by the U.S. Army, then it was cancelled by the Pentagon and the whole program is now
.  These TWO Soltam units can be toured today at Beit Ha-Tochen armor facility in the Northern Galilee. 

IDF Makes New Request from MANTAK and Soltam

A Brand New High Speed (65kph) Long Range (45km) 52cal Artillery Gun System
Air conditioned cab, crew of 4 with storage of at least 36 rounds. Hydro pneumatic
loader allows for 1 round per 30 seconds. Accuracy by GPS, Merkava IV On-Board
Data Link with IDF central Command & Control, Elint, C-3 / C-4 aircraft & UAV's.

Like Something From Science Fiction Movie... Alien !

Hydraulic twin spades are Down and Locked in under 1 minute. A
special re-supply M113
can be backed up for semi-auto loading of an additional 124 rounds and 2 more crewman.
Export sales to India and Turkey have also begun as well as undisclosed NATO customers.

The Soltam RASCAL carries up to 36 projectiles, stored base downwards in the projectile
 racks on either side of the gun. Charges are carried in  fire proof Merkava armored PVC
ammunition containers forward of the gun. Gun accommodate ALL NATO 155 mm rounds

= Merkava Project Office MANTAK ReFueler Program =

These are FAST REFUELERS as they have the capability of keeping up with the fast battlefield Armor

Is There Any Truth To Rumors Of A...

Merkava AMMO/WEAPONS Carrier
Now what on earth would give you that
idea that just because a Merk for a special mission might load up 7 to 10 combat
troops & then be left with a couple dozen rounds of 120mm APAM for the conflict  
and not be able to aquit itself or its personel on the field of battle? 
      You think a 
couple of hundred more rounds and
"other" supplies can make any difference?

=== Merkava Project Office MANTAK D9 Program ===
Here Comes The 'DUBY'

This 'Teddy Bear' Bull Dozer levels Mine Fields, Hideouts, Buildings, Booby
Traps and IED's
  Just Right Click this DUBY to see a Really Beeg Dozer!

Lebanon 2006 night (early morning) combat duty leading Infantry, Armor & Artillery into battle.

Mantak's Armor D-9 'DUBY' Bulldozer on 'Stand-Up' Inspection. BTW, it passed FYI. The large hook or
'claw' on the back can pull a 65 Ton Merkava MBT fully loaded out of mud even if the tank is completely
submerged... And HAS

Over the years with a half dozen wars the IDF and the Merkava Office have
worked close with the USA Caterpillar Corporation to developed a protected
environment with a 2 man cabin including a R-OWS for providing a dense
over laying pattern of heavy machine gun fire of .50 caliber with very deadly
accuracy that ensures the capability to clear any minefield or any fortification.

Talk About Intimidating. You do NOT want to be anywhere around this monster
when it is barreling towards you with several tons of Mines scooped up from your
locally laid minefield
, otherwise you might be eating a lot of dirt and body parts
for dinner. Also, you can expect a company of Merks hot on its trail following.

  Below is the world's first Remote Control Unmanned Combat Bulldozer

Under going proof of concept trials winter 2005 & entered service shortly thereafter via Laptop controller

==MERKAVA Mk V and Beyond ==
2009 through 2019
Would You believe First... No tracks and then No Conventional Gun?
Here as an Un-Manned Platform to Transport Wounded From Combat

The introduction of the Merkava Mark V series may not feature tracks or a conventional
gun as we know it, firing a canon round. It would not be due for announcement until around
2009 at the earliest based on the past forty years of the Merkava program history. There is
even a proposal of a Tank Like Vehicle (TLV) that does Not touch the ground (which ends
problems of road side IED's in an instant), but maybe something on the order of the opening
sequence of Terminator the movie where you have hovering heavy armor platforms. Like...

Serious thinking over at MANTAK on avoiding IED's & all land mines for that matter, could
lead to these prototypes that are under going structural & avionic tests for IDF field feasibility.

