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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    

IDF set to equip a 3rd infantry brigade (Givati) with the Namer, having a first battalion operational in Q4 2018, and by 2020 the whole brigade will operationally use the Namer.

Just a pic for fun:




Nahal brigade, one of 5 main active infantry brigades, will receive soon the Eitan APC/IFV. It was unspecified when, but it's probably going to be 2018 or 2019. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Eitan and new years' update

It's been a while since news came about any major development in AFVs in Israel. We're kept in the dark for now, about the artillery project, which seems to be delayed until inspection by the MoD is finished regarding corruption allegations.


  • Costs half the price of a Namer.
  • Costs 1/10th the engine-time of a Namer.
  • Reached well over 100km/h on trials but may be limited to 60km/h in transportation mode as it's expected to drive on highways in emergency time rather than on HETs (Heavy Equipment Transporters). But the speed governor could also be removed when needed.
  • MANTAK will present this month its recommendations for an APS for the Eitan - Iron Fist or Trophy, a decision said to be worth hundreds of millions of shekels (Every Trophy system costs 1 million shekels roughly, which is 300,000 USD).
  • ERA as well as the passive composite armor are said to be sufficient against current threats.
  • 3 screens are located inside the vehicle - 2 large "21 screens for the commander and driver, and 1 smaller one by the rear door.
  • Engine could come from either MTU or Caterpillar.
  • Initial operation capability in 2019.

What this means

  • For now a total of 500 Namers are planned. Some in service and some in production, albeit slow one. For the same price as another 500 (originally the IDF wanted 800 or more), over 1000 Eitans could be acquired which makes them more open to auxiliary duties such as mortar carriage, repair and maintenance, recovery and more, where the Namer would be too expensive. And since these duties require no turret and no APS, it could cost even 1/3rd as much as the Namer.
  • Training a battalion worth of Namers would cost as much as 3 brigades of Eitans. Impressive savings, but these can be attributed probably to the fact the Namer's engine is the old AVDS-1790 which in its early iterations served the Patton tanks.
  • No comment here, other than it being odd that they just gave it a top speed of 90km/h at first when it could do well over that. Previously they gave it a governed speed of 50km/h I believe, which now changed to 60km/h. Perhaps some automotive improvements they didn't disclose.
  • This is a big one - we were promised way back in 2014 that RAFAEL and IMI will set aside their former rivalry in this exact topic but it seems now that the next generation of APS will no longer be a combination of both their systems, and rather would be another competition between the two. I don't know yet whether this is good or bad, but I do feel some disappointment.
  • When talking about the Eitan, the military officials and media always refer to just one incident - the Shujaiya (Gaza) rocket attack that killed 7 men in an M113 troops transporter. The rocket was an RPG-29 (PG-29V). So if the IDF claims the Eitan can, without an APS, resist the RPG-29, then by all means this is an impressive feat. Generous claims are for 600mm penetration after ERA, and 750mm without ERA, which is quite substantial.
  • Just like the Merkava 4, but unlike the Namer, the Eitan will have the BMS Tzayad (Hunter, marketed by Elbit as Torch) integrated into the main computer, laying everything on one screen in front of the commander. Though judging by the photos below alone, it's not yet obvious where the gunner's display is.
  • Which probably means that an electric or hybrid engine is now off the table. The available offerings right now are: C18 and 6V 890

And for the first time in ever, the IDF released some statistics on its acquisition this year. It's not much, actually not enough even, but it's something. 
The only two important bits are that the Merkava 4 and Namer are both produced at a rate of 30 vehicles per year, each. This makes sense for the Namer, which is due to have the 500th unit delivered by 2027, which means today there are ~200 units, but that's a really low number. At peak production, the plant could produce 120 Merkava tanks a year. And that was more than 30 years ago.
And that's it for today!
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Namer CEV (Combat Engineering Vehicle), also known in Hebrew as Namera, did its first exercise with the 7th brigade.


Unfortunately with only 30 units produced per year, of Namer in all variants, it's going to take a long while.


Meanwhile, here's footage of that exercise:




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10 minutes ago, Serge said:

Namera was the name of the ARV too, no ?

There was and still is a lot of confusion about it. First it was the name of the prototype, then the name of the ARV, and now the name of the CEV. But the ARV is no more.


Besides, Namera as a CEV does make sense for Hebrew speakers. It could stand for Namer Handasa (engineering).

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This is something I haven't discussed and frankly don't know the answer to:


Why do Merkava 4M tanks have mounts for the ELAWS but don't have anything mounted on them?

This custom predates the Merkava 4M actually. Many Merkava 4 tanks keep the mounts empty as well.

What I have noticed is that in its sole major deployment - the 2006 war in Lebanon, they all had it. And it did its job well. There were no complaints about it.

But afterwards, especially in exercises, I noticed they didn't bother mounting them. And they didn't put them on in the 2014 operation in Gaza.


So there are 2 questions:


1)Why remove the ELAWS if it was already bought in large quantities and had no issues?

2)Why keep the mounts in even brand new made tanks?


The Trophy probably nullifies the need for this system, so it doesn't make sense to keep making these mounts.


The tank you see here is just a little over a year old:



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Graduation video:







Part of a recent propaganda series to educate people on the role of the armored corps due to its decline in recent years. This time they show a live operational firing on 3 targets in a Hamas outpost. 

You can see them exiting the tank after firing and celebrating with the bunch, but that's just editing for the sake of smooth transitioning.





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Can't link videos from this site but I think it's a really neat video:



Officers' course cadets finishing their course with a combined arms exercise that includes the 460th instructional armor brigade (hence the absence of Trophy, though they are called into combat like everybody else).


And a few pics to make this post look a little prettier:





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31 minutes ago, Marsh said:

Just looking at a very small screen image, but that does look like a Merkava 3. If so, surprised that the 188th (Barak Brigade?) moved straight from the Shot to a later Merkava model.




The IDF is a very large military for Israel's population, as you know. Many brigades to feed with new tanks.

That is why Magach tanks were in service until 2014.


However what some dont know is that the IDF always keeps at least 1 active brigade with the oldest tank in the inventory. The 7th brigade only recently transitioned to the Mark 4M after using Mark 2, and now the 188th brigade is left with Mark 3.

This is done so that the tank crews wont have it too difficult when they make the transition to older tanks when they go in reserve. Going from a Mark 4 to a Mark 2 or Magach could be quite the shock. But a Mark 3 crewman downgrading to Mark 2 could quickly get used to it.


I think when the last Merkava 2 brigade will be transitioned, the 188th could finally upgrade to the Barak.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The 847th Armored Brigade gets the Merkava 4.


It was reported in January's issue of Yad La Shiