Merkava Mk.4

Merkava Mk.4

Entered service in 2004
Crew 4
Personnel 8
Dimensions and weight
Total weight in combat order 65 t
Overall length 9 040 mm
Width 3 720 mm
Height 2 660 mm
Armament
Main gun 120-mm smoothbore gun
Machine guns 7.62-mm
Other 60-mm mortar
Combat load
Main gun 48 rounds
Machine guns ?
Mobility
Engine V-12 diesel
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Autonomy on roads 500 km

The new Merkava 4 main battle tank is a little bigger, than the previous Mk.3. This new main battle tank is among the most advanced and best-protected combat vehicles in the world. Comparing with it's predecessor the Mark 4 is better in terms of protection, firepower and electronic systems.

The Merkava Mk.4 entered a full-scale production in 2001 with the first vehicles delivered in 2003 and becoming operational since 2004. Scheduled production output is 50-70 tanks per year. A total of 400 vehicles may be produced, but this figure might be cut-down due to the budget constraints. This MBT is not exported, however some of it's systems and components are offered for other countries.

The Mark 4 was designed with a primarily intention to protect it's crew as much as possible. It has an unusual arrangement, with a heavy shielded engine, placed in the front part of the hull. This feature allows crewmembers to leave the vehicle through the rear doors in case of combat damage. Furthermore it's internal space can also be used to carry up to 8 troops besides it's crew, with the combat load reduced. In this way it can perform as a superbly armored infantry fighting vehicle.

Merkava Mk.4 main battle tank Another unique feature of this tank is an armor plating system, where damaged armor elements can be replaced easily.

The Merkava Mk.4 received an improved 120-mm smoothbore gun, developed by Israel Military Industries. This gun is compatible with higher power ammunition, including advanced penetration and guided projectiles. It is also fitted with an semi-automatic revolving loader, where ammunition is stored in protective containers. There is developed a wide range of ammunition for this gun. Furthermore Merkava's smoothbore gun is compatible with any French, German or US 120-mm ammunition.

Secondary armament consists from 7.62-mm machine guns and internally operated 60-mm mortar. This mortar fires explosive and illumination projectiles and has a maximum range of fire in 2.7 km.

The new Merkava 4 main battle tank is completed with an advanced threat identification and warning system, to protect itself from enemy attacks.

This tank is powered by a V-12 diesel engine, developing 1 500 hp. Despite increased weight it still has a significant boost of power comparing with the previous 1 200 hp unit used on the Merkava Mk.3. One fuel tank is located near the engine compartment in front of the hull, while two other fuel tanks are located in the rear.

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