Merkava Mark V series may also feature in addition to hovering capabilities but,  a new
un-conventional gun as we know it today. Firing not a conventional canon shell but Laser.

This Pulse Chemical Laser is capable of reaching miles & not just meters, with a very deadly
aim & a rapid fire rate with seemingly of limitless capacity. There's also discussion of Un Man
type of tanks and by upping the forward propulsion as seen above you would in effect then
have a combat vehicle that can exceed 100kph, for 1,000km not affected by mines or even
road side devices; firing a main weapon that seemingly does not run out of ammunition. Talk
about a Terrorist Worst Nightmare...  It has been rumored for about the past 10 years of a
140mm IMI main gun but, that turns out now to been just a rumor & stated there would be
no re-supply of that  type of caliber ammo in a crisis from any country on earth and the IDF
has concurred and so would never put their troops in that kind of jeopardy during a conflict. 


Future Combat Concept System to Replace All current Naval, Air & Armor Forces
Impervious to mines, IED's, rivers, lakes, oceans. Needs no roads. Takes on all
comers be they conventional or nuclear, stealth or embedded terrorist & IS Unmanned
2 on board weapons would be UNLIMITED energy guns. Each craft with APS dome.

ASPRO: Armoured Shield PROtection
Trophy II / ASPRO
APS (Active Protective System)

Rafael APS & ELTA Synthetic Aperture Radar defeating ATGW & RPG's on
current 200+ new Merkava 4 B's arriving with IDF now in the Golan Heights

Please Compare the detail on the side profile of the Turret above under going BETA testing the
Trophy APS @ Rafael Haifa headquarters during 2004, 2005 and 2006. BTW, None saw combat 2006.

Due To OpsSEC I am not saying WHO or What Used
   These Systems
. Also, What The Out Come & Feedback
                   may have been...  
  at this time!  But you can...

Compare BAZ 2000 - 2006 to 2007 - 2012

Click Image Below 29 Trophy Ques    LEFT 2007 - 2012 Version
.     Center 2000-2006 Updated Version

ASPRO-A Integrated Tracking Sensor above & one of the 3 new automatic Internal Re-Loaders (see image below),  that now
provides FULL
360 coverage with Elta's four Plannar F/G Band fire control solid state Active Electronically Scanned Array
AESA)  radars.
Note these are improved FLAT bullet resistant panels than the older blister type as seen below on turret basket.

When standing at the very back of the
BAZ you see the 3rd turret & 2 rear facing arrays

 RAFAEL assembly plant with the new Trophy "Auto Internal Re-Loader"

Older Style 2007 rear facing ELTA sensors Here attached to stowage basket. Not So Now  2010

2 rear facing
180 degree quadrant planar sensors on the tank turret bustle. This was a 2005 proof
of concept on a Mark III BAZ and is missing the third turret in the center. There IS top protection
despite reports to the contrary to give the Merkava Mk IV BAZ full dome top coverage BTW.

360 hemispherical protective dome of the 'ASPRO-A' system now being installed on the latest 2007 series of the
Merkava Mark IV BAZ series tanks. It detects, tracks and even kills incoming rounds of RPG's, anti-tank missiles and
even enemy tank rounds by means of an Active Protective System or APS. Advent of this new technology holds great
promise to neutralize the current advantage of asymmetrical warfare by terrorist in urban fighting environment against
conventional armies like the IDF here and that we see USA forces facing around the world today.

There Are NO Blind Spots...
despite what Jeffery Sorenson said, stated or wrote and his opinion was tainted by Raytheon collusion. He not only never came out
here to MANTAK, never saw the inside of the BAZ Merkava or the outside for that matter. Why, he even failed to show at his own
demonstration of the Trophy equipped U.S. Army Stryker vehicle at U.S.N. Dahlgren Proving Grounds Virginia in fact. Sad to say.

