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Sturgeon's House

The Merkava, Israel's Chieftain?

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For those who haven't followed our little community, forum member Xlucine (Xlu) did some measurements with an ultrasonic probe on an early chieftain at Bovington tank museum.  Chieftain MBT has a reputation for extremely good armor protection based on armor thickness figures that have been repeated for years... and are completely wrong.  Chieftain was in fact only a bit better armored from the front than M60A1.


And holy shit, I hadn't seen all of those pictures before, Life.  That does look thin.


Did the IDF ever claim that the engine and transmission improve crew protection?  I've come to interpret that line as outside interpolation.  It doesn't really make sense; the engine provides no frontal protection to the driver whatsoever because it's to the side of the driver.


Poking around a bit, I think Merk IV's hull protection is substantially based on what's underneath the hull armor.  The fuel tanks add extra protection vs. HEAT (and who knows, maybe they're the really fancy fuel tank designs that work well against KE too), and there are supposed to be some sort of bulkheads down there too.  The thickness between the driver and threats across the LFP looks OK, and is probably filled with fuel tanks and magical composites.  It's the glacis itself that's not so hot.


Not entirely unlike an abrams, although the abrams has a slopier and smaller glacis.

Chieftain has always been overrated in regards to armor, and IMO same goes for the Challenger series. 


Sure does look thin...and the modular turret (as in, the one hiding under the add on armor) does too. 


It has been an outside claim for years at this point. "Merkava putting the engine at the hull front protects the crew further" almost sounds like a consensus at this point, even if it isn't really true. 


I agree; "if anything it is just 'well-armored' but with good methods of containing a penetration"


​Fuel tanks really would not do much outside of HEAT, and if the Abrams' is using JP...a DU penetration wouldn't be nice. 


Abram's glacis is just plain steel, albeit angled more. 

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Somewhere I found a diagram of the Mk1 turret which purported to show the spaced armor layout.  A lot of the front of the turret, according to this diagram, consisted of hollow boxes.


Haven't found the Mk1 diagram just yet, but here's the Mk IV:





They're not add-on armor so much as they are armor modules.  They can be replaced when damaged or when they need to be upgraded.


It's the next logical step from the abrams' armor.  You can upgrade it, but now without having to get a cutting torch.

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I hadn't noticed before that Merkava IV's bottom hull is slightly V-shaped, like a challenger II.

There is a special protection plate for Merks against IEDs, it have even more noticeable V-shape IIRC.

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