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The Merkava, Israel's Chieftain?

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1 died, 3 injured after this incident with Mk4

CyAbTFqUsAAl_LT.jpg

I was just going to post about this after seeing a few articles on it.  It seems the IDF ends up tipping tanks over at a higher rate than most armies.  I would guess most of these accidents are in the Golan where the terrain is pretty rough and hilly?

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Hi Walter,

 

18 year old conscripts. Rough terrain. Powerful machinery. An exceptionally poor, (at least by UK/USA standards) driving culture, which blends aggression with flawed technique. What could possibly go wrong?

 

cheers

Marsh

 

The only worse standard of driving I have seen was in Crete, 20 years ago, out in the sticks.

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I mean the larger picture

 

Originally the smaller picture was left, but I moved it to the right  when the arrow conflicted with the another photo (of the tank without fuel tanks). I forgot to adjust the caption.

___

Eitan to be made in the US?

 

New Israeli APC may be produced in US

The Defense Ministry is mulling manufacturing the planned new IDF armored personnel carrier - the Eitan - in the US and purchasing it with US military aid.

The planned new IDF armored personnel carrier (APC) - the Eitan - will be manufactured in the US and purchased by Israel with US military aid, according to internal discussions by the IDF land forces and the Ministry of Defense. Such a decision is liable to disappoint Israeli defense companies and dozens more small and medium-sized companies in Israel involved in the Merkava tank program. These companies hoped that their involvement in the new APC program would increase the volume of their business.

The APC, which is in the advanced stages of development by the Ministry of Defense and IDF, was first unveiled four months ago, and is in the midst of a series of tests. A prototype of the APC has already been built, and two more will be completed in the coming months.

The Nahal brigade is due to conduct a series of tests on the APC in the coming weeks. Defense sources said that the tests might be completed in the coming months, in which case the IDF and Ministry of Defense would discuss its procurement. If this occurs, procurement is likely to begin during the Gideon multi-year plan, under which the IDF is already operating.

With the unveiling of the new APC, senior defense establishment sources said that an assembly line for the vehicle could be begun within 2-3 years. The IDF wants to procure several dozen of these vehicles a year, which will make it possible to gradually replace the old M-113 Bardelas (Cheetah) APCs used by IDF infantry units. The M-113 was developed in the US in the 1960s.

The IDF currently has a large number of M-113s that are not protected against the new battlefield threats, such as advanced anti-tank missiles. The problem of protection for these vehicles was highlighted during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014. In the course of operations by Golani Brigade forces in Shejaia, an anti-tank missile was fired against an IDF M-113 APC, killing seven IDF soldiers, with Hamas obtaining part of Sergeant Oron Shaul's body.

In recent months, the defense establishment said that the price of the planned APC would be less than that of other APCs around the world, so that the IDF would be able to procure a large number of the them. The Ministry of Defense did not disclose the price, but Tank Administration Commander Brig.Gen. Baruch Matzliah previously attributed the low price to the commercial systems that would be installed in it. These systems are substantially less expensive than other systems installed in other APCs in Israel and elsewhere.

Despite its low price, the defense establishment is portraying the Eitan as one of the world's best-protected APCs, among other things due to the Trophy defense system produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. This system can intercept advanced RPG rockets and anti-tank missiles. The Trophy has already been installed in the IDF's Mark IV Merkava tanks and Namer APCs.

Far more involved

One of the considerations affecting the Ministry of Defense's decision to outsource production of the future APC to the US, instead of producing it in Israel, is US aid money. Israel prefers to have production in the US, after which it can be imported. The various systems to be installed in Israel will all be produced by Israeli defense industries.

 

The change in the military aid agreement with the US signed last September is also a major consideration in the looming decision. Under the new agreement, the US will grant Israel $3.8 billion in military aid a year. In contrast to the previous aid agreement, however, starting seven years from now, Israel will not be allowed to convert 25% of the aid in dollars to shekels and use it for purchases from local defense companies. The Ministry of Defense previously outsourced the Namer APC for production in the US, so that it could be procured with US aid money.

60% of the Namer is made in the US, including the chasses and other components. The Namer is assembled in the IDF and Ministry of Defense Reconstruction and Center. The leading contractor in the production of the Namer components in the US is General Dynamics. Dozens more US companies are also involved in the program. In the case of the Eitan APC, involvement by US industry is expected to be greater than in the Namer project.