2005 Merkava Mk III BAZ with Trophy I original configuration during LIC convention Tel Aviv fair grounds

Trophy Trivia Question...
I understand that the new Active Protective System has many advantages not normally found
in MBT's today such as allowing for thousands of pounds of heavy armor to be removed since
shells no longer can hit the tank itself. However, is it true that this new Merkava Mark IV BAZ
tank will be the first NOT to include those chains with spheres to deflect RPG's from the rear
turret bustle in the vulnerable space between the hull and the turret
?    Here is your answer...

1999 TO 2007 MODEL. 

Latest 2010 Production series of Merkava Siman Arba BAZ Joining First Golan Battalion  

Look Ma,
No Chains! Because Trophy systems are being installed on the Merkava BAZ assembly
line, it has resulted in a turret redesign and closed the 'shot trap' making almost all 60 chains now
superfluous except those on the remaining small turret stowage basket.
Note New Side Skirt Design

Folks, this is NO Longer Your Dad's Merkava. Over 250+ changes since 1999 1st Merk IV in fact!


== General remarks ==

According to Jane's Defense Weekly September 2006, "most tanks today are not so much vulnerable to other
tanks than they are from insurgents that embed themselves with the local population like those in Iraq (huggers),
Afghanistan (chicken shadows) and in the case of the Merkava tank, those battles taking place in Gaza with
                     Hamas (
skirt hiders) below left and Southern Lebanon with Hezbo's (baby shields) below right.
In order to combat against such unconventional warfare like the roadside IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices),
today's tanks must be able to carry into battle 'add-on' armor. The Israeli approach with the Merkava Mark III
and IV LIC series is a new removable "BELLY-armor" plate that dramatically enhances the tanks ability to cope
with roadside charges. For about seven years now, valuable experience has been gained in  these three different
locations of combat with a marked improvement to the lowering the casualty rates. GDLS, the manufacture of the
Abrams tank is watching very closely and even testing some of these new developing Israeli technologies such as

Old pre 2006 Merkava 4's with the new ADD-ON Trophy II LITE with 360 APS Kit here shown installed below

Upgraded 2007 ASPRO-C LITE (Mini Trophy) to existing Merkava Mk IV now to BAZ standards above & below

Front view of the add-on APS to the Merkava Mk IV LIC model here shown with the new M-Taps hi-tech Armor kit


In the 34 day conflict in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the publication IDR (International Defense Review)
stated that not quite 50 of the almost 400 Merkava tanks that took part were of the latest Mark IV series and that
many of the similar looking tanks captured on TV were actually Dor Dalet 4th generation armor versions of Mark II 
and Mark III Merkava tank series. Most of the 47 tanks damaged in Lebanon was confined to the modular elements
of the Merkava tank and so were easily field repairable and therefore able to return to service after only a few days of
depot  maintenance.  About a dozen Merkava tanks were actually penetrated as was about dozen other armor type
vehicles but, even they were eventually repaired and have return back to service according to Lebanon front OC
Armor Commander General Hirsh.  In Total About 5 tanks were not returned but, were still have been recycled.
Remember: 1 of the out standing qualities of Merkava series was easily & quickly modular repair & replacement.

 Merkava Mk IV Siman Aleph detailing the ASPRO-C ADD-ON Trophy with Internal Re-Loader's 360 coverage 

Color Schematic of
early 3 Dimensional Merkava generic series concentrating on Drive Train and Turret Layout area   

Approximately 200 Merkava Mark IV BAZ units with the new upgraded Elbit FCS Knights Mark 4 are currently
under development and all of these are being modified on the assembly line with both the permanent Trophy Mark II
system with a further order of 400 Merk IV's & early units Mk IV A's & Mk III's are to get the modified Trophy Mk I
Add-On (seen below & above) installed on a separate production line at Plant 7100 at Tel HaShomer. Target date for
the Add-On completion date is second quarter 2010 for Merkava fleet up-grading to BAZ standard for a total of 600
Merkava IV BAZ Trophy units.
Both the Trophy Add-On and the Integrated system includes the internal re-loader.
It looks clear at this time all MkI's & MkII's will be retired and made available for export. Not clear however is the
status of the 1989 Mark III series and the Mark III BAZ 1995 series disposition. It has been discussed to replace the
entire MK III series turret with the new Mark IV BAZ turret with concomitant electronic & SPS suites however. 

