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Something interesting about Merkava III's armor protection(in Chinese): Some of these images are come from Chinese course book《装甲防护技术基础》(The basic technology of armor protection), and others are

Couple more of the Mk.3-based Ofek    

Hi Adraste, 

No UN soldiers there. If you mean the bloke with the blue hat, shirt and grey trousers, based on previous experience, he is probably from MANTAK. 



Edited by Marsh
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20 minutes ago, 2805662 said:

Australian interest in things Israeli (BRIG in this case = Brigadier, i.e. 1 star):



Nice find. I forgot to update you guys. In 15-16 this month, i.e a few days from now, there will be a ground warfare exhibition in Israel. Nothing fancy like an arms expo, just a show of concepts, maybe new practical solutions, and some lectures. 

It will probably be less AFV-oriented and far more logistics, EW, and network oriented.

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IDF Reveals Brigade Combat Team Structure

For the first time the IDF is revealing so comprehensively the structure of its BCT's (Brigade Combat Team). This is coming ahead of a Ground Warfare Exhibition and Conference in 15-16.8.18, where the IDF is due to showcase new capabilities and various Israeli defense companies such as Elbit, RAFAEL, IAI, UVision, and subsidiaries, are due to show what they've built to provide these capabilities as well as their own concepts that drive their development efforts.

The following is a direct translation from the IDF's website. Link for reading in Hebrew.

How the IDF's brigades will decide the next war, and what weaponry will affect the results of the future battle? 36th Division and Ground Arm Command are unveiling the "Gideon BCT" - The new combat conception of the IDF, and provide a rare glimpse at the first experimentation of the combined arms.

In the framework of the wide military exercise conducted throughout the course of this week in the Golan Heights, 36th Division forces tried for the first time the new combat conception "Gideon BCT" - the future fighting form of the IDF's maneuvering brigades.
For a long time the GAC (Ground Arm Command) are working hard on developing the new conception that will provide a powerful solution to the enemy the IDF will meet in its next war. It's a "hidden and concealing" enemy, that operates covertly, fights from within urban areas, and utilizes multiple dimensions of combat, such as sub-terranean and cyber warfare.
The Gideon BCT, as explained by the GAC, offers a new structure to the maneuvering brigades of the IDF throughout the course of fighting. Until this day, every combat brigade operated with its own uniqueness and association of arm. For example, the 7th brigade was an armor brigade, and the Golani was an infantry brigade. However now, within the framework of the BCT, in times of war, the brigades will be assembled from infantry, armor, combat engineers, and artillery, that will work side by side.
The new structure should help the IDF in its efforts to conquer new territory and be decisive against the formations of the ever-changing enemy, via fast mechanized maneuver, combination of vast and various firing capabilities, and all that while maintaining common discourse and multi-arm coordination that will reinforce the survivability and lethality of the forces on the field.

So how will the brigades fight the next war?

The new brigades will consist of no less than 6 battalions, among them 3 infantry and armor battalions, an engineering battalion, a recon battalion, and an HQ unit. All these will be specialized battalions.
To them, will join a Fire Battalion Combat Team (BatCT). The Fire BatCT is an artillery battalion that has evolved to acquire independent combat capabilities such as recon, target acquisition, target destruction, and independent maneuver. 
It will do a dual work - Acquire and destroy its own targets, and receive targets to destroy from other maneuvering elements of the BCT.
During the exercise that was conducted last week, the 77th and 82nd battalions of the 7th Armor Brigade, along with the 13th battalion of the Golani Infantry Brigade and the 603rd Combat Engineers battalion, joined forces to test their cooperation and effectiveness of the new structure.
Other than the new brigade structure, the battalions themselves have also undergone quite a few changes. The recon battalion, that up until now was made of one light recon company, one engineering company, and one AT company, will now transform to receive two primary capabilities:
1. Attacking and seizing complex areas deep within enemy territory with powerful and independent raiding companies. 
2. Special purpose companies that will acquire quality intel through reconnaissance, and destroy hostile targets through advanced weaponry.
We are building better acquisition and destruction capabilities from our understanding that we're operating against a sneaky enemy, one that operates in ways that allow him to avoid meeting us in face to face combat.
We are thus more capable to destroy the enemy more quickly and more precisely.
The HQ unit is also a unique addition on the brigade level. Its purpose is to ease the control and operation of the brigade, and ensure the independence of the BCT from the division level or GAC level.

Ground-breaking weaponry

Additionally, during the BCT exercise numerous new systems were tried for the first time.
Those are advanced electronic systems whose purpose are to either locate the enemy and neutralize it, or to defend the forces.
However during the exercise the forces also used brand new and very accurate means of fire activation that will physically aid in capturing territory.
First and foremost, we tried the "Gideon's Shield", capable of defending the combat units from various threats like mortars, rockets, and it can even attack aerial vehicles, thus providing the forces with great advantage over the enemy.
It's a mobile battery that moves together with the forces, and provides a sort of an "Iron Dome" for the maneuvering forces through combined capabilities of firing missiles, lasers, and even EW for interception.
The commander in charge of the battery is the BatCT commander or BCT commander, and he can decide whom he wants to protect and what assets to utilize.
Another element is "Gideon's Grid". It's a sensor system capable of detecting all sorts of targets by laying an entire blanket on a certain grid, that can detect enemy signals. 
(Other sources say the plan is to use 24 aerial vehicles per brigade with various sensors).
Once a target it sighted, or a source of emissions is detected, the system quickly translates the source to accurate coordinates and sends them through the Fire Weaver system.

