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Welcome to Mighty Zuk's place of mental rest and peace of mind. This is my realm. I've decided it would be best to ditch the old Merkava thread for 2 reasons: 1)It does not feature any bunched up information in its main post, and valuable information is scattered across different posts on different pages. 2)Many AFVs that are not related to the Merkava, or related but are not it, appear in that thread with improper representation. There are other AFVs than the Merkava, and it would be better to refer to them in a general way. As time will go by, I will arrange this thread into a sort of information center. I will take up a few first comment spaces to make sure proper amount of information can be stacked up on the front page and for easier access for everyone. [Reserved for future posts - Merkava]
I realized we don't have a topic for a proper discussion of what future AFVs should look like, in the style of a general AFVs discussion rather than country-specific threads. I spotted a revived potential need for future MBTs - a coaxial autocannon to replace the coaxial MG. The reason? An APS neutralizer. Here's my short post on why I think it should happen: I didn't add it there, but I see lasers as a potential alternative. However, I don't think they're viable because of the power required to properly neutralize an APS's components, especially if these components are dispersed, or worse yet, effectively camouflaged. An autocannon will be able to disable not only the APS but other external components all at once. Similar to the engagement method showcased by Russia where they fired 2 Kornet missiles (almost) simultaneously to defeat an APS, a hypothetical mode of operation could include firing a burst of 2 KETF shells at a target prior to firing a main gun shell. An additional alternative could be to use a single main gun ABM shell that would initiate outside the scope of the APS's engagement range (e.g engagement range is 30m so it initiates at 50m), but it would have 2 main issues that are a longer time to kill a target and a greater consumption of ammunition (up to a 3rd of ammo would have to be allocated to ABM munitions strictly for anti-armor operations).
The more I look into the Merkava, the more it seems that its armor is quite bad compared to contemporary Soviet and Western MBTs, all for a vehicle that weighs more than even the Chieftain does. My personal tinfoil hat theory is that the armor actually being garbage is the main reason information on the vehicle is still classified. It doesn't help when even the relatively new Namer APC which is built on the Merkava IV chassis, uses welded interlocking plates like the Germans did during WWII. Anyway, thoughts on the Merkava? Is there any definitive data out there on armor thickness that could shed some light on this, or is the Merkava only really suited for defensive hull down work where the extreme slope of the upper plate negates its downsides? And is it just me, or does the turret look like a giant shot trap waiting to happen?