Although Israeli companies are likely to be disappointed by the emerging decision, a defense source involved in the program told "Globes" that dozens of Mark IV tanks were currently being manufactured annually in Israel, as well as speeded-up production of the Namer.

"This is the most intensive production of APCs and tanks that has ever taken place in Israel. The industries involved in these programs will obviously receive orders accordingly," the source said.

In recent weeks, the Ministry of Defense reported that it had ordered hundreds of Trophy systems from Rafael, amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels. These systems will be used to protect the Namer APCs. Procurement of the Namer was stepped up as a result of the lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge.

The Ministry of Defense said in response, "The Eitan is still in the development stages, and has not yet been approved by the IDF for procurement and mass production. If and when decisions are taken to produce it, and in what volume, the Ministry of Defense Merkava Tank Administration, which regards the involvement of Israeli industries in the Merkava project as a strategic asset, will take steps to ensure the share of Israeli industries in the project, as it has done up until now. We emphasize that after the project is approved, production of the Eitan will take place simultaneously with production of the Merkava and Namer. In view of the increased procurement of armored fighting vehicles following Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli defense industries' share of all these projects will increase, not decrease."

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-new-israeli-apc-may-be-produced-in-us-1001164794

 

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Zuk doesn't post here so I will copy a post of his from the AW forum.

 

 

I've also stumbled upon this video, which gives an unprecedented look into the armor layout of the Merkava 4.
The video is from the IDF's new instructional bases complex, its current mega-project to move much of the IDF's bases to the Negev desert. Still under construction.



Interesting points to look at:
0-16-0:25
2:42-2:47

What bothers me mostly is the thing we see at 0:21
It says "explosive" on it. It's clearly not a fuel tank or battery, as those are labeled "flammable". There is the possibility of some form of ERA, as some sources do claim there is ERA (based on very old statements), but I'm inclined to believe it's something else entirely.

 

Apparently that panel is supposed to be classified, as is this blue object which is not a panoramic sight.

 

SHL16943.jpg

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Zuk doesn't post here so I will copy a post of his from the AW forum.

 

That is, indeed, not a panoramic sight (me thinks). As you can see it's not placed where the panoramic sight is usually located. The actual sight is located further in the back and is either closed or rotated to the back. 

Just a bit in front of the commander's hatch before the roof armor.

 

MerkavaIIID-02a.jpg

 

 

Zuk also posted to his thread the following (taken from the video):

 

JfxLhVr.png

 

uhQuGXD.png?1

(some booty for the lads)

fhlXf3r.png?1

 

Seen during fields maintenance:

1400799807-ac4n-1331661558-1376660747.jp

 

The interesting bit:

CPYFwqH.png?1

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The interesting bit:

CPYFwqH.png?1

This is the image were it says "Explosive" right?

 

So, does this mean the side armor of the Merkava 4 is ERA.

Or maybe NxRA?

I know NxRA stands for Non Explosive (X) Reactive Armor. But in NxRA there is a reactive material between in plates right?  Could this material be considered explosive?  Though, not powerful enough to explode the module like in ERA.

 

 

Mvh

Xoon.

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This is the image were it says "Explosive" right?

 

So, does this mean the side armor of the Merkava 4 is ERA.

Or maybe NxRA?

I know NxRA stands for Non Explosive (X) Reactive Armor. But in NxRA there is a reactive material between in plates right?  Could this material be considered explosive?  Though, not powerful enough to explode the module like in ERA.

 

 

Mvh

Xoon.

 

1)That's the image indeed.

2)It does mean the turret side armor of the Merkava contains SOME ERA, not entirely though. 

If you look at this image:

30857515149962.jpg

 

You can see the composition of the armor as the coverplate was blown off, in the Mark 4A.

 

It's highly likely that Mark 2D, 3D, 4A and 4B all have underlaid ERA, as these are based on a similar principle.

 

The basic armor is NxRA in its nature on all these models, and the recent improvement (2007) was to eliminate the exposure issue seen in the image above. What is also seen in the picture is that the armor reacts violently upon hit, even without the use of any explosive material. 

 

What I guess is that only a single or less likely few explosive layers exist within the armor, at the very back of it, acting as a last line of defense. 

This would not have however the disadvantage of hard maintenance as seen on multi-ERA based armor of the Oplot-M, as by the time the ERA is initiated in the Merkava's side armor, the whole armor module would have been pierced and compromised, requiring full replacement.

 

3)Bottom line; the armor itself is NxRA, but is not related to the ERA located behind it.

