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I just noticed that as well. But seeing as the blur is quite mild, I'm under the impression they're just trying to conceal some minor changes for now. 

 

In other news, Elbit received a contract for the production of howitzers for the IDF:

http://ir.elbitsystems.com/node/16041/pdf

 

Quote

HAIFA, Israel, March 27, 2019 -- Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was awarded an approximately $125 million (NIS 460 million) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense ("IMOD") to supply fully automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces ("IDF"). The contract, which also includes the supply of training simulators, will be performed over a 12-year period.

 

The IMOD and Elbit Systems intend that further part of the automatic howitzer gun systems program, under an additional contract to the Company in an amount that is expected to be material, will be performed by various U.S. companies including Elbit Systems of America, LLC, subject to completion of the receipt of applicable governmental approvals for the U.S. content.

 

The new automatic howitzer gun system is based on know-how and experience the Company accumulated over decades of supplying artillery systems to numerous armed forces. The new howitzer gun system is capable of automatic loading and laying. According to the applicable mission, the new gun system automatically selects the required projectile, propellant and fuze, loads them and lays the gun to optimally engage targets. The new howitzer gun system will enhance the effectiveness of the artillery formation of the IDF while reducing the number soldiers in each platform and significantly reduce life-cycle costs.

 

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, commented: "We are proud to take part in building the future artillery formation of the IDF. This contract award is a vote of confidence in Israeli defense technology and an acknowledgment of the international leadership of Elbit Systems in the area of artillery systems. We believe that effective integration of precision, rapidity and autonomy together with a built-in connectivity to the communication and command & control systems will become the required standard. We are witnessing a growing need for advanced and reliable artillery systems that enable powerful and efficient operation in all combat configurations."

 

$125 million may seem like a considerable sum, and 12 years somewhat stands in line with the ex-MoD's claim that it will be done within a decade, but it only seems like it would be enough for maybe 25% of the needed vehicles. If every howitzer costs $2.5 million dollars, which I assume would actually be more but still, we're talking about maybe 50 howitzers, out of a total needed 200.

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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    

1 hour ago, VPZ said:

 

Maybe Iron Vision is installed.

 

I doubt it. IronVision is part of the Barak MBT. They're not going to just retrofit segments of the Barak to existing tanks because of logistical issues. It's also a complex system which may require revamped training courses for maintenance staff. And without the many upgrades going into the Barak, it may be somewhat out of context, and not fulfilling its potential. It's also why we're not seeing the IronVision tested on the Namer or Eitan yet.

 

6 minutes ago, SPARTAN ARMED said:

When you're posting, please make sure you're not reposting. I have already posted these news, no need to repeat it.

 

Anyway, it seems this contract also includes prototypes. 

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19 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

I doubt it. IronVision is part of the Barak MBT. They're not going to just retrofit segments of the Barak to existing tanks because of logistical issues. It's also a complex system which may require revamped training courses for maintenance staff. And without the many upgrades going into the Barak, it may be somewhat out of context, and not fulfilling its potential. It's also why we're not seeing the IronVision tested on the Namer or Eitan yet.

 

It's cameras, a computer and a helmet. Not exactly maintenance heavy, assuming the cameras aren't too exotic. There's no reason to believe they are.

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51 minutes ago, SPARTAN ARMED said:

 

That's funny - they claim that the new howitzer to be adopted is Atmos, and than, say that it will be fully automatic. :D

 

38 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

I doubt it. IronVision is part of the Barak MBT. They're not going to just retrofit segments of the Barak to existing tanks because of logistical issues. It's also a complex system which may require revamped training courses for maintenance staff. And without the many upgrades going into the Barak, it may be somewhat out of context, and not fulfilling its potential. It's also why we're not seeing the IronVision tested on the Namer or Eitan yet.

 

It's already tested on Bradley.

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11 minutes ago, MRose said:

 

It's cameras, a computer and a helmet. Not exactly maintenance heavy, assuming the cameras aren't too exotic. There's no reason to believe they are.

Which are directly connected to the FCS, BMS, and APS. These are the most complex computer systems in the tank, and involve almost all sensors onboard the tank.

These connections are never simple to make and troubleshoot.

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1 minute ago, VPZ said:

 

That's funny - they claim that Atmos is going to be adopted, and than, say that it will be fully automatic. :D

 

What's funny about that? It was talked about for a long time, and not too long ago Elbit have shown a standalone ATMOS turret with its autoloading system. Very simple, and very much real.

The ATMOS is not that small 6x6 Tatra truck with a short L/39 gun that was shown 15 years ago. It's the electronic architecture behind it. It's the combination of the BMS, laying system, fire control computer, and communications network.

It was shown in many variants - 6x6, 8x8, L/39, L/45, L/52, fully manual, semi-automatic, and now they have created a fully automatic version for the L/52, to be mounted on a HEMTT truck.

The RoF is to be 8RPM in a limited mode, with an override option to increase it to an unknown amount.

 

1 minute ago, VPZ said:

 

It's already tested on Bradley.

So what? The cameras of the IronVision were publicly shown a long time ago. And Elbit's video of the IronVision from 2016 also shows a live demonstration.

But there's a difference between showing a demonstrator and testing the system, and having it already in service.

 

Any change in any AFV, necessarily requires retraining the maintenance crews. The more complex the system is, the more likely the IDF are to wait for the next cycle of recruits to implement the new courses.

