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11 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Observation on the ground is done by artillery officers, who I know exist in the infantry corps, but not in the armored corps.

So, infantry battalions have FO and cavalry regiments don’t !

 

And why can an Atlas kit can be mounted on the front of the TC hatch.

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Some news:

  1. 188th brigade has been selected to receive the new Merkava 4 Barack MBTs, starting 2021.
  2. The 401st brigade is currently receiving new Merkava 4M tanks with an unspecified improved FCS.
  3. The 847th brigade completed the transition of one battalion and is in the process of transitioning the remaining 2 battalions to the Merkava 4 (without Trophy).
  4. The 434th brigade has received new BMS for all its tanks.
  5. Development of the Merkava 4 Barack is said to be in full swing.

It's easy even for Israeli vets to get confused with the brigade numbers and names, so I'm reposting an old list I've made (updated) for reference:

Spoiler
Armored Corps Brigades
Tag
Name
No#  
Division  
Command  
Equipment
Active Brigades
7thArmoredBrigade.svg
Storm from Golan
7
36th
North
Merkava 4M
Hativa188.PNG
Barak
188
36th
North
Merkava 3D Baz
תג יחידה 401.svg
Iron Tracks
401
162nd
South 
Merkava 4M
תג חטיבה 460.svg
Bnei Or
460
80th
South 
Merkava 4M and 3D Baz (also instructional)
Reserve Brigades
Kiryati.svg
Kiryati
4
319th
North
Merkava 4
Logo hativa 8.png
Zaken
8
91st
North
Merkava 3A
HarelBrigade.svg
Arel
10
252nd
South
Merkava 2
Brigade 14 sign.svg
Crushers
14
252nd
South
Merkava 3
Logo-hativa-37.png
Oryx
37
162nd
South
Merkava 3D Baz
Logo hativa 514.png
Iron Fist
205
319th
North
Merkava 3D Baz
Logo-hativa-434.png
Yiftach
434
210th
North
Merkava 3D Baz
847ugda.png
Steel Chariots
847
340th
Central
Merkava 2
Transitioning to Merkava 4

 

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The decision to replace the Merkava 3D Baz with MK4 Barak appears to be in line with the purchase of 270 GD883 (MTU883) engine to power the Namer instead of the Merkava MK3's old Continental AVDS-1790 engine. It will facilitate the jobs of the maintenance, logistics and repair units in the field and in the warehouse and be more cost-effective and time-efficient with one common powertrain for each active tank and infantry heavy armor brigade.

 

It would have been a shame and an enlistment nightmare that the 188th Barak Brigade continues with older MK3 tanks while the 401th get two generation of MK4 consecutively (3 if we count the MK4M). Barak tank for the Barak Brigade is justice!

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5 hours ago, Adraste said:

The decision to replace the Merkava 3D Baz with MK4 Barak appears to be in line with the purchase of 270 GD883 (MTU883) engine to power the Namer instead of the Merkava MK3's old Continental AVDS-1790 engine. It will facilitate the jobs of the maintenance, logistics and repair units in the field and in the warehouse and be more cost-effective and time-efficient with one common powertrain for each active tank and infantry heavy armor brigade.

 

It would have been a shame and an enlistment nightmare that the 188th Barak Brigade continues with older MK3 tanks while the 401th get two generation of MK4 consecutively (3 if we count the MK4M). Barak tank for the Barak Brigade is justice!

I don't see how the switch to the MT883 engine on the Namer affects that decision.

The rationale was very simple - keep a brigade of older Merkavas in active service so its servicemen will have a smooth transition to the reserves later on, because going from a Mark 4 to a Mark 2 can be a huge shock.

 

It has more to do with the fact that the Barak tank will start entering service in parallel with the decommissioning of the Mark 2. The first battalion of Barak will enter service when the first battalion of Merkava 2 leaves its last brigade, and the last Barak battalion in the 188th will enter service when the Merkava 2 is completely out of service.

 

Seeing as the IDF is now investing in BMS for some of its Merkava 3 tanks, as well as putting active protection for at least a brigade, the switch from a Mark 4 to a Mark 3 will be smoother.

And those who will serve on the Barak will switch to the Mark 4 in reserves.

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It has yet to be seen whether the IDF will install Trophy APS on the 188th Brigade's Merkava mk3. Since the 188th will switch to MK4 Barak after 2020, I doubt the IDF will make the costly investment on tanks that were not initially designed to host such a power-hungry device like the Trophy APS. They didn't retrofit non-Trophy MK4 with the APS (yet), why would they do it for older and less capable tanks?