Click Image Below for 2008 U.S. Army / NBC TV Investigative Report on Trophy

ASPRO-C (Trophy II) add-on to existing armor such as the early Mark IV's as seen above in Rafael display 1/20 Molded Model   

Another note to those arm-chair generals about the numbers of Merkava's especially Mark IV's. You would not expect
any Israeli military organization with Common Sense to publish or confirm production numbers of current armor... BUT,
you would get VERY reliable statistics if you were a share owner of L3 systems of US government contracts on export
orders for 1500 hsp 'TANK ENGINES' especially if tax payer dollars and congressional funds were appropriated

Trophy II 360 DOME of Protection for any Armor Vehicle
Click All 3 Below o
NBC TV 'Trophy' Investigative Report

360 Coverage by Add-On version ASPRO here IDF Stryker   Part 1 TV Video Rpt

IDF STRYKER proof of concept vehicle with APS deployed      
Part 2 TV Report

Same IDF STRYKER with full APS and new Rafael R-OWS 
Part 3 TV Video Rpt

In an on air 2006 interview on CNN International the Israeli Government spokes-person Miriam Eini
said that currently about 5,000 Israeli workers are directly employed in  the Merkava production, with
another 5,000 employed indirectly in a little over 250 Israeli companies. SIBAT, the Israeli government
official sales agency of marketing IDF related equipment and located in Tel Aviv, stated (2005) that
although no Merkava tanks are currently being exported, still over 350 million U.S. dollars was earned
in sales of Merkava related technology sub systems each year on the world market. Recent contracts
with Turkey and India have amounted to over a billion dollars in tank up-grading projects with existing
fleets. Now the annual exports will run 400 to 600 million dollars per annum. However, just with Trophy
it will over double that figure.


==New Merkava Mk IV Anti-IED RKM Armor Mine Detector / Detonator ==

 RKM Merkava Mk IV's being demonstrated to new Merk teams during a hands-on familiarization course at Shizafon Armor Base
 This new anti-mine device tears up and destroys roadside IED's and EFP's .
Want to see an Abrams MBT after an IED hit? Click the
  Image above or below.
This nasty incident in Iraq was caused by a couple of old 155mm artillery shells, a donkey with cart and 3of
  Secretary of defense Dum Dum Rumsfeld called just a bunch of "Dead Enders
!" Yeah, he had that right didn't he? Thanks! 

New anti-IED / Mine equipped Merkava Mk IV's on 2008 maneuvers in the Golan Heights

MANTAK stated in January 2007 that the IDF
'After Battle Reports' of the 2006 Lebanon conflict have begun replacing the
venerable Caterpillar D-9 from the front of armor columns in battle to the new Merkava Mk IV BAZ with anti IED detonators
(above & below), New THOR Laser anti-mine guns & new Trophy II to take all the heat and attacks from terrorist in the Gaza
& Hezbo fronts. Reasoning: a heavy offensive MBT leading is more effective if it has Trophy, Thor, SpotLite & 120mm Canon.


Right Angle view of IED / EFP anti Mine Warfare Suite with instructor waiting for next team in a little shade of 110 degree
heat. This Road Side detonator destroys in place safely BOTH the old IED's and the new EFP's from Iran very effectively.