Additionally, Rafael's Fire Weaver was used. It's a system that can direct all the different firing sources at a certain target, after which it can select what firing source is best suited for the task, and finally give the order to fire.
This system tremendously contributes to the multi-arm cooperation of the BCT's units.

Also, new vehicles were used for the first time as well, such as robotic convoys, i.e unmanned vehicles capable of autonomously provide them with a logistical solution without endangering the drivers.
Namer IFVs with cannons were also used with armor piercing munitions. Installation of the cannon on the Namer turns him from a well protected vehicle capable of safely maneuvering with the forces - to an especially lethal fighting vehicle.


Other sources have also added some valuable information. Walla and Ynet.

In points, what they add:
  • BCT tried a new guided mortar round in the 120mm caliber.
  • Guided artillery shells will enter service soon.
  • Up to 50% of the arsenal will be guided munitions.
  • Every BCT will have its own aerial fleet and small airstrip.
  • The fleet will consist of at least 24 reconnaissance aircraft that will be able to pick up signals.
  • Every BCT will get a far-reaching broadband internet, dubbed the "3 100's". 100Mhz, 100MB, and 100km.
  • Every BCT will have its own air defense battery.
  • Below 300m the BCT's aerial wing will operate freely. Between 1km and 300m the BCT will cooperate with the air force. And above 1km only the air force works.
  • The drones will be operated by an air control unit belonging to each brigade.


There's quite a lot going on here. Both a very serious restructuring, and new capabilities that are also independent of the BCT effort but greatly enhanced by it.
Under the program, a total of 10 BCT's will be formed eventually, if not more. Both active and reserve.
They're not really even brigade-sized anymore, but are closer to being twice the size of a typical brigade, or 50% larger for already large brigades. The largest brigade in the IDF is Kfir with "only" 5 battalions, which still falls short of the 6-battalion BCT.
But let's talk weaponry, shall we?
1) Fire Weaver from RAFAEL. This video explains better than anyone could, what this system does:

My take on it? It's the next generation of BMS and the only thing left to do, to get a very streamlined process of sensor-to-shooter is to give the MBTs the ability to designate targets through the IronVision helmet they'll get with the Barak.
2) Mobile Iron Dome. From my understanding it's multiple systems, one is probably the Iron Dome, and the other is a shorter range laser system suitable for downing drones. None was selected yet as far as the public knows.
RAFAEL have showcased their mobile Iron Dome in 3D models, but nothing real yet.
The model shows a missile launcher with 10 tubes on the back of a MAN truck, and a radar dome above the cabin. This gives half the static Iron Dome's missile capacity (original 20). However a typical Iron Dome battery should have a launching capacity of 40 missiles prior to reloading. 
The mobile Iron Dome is dubbed iDome or I-Dome.
It's a good solution, but leaves much to be desired. First, there is still an urgent need for a 100kW laser system, dubbed Iron Beam, which has been stuck in limbo for the past decade, and this could be the only hint for its future existence (note: 100kW combat lasers were demonstrated recently).
Second, such a setup, of missiles on a truck, although cheap and flexible, require preparation time prior to firing, and are less maneuverable. The coverage issue could be fixed by moving one unit at a time out of 4, but perhaps a more suitable solution would be its placement on an Eitan vehicle.
3) 24 drones with various payloads including SIGINT, flying below 1km, or sometimes below 300 meters, per brigade, is quite a task. 
A very good candidate for this could be Elbit's Hermes 90, although they are talking about having small runways for each brigade, while the Hermes 90 is runway-free. So it could be a new development.
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Seems the rioting points have either expanded so much, or the IDF had to relocate most of its riot control and sniper teams, that now tanks on patrols have to do the quick reaction to infiltration attempts.

A smoke grenade does seem like a good response. It's non-lethal but could do some damage if the person persists on staying put. 

Just didn't know how large of a smoke screen a pair of grenade could do...

EDIT: Action starts at 1:50. Better keep the sound muted unless you like the music.


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1 hour ago, VPZ said:
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No, no, close this tab.


If someone hasn't noticed yet, there are differences between first and last variants of turreted Namer. The first one lacks of frontal observation camera, but has smoke grenade launchers on chassis. And the second one has some additional device on commanders sight.

That's because the first one is an ad-hoc solution while the 2nd is a more complete one, closer to serial standard. No need for smoke grenades on the hull if the turret can carry them. And that driver's camera may just be a new addition that is irrelevant to the turret.


EDIT: To be honest, I'm kind of surprised they went with only 6 smoke grenades there. I thought they'd gone along the lines of ROSY and have something that can throw smoke in all directions, or at least in a more substantial volume.

But I guess they have a different approach to smoke screening, maybe thinking that with APS they don't want to conceal but to use the opportunity to fire back.


The commander's sight and gunner's sight are both Elbit's COAPS (Commander Open Architecture Panoramic Sight), which is funny because Elbit are offering the MGS (Modular Gunner's Sight).

The COAPS, as you can see in the video, has a central stabilization unit, with two optical modules, one on each side. In the video the left side has a thermal optical unit, and the right side has a day-time optical unit with a laser range finder.

It appears on the test turret, they did not use the full optical set, and on the more recent one they have. 


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19 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

EDIT: To be honest, I'm kind of surprised they went with only 6 smoke grenades there. I thought they'd gone along the lines of ROSY and have something that can throw smoke in all directions, or at least in a more substantial volume.

But I guess they have a different approach to smoke screening, maybe thinking that with APS they don't want to conceal but to use the opportunity to fire back.

Look at Merkava, they are only firing in the barrel direction. 


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