The IronVision could have been fully ready on an AFV about a year ago. But there's a lot of work to be done if the IDF want it to enter service properly, with a secured chain of logistics, maintenance capability, and technical support.

It's not without reason that the IDF very clearly stated that the system enters service in 2021, not 2019.

 

And these tanks are on the border with Gaza. These are active units, not experimental units. Whatever kit they have, they're going into Gaza with it, if the decision comes for a ground maneuver (for non-Israelis reading this, recently tensions have gone up and Hamas launched multiple rockets at Tel Aviv, one of which has destroyed a home and injured its residents, to which the IDF responded by destroying strategic Hamas assets).

 

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6 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:
20 minutes ago, MRose said:

 

It's cameras, a computer and a helmet. Not exactly maintenance heavy, assuming the cameras aren't too exotic. There's no reason to believe they are.

Which are directly connected to the FCS, BMS, and APS. These are the most complex computer systems in the tank, and involve almost all sensors onboard the tank.

These connections are never simple to make and troubleshoot.

 

I'm not sure I understand how that would increase the maintenance requirements of those systems. On the F-35, which is the most direct analogue the cameras themselves require the most attention, and Iron Vision won't be using anything nearly that complex. Assuming that they integrated it the easiest possible way, only the FCS and BMS need to be integrated. The APS is already integrated with those systems.

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42 minutes ago, VPZ said:

 

Because the howitzer they are going to adopt is not Atmos, and it's good that it isn't.

 

Again, the ATMOS is the architecture of the system. It's not the truck or the gun. They're using expansions based on the ATMOS architecture to create this new howitzer. The IDF will give it a new name, but it's obvious what Elbit is basing this on.

 

39 minutes ago, MRose said:

This one's an estimate of one guy, that the blurred Namers are using Spike missiles. 

IMO they're not a suitable platform for that. The Eitans are a much better choice, as they're cheaper to maintain and use, and because a 30km missile launcher does not need so much protection.

 

And don't forget the first blurry image was of Merkava tanks, not Namer APCs. 

 

My personal guess is a replacement to the ELAWS. In case some of you haven't noticed, for a very long time now, the Merkava tanks have had these mounts for Elbit's laser warning systems (ELAWS):

Spoiler

On the turret cheeks, right below the smoke grenade launchers

IDF-Merkava-Mk-4M-2016-Zachi-Evenor.jpg

 

But they've been empty for god knows how long. It's possible the IDF wants to replace them with something of similar size (new tanks are still built with these mounts), perhaps something that combines soft-kill or threat detection.

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13 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Again, the ATMOS is the architecture of the system. It's not the truck or the gun. They're using expansions based on the ATMOS architecture to create this new howitzer. The IDF will give it a new name, but it's obvious what Elbit is basing this on.

 

 

It will be another type of howitzer, not just a cannon on a truck - that's the point. Atmos itself is based on other howitzer too.

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

My personal guess is a replacement to the ELAWS. In case some of you haven't noticed, for a very long time now, the Merkava tanks have had these mounts for Elbit's laser warning systems (ELAWS):

  Reveal hidden contents

On the turret cheeks, right below the smoke grenade launchers

IDF-Merkava-Mk-4M-2016-Zachi-Evenor.jpg

 

 But they've been empty for god knows how long. It's possible the IDF wants to replace them with something of similar size (new tanks are still built with these mounts), perhaps something that combines soft-kill or threat detection.

 

Why would that be censored then?

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1 hour ago, VPZ said:

 

I mean turret and autoloader.

The turret and autoloader are not "different" because they haven't existed on previous versions. 

The original ATMOS used a loading assistance device that could hold 3 projectiles in place, and required manual loading of the propellant charge. 

Loading the charge and primer automatically does not make this an entirely new system. It's a rather minor addition when you look at the whole system. 

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17 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The original ATMOS used a loading assistance device that could hold 3 projectiles in place, and required manual loading of the propellant charge. 

 

 

Actually, there is a big difference between manually operated cannon on a truck and unmanned turret. 

 

Quote

Loading the charge and primer automatically does not make this an entirely new system. It's a rather minor addition when you look at the whole system. 

 

Then, there is no big difference between Atmos and M-71 - just some "minor additions".

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12 minutes ago, VPZ said:

 

Actually, there is a big difference between manually operated cannon on a truck and unmanned turret. 

 

There is a big difference in terms of capability. But a relatively small difference in the engineering aspect. The electronic architecture is always the most difficult part of an AFV to create, if you're making an AFV from scratch. 

As the ATMOS is basically the electronic architecture, and the sum of Elbit's products in sensory, data management, communications, and control, and its concept remains, they're allowed to call it the ATMOS even if they changed the cannon or loading system.

 

12 minutes ago, VPZ said:

 

Then, there is no big difference between Atmos and M-71 - just some "minor additions".

 

The M-71 never used any component of the ATMOS. 

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The electronic architecture is always the most difficult part of an AFV to create, if you're making an AFV from scratch. 

 

Electronic architecture of new howitzer must be changed.

 

1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The M-71 never used any component of the ATMOS. 

 

Atmos has similarities with M-71. IMO, it's based on M-71.

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18 minutes ago, VPZ said:

 

Electronic architecture of new howitzer must be changed.

 

In what way? And why?

 

18 minutes ago, VPZ said:

 

Atmos has similarities with M-71. IMO, it's based on M-71.

 

Except the ATMOS is using an L/52 gun, not an L/39. The M-71 is L/39. And the entire system is a sum of more than just the cannon. 

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