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3 minutes ago, Adraste said:

It has yet to be seen whether the IDF will install Trophy APS on the 188th Brigade's Merkava mk3. Since the 188th will switch to MK4 Barak after 2020, I doubt the IDF will make the costly investment on tanks that were not initially designed to host such a power-hungry devise like the Trophy APS. They didn't retrofit non-Trophy MK4 with the APS (yet), why would they do it for older and less capable tanks?

The idea is to retrofit the system to reservists tanks, which includes the Mark 3, and I assume also means Mark 4A/B.

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Time to play smack-a-gentile.

This absolute madlad called @RedEffect put out a video with quite a few claims about, specifically, problems with the Merkava. I know the problems with the Merkava, and what he raised is either inaccurate, or misunderstood.

 

Here's the video:

Spoiler

 

 

The claims are, as following:

  1. Significant heat signature on the front.
  2. Engine can get easily damaged.
  3. Heat can obscure the thermal vision of the gunner, so gunner has to turn away the turret.
  4. Fuel tanks can catch fire. 
  5. LFP bad, UFP not so bad. Can't stop APFSDS or ATGMs though.
  6. Does not have any blow-out panels.
  7. Armor is "fragile" so hits in the same area can damage it.
  8. Wedge shaped armor is bad, only strong in the center.
  9. Still uses L/44 gun, while L/55 is better.
  10. Trophy is god-tier amazing but the Merkava is still held back by its thermal signature.

And here's the rebuttal:

       1. Not true, and it's flawed logic if one arrives at this conclusion by looking at photos of other tanks' rear sections and seeing their apparent thermal signature on the engine compartment. The reason is very simple - on conventional tanks, it's not nearly as important to mask the thermal signature from the engine, because when looking roughly at the front of the tank (the deviation from the front grows smaller as the range increases), the engine's signature is masked. For the Merkava it's more important, and the engine is not covered by thin sheets, and the exhaust isn't just blown wherever. The entire area above the engine is thick armor, and the exhaust air is cooled and thrown downward. The engine cover is not hot, but the exhaust is. It adds only a very small portion to the heat signature. 

You can see it here:

Spoiler

ckdg49A.jpg

       2. In the Merkavas 1-3 I would say that it is true. The engine is overly vulnerable. In the Merkava 4 that has proper armor in the front, that's not the case. If the engine is damaged by a penetrating shot, then in a conventional design it would have been a dead crew. Against an APFSDS the engine indeed would not add much protection, but even today the most proliferated threat to armor is ATGMs. Even in a peer-peer combat, due to the nature of combined arms combat, the tank would still be highly threatened by many different assets other than tanks - helicopters and infantry employing ATGMs, planes employing either ATGMs or JDAMs, artillery, etc. Against these, protection against HEAT is extremely valuable.

       3. Unsubstantiated, and so far I haven't heard of any firing drill that involves rotating the turret away from the exhaust.

       4. Fuel tanks in any tank can catch fire. That's not unique to the Merkava. In the Merkava it may fry the engine. In another tank it could fry the driver.

       5. RAPAT (Israeli equivalent of TARDEC) believe the armor suit they developed for the Merkava 4 is one where they didn't have to make any compromises, and could make it work against the perceived threats. None tried to fire an APFSDS against this tank so I wouldn't know. Additionally, he mentions the Kornet ATGM, and that one specifically was said to have been fired at the front section of the tank but without success. They didn't specify what "front" means, but since Hezbollah were smart enough to fire not only at the sides, but specifically at the ammo stowage compartment at times, makes me believe they were also smart enough to occasionally fire specifically at the hull.

       6. Entirely false. The hull isn't equipped with blow-out panels but the turret is. Since he mentions the Leopard as an example of a tank with such panels, despite having a huge ammo rack at the front with no panels, makes me believe he did not mean the entire ammo, but even parts of the ammo. So again, false.

       7. That was a problem with the Merkava 4A, but not the Mark 4B and subsequent variants.

       8. Theoretically true, but the upper portion of the turret is completely inert because it's actually just the roof armor and storage bins, and the lower portion is to some extent covered by the hull. Yep, the hull's armor extends above the actual roof of the hull to hide the turret ring. You have to actually be on a pretty nice elevation to see the turret ring.