Meet 2 of my Tank Commanders Post Lebanon Conflict about their BAZ Merks

==Female Armor Instructor Teams==

Affectionately referred to by their tanker students as the IDF Armor Corps "A" Teams. Now you most probably
guess that they got their name from having a great piece of... nu nu nu.  They
 ALL  had to pass the instructors
course with at least an "A"     Whoa.....
This Merkava IV BAZ all female Instructor team cover each of the four positions of the Commander, Loader, Gunner, Driver with the
Team Leader that overviews the whole Field Training exercise programs, class room courses and IDF Combined-Arms field maneuvers
from lessons learned in 2006 Leb War.
If you want to meet one, the Mark IV driving instructor check out the VIDEO at the top of the page with TSGT Elenor Kushner and
click on
Video Clip of tank marked...
                                                Merkava 4 Background.

== Notes ==
<div class="references-small"><references />

== References ==

* Gelbart, Marsh. "The Merkava Project, A History of Israel's MBT". Erlangen, Germany. Tankograd Publishing, 2005.
ISBN 3-936519-01-3.

* Gelbart, Marsh, and Tony Bryan (illustrator). ''Modern Israeli Tanks and Infantry Carriers 1985–2004''.  Oxford,
United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84176-579-1.

* Katz, Sam, and Peter Sarson (illustrator). ''Merkava Main Battle Tank MKs I, II & III''. Oxford, United Kingdom:
Osprey Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85532-643-4.


==External links==

All My Fellow Tankers Wanted To Just Say Shalom and Hi Mom...

ZAHAL Merkava MBT Siman IV A by Abir Sultran above

* http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/vehicles/tanks/merkava/Merkava.html Israeli-Weapons.com Merkava Page
(Considerable tank info and pictures)

* http://www.idf.il.co  IDF overview of Merkava's history & variants

* http://www.defense-update.com/products/m/merkava-lic.htm Merkava Mk 3 LIC],  Merkava Mk 4 at Defense-Update

* http://www.waronline.org/en/IDF/arms/merkava.htm Merkava Mk 1,2,3,4 at War Online.

* http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOS.htm / Merkava Mk I, II, III, IIIBAZ & IVBAZ Tanker Insider

* http://www.army-technology.com/projects/merkava/index.html Merkava Mk 3 Baz,
   http://www.army-technology.com/projects/merkava4/index.html Merkava Mk 4 at Army-technology
   (tank features and pictures from different angles)

* http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product.php?prodID=2050 Merkava Mk1, http://www.army-guide.com/
Merkava Mk2, http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product.php?prodID=261 Merkava Mk3,
http://www.army-guide.com/eng/ Merkava Mk4] at army-guide.com

* http://www.acpr.org.il/ins/articles/Fishbein1.htm ACPR's analysis of Merkava

* http://www.defense-update.com/ Continued Evolution of the Merkava Program at Defense Update

* http://www.halfvalue.com/wiki.jsp?topic=Merkava   This is what's left of my original 2004 Wiki posting

*   The Armor Site Page on the Merkava

No, this isn't the record number of troops carried by one Merkava MBT.   It's A Portrait Of My Barak Armor Brigade Teams... FYI

On Guard, 24/7/365, Cold of Winter, Heat of Summer, On Land, Sea and Air. Stay Safe Mein MaTAK...

OK, that finishes this page and the Three dozen Videos (did you find them all?), but
did you know there are Other Merkava web pages with links all scattered

1. http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSa.htm   Merkava Mk IV ALEPH BAZ and 
                                                                                         Mk IV
BAZ Models
http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSb.htm   Merkava I, II, III & IV History
http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSc.htm   Lebanon 1980 MkI, II & III
http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSd.htm   Merkava Mk IV In Depth Trophy
http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSe.htm   Gaza 2009 & Lebanon 2006 Merks
http://www.supervideo.com/MXCD-ROMOSf.htm    Legend Of Talik  Merkava Father

For all my modeling enthusiast that are deep into making precision detailed Merkava's,
let me refer you to my International fan club, this time
Italy, on Making Of The Merk...


Shalom L'hitra'ot  שלום להתראות

Merkava Second Parting Of The Red Sea
? Nah, but nice shot though.