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There are known four principal groups of intermediate materials for armors, disclosed hereinafter in order of their energetic catachrestic:

 

A. Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)

Explosive Reactive Armor is the most effective technology to defeat hollow charges, kinetic projectiles, small arms, shrapnel etc. Advanced ERA concepts are considered leap-ahead technology against emerging anti-armor threats. The major challenges of applying ERA to ground combat vehicles are the use of an explosive material as an intermediate layer of the sandwich element, reducing survivability of the armor.

 

B. Self-Limiting Explosive Reactive Armor (SLERA)

Self-Limiting ERA provides reasonable performance, substantially better than NERA (see below), though less than ERA, with reduced effects on vehicle structures, as compared to ERA. The energetic material layer in SLERA has the potential of being classified as a passive material (NATO specification). SLERA can provide good multiple-hit capability in modular configuration. Thus, while the energetic material used in SLERA is not as effective as fully detonable explosives, this type of reactive armor may provide a more practical option than ERA owing to its survivability characteristics.

 

C. Non-Explosive Reactive Armor (NxRA)

Non-Explosive Reactive Armor provides a comparable efficiency to SLERA, comparable survivability to NERA (see below), and excellent multiple-hit capability against hollow charge warheads. NxRA's advantages over other reactive armor technologies are that it is totally passive and has substantially better efficiency than NERA. Energetic materials for NxRA are disclosed for example in DE 3132008C1 and in U.S. Pat. No. 4,881,448.

 

D. Non-Energetic Reactive Armor (NERA)

Non-Energetic Reactive Armor has limited efficiency against hollow charges. NERA's advantage is that it is totally passive and thus provides excellent survivability and maximal multiple-hit capability, comparable to NxRA.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a non-explosive energetic material suitable for NxRA which does not contain explosive material and fulfills its protective function (high efficiency and high survivability of the armor), whilst the non-explosive energetic material lowers the requirements of transportation and logistics according to various standards e.g. UN regulations as appearing in the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

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Well it's not SLERA by that definition.

It's thick NxRA backed with a layer of ERA. 

 

2)It does mean the turret side armor of the Merkava contains SOME ERA, not entirely though. 

If you look at this image:

30857515149962.jpg

 

You can see the composition of the armor as the coverplate was blown off, in the Mark 4A.

 

It's highly likely that Mark 2D, 3D, 4A and 4B all have underlaid ERA, as these are based on a similar principle.

 

The basic armor is NxRA in its nature on all these models, and the recent improvement (2007) was to eliminate the exposure issue seen in the image above. What is also seen in the picture is that the armor reacts violently upon hit, even without the use of any explosive material. 

 

What I guess is that only a single or less likely few explosive layers exist within the armor, at the very back of it, acting as a last line of defense. 

This would not have however the disadvantage of hard maintenance as seen on multi-ERA based armor of the Oplot-M, as by the time the ERA is initiated in the Merkava's side armor, the whole armor module would have been pierced and compromised, requiring full replacement.

 

 

 

A. Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)

Explosive Reactive Armor is the most effective technology to defeat hollow charges, kinetic projectiles, small arms, shrapnel etc. Advanced ERA concepts are considered leap-ahead technology against emerging anti-armor threats. The major challenges of applying ERA to ground combat vehicles are the use of an explosive material as an intermediate layer of the sandwich element, reducing survivability of the armor.

 

B. Self-Limiting Explosive Reactive Armor (SLERA)

Self-Limiting ERA provides reasonable performance, substantially better than NERA (see below), though less than ERA, with reduced effects on vehicle structures, as compared to ERA. The energetic material layer in SLERA has the potential of being classified as a passive material (NATO specification). SLERA can provide good multiple-hit capability in modular configuration. Thus, while the energetic material used in SLERA is not as effective as fully detonable explosives, this type of reactive armor may provide a more practical option than ERA owing to its survivability characteristics.

 

 
Sounds like the Original model used NxRA backed with ERA, but later models replaced the ERA with SLERA to reduce the structural damage caused to the armor module. 
 
 

 

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That's not what I meant.

I meant that the ERA behind the passive armor was there and is still there. I don't know what type of ERA that is, what materials they use, what backing and the details. I just know there's ERA at the back.

 

The change in armor (which occurred in 2007-2008) in the Merkava 4B, was to the NxRA. The passive armor itself, regardless of the ERA, was changed so that hits would no longer remove parts of the armor, and keep the passive armor more intact.

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