       9. L/55 is better if you only take raw penetration into account. But that is not the only consideration. With urban combat growing in frequency, shorter barrels still show some clear advantages. An L/55 is a whole 1,320mm longer than the L/44, and that makes it hard to traverse in narrow city streets. That is, when considering that any tank with the L/44 is already pretty bulky for streets. The Merkava's turret was built in a way that allows for substantial growth in firepower - up to 140mm. Accepting an L/55 gun is a no biggie. But there is no operational need for such a gun, and it's possible the IDF will skip right to the 130mm or whatever the next gun may be.

       10. Similar to point 1, but you can see in the photo I added there that the radars are actually just as hot, if not hotter than the exhaust air.

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12 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:
  • Heat can obscure the thermal vision of the gunner, so gunner has to turn away the turret.

 

This fake is spread by russian propaganda.

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14 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Time to play smack-a-gentile.

This absolute madlad called @RedEffect put out a video with quite a few claims about, specifically, problems with the Merkava. I know the problems with the Merkava, and what he raised is either inaccurate, or misunderstood.

Merkava is always a controversial topics due to its unique design .

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16 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Fuel tanks in any tank can catch fire. That's not unique to the Merkava. In the Merkava it may fry the engine. In another tank it could fry the driver.

IIRC diesel isn't so bad, unless the warheads (HEAT rounds, I don't know about APFSDS) use aluminium liners.

 

16 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

That was a problem with the Merkava 4A, but not the Mark 4B and subsequent variants.

Is there a way to visually differentiate them from each other?

 

16 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

L/55 is better if you only take raw penetration into account. But that is not the only consideration. With urban combat growing in frequency, shorter barrels still show some clear advantages. An L/55 is a whole 1,320mm longer than the L/44, and that makes it hard to traverse in narrow city streets. That is, when considering that any tank with the L/44 is already pretty bulky for streets. The Merkava's turret was built in a way that allows for substantial growth in firepower - up to 140mm. Accepting an L/55 gun is a no biggie. But there is no operational need for such a gun, and it's possible the IDF will skip right to the 130mm or whatever the next gun may be.

Germany actually still has some 2A5s in storage according to one of my friends (ex 2A6M loader) for urban warfare.

Or they could've been 2A6s but with the L44, I don't quite remember...

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47 minutes ago, Scav said:

Is there a way to visually differentiate them from each other?

Externally, I haven't really paid much attention to it.

But the difference in armor construction is visible here:

Mark 4A - armor is perforated:

Spoiler

13122552835_82b74aae54_b.jpg

 

Mark 4B - armor is not perforated:

Spoiler

FOucaAE-UAE.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, VPZ said:

 

This fake is spread by russian propaganda.

 

On 4/2/2019 at 2:41 PM, VPZ said:

Damn, how many topics related to Soviet/Russian tanks are on this forum? Just don't create them.

 

Spoiler

?imw=1024&imh=1024&ima=fit&impolicy=Letterbox&imcolor=%23000000&letterbox=true

 

 

19 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

 

       2. In the Merkavas 1-3 I would say that it is true. The engine is overly vulnerable. In the Merkava 4 that has proper armor in the front, that's not the case. If the engine is damaged by a penetrating shot, then in a conventional design it would have been a dead crew.

   Not sure about this one. Because of Merkava's frontal engine layout, it have less avaliable weight for frontal armor compared to a MBT with similar overall weight but with rear engine. THis means that a tank with classical layout and similar total weight frontal armor can be noticeably higher. On top of that majority of tanks don't have their entire crews located in front hull.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Scav said:

Is there a way to visually differentiate them from each other?

 

IIRC, the Merkava Mk. 4A has a new commander panoramic sight and lacks of loader hatch.

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Quote

Germany actually still has some 2A5s in storage according to one of my friends (ex 2A6M loader) for urban warfare.

Or they could've been 2A6s but with the L44, I don't quite remember...

Maybe, there are other points than FIBUA compatibility. 

For exemple One priority for designers was the compactness into the turret. 

An other point is : can they design an efficient 55cal barrel ?

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1 hour ago, LoooSeR said:

Not sure about this one. Because of Merkava's frontal engine layout, it have less avaliable weight for frontal armor compared to a MBT with similar overall weight but with rear engine. THis means that a tank with classical layout and similar total weight frontal armor can be noticeably higher. On top of that majority of tanks don't have their entire crews located in front hull.

With the engine at the front, the overall hight of the chassis is superior. So, both the volume and the weight of chassis are higher. 

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20 minutes ago, Serge said:

 

With the engine at the front, the overall hight of the chassis is superior. So, both the volume and the weight of chassis are higher. 

Depends on engine and cooling system design. I was speaking generally about front engine vs rear engine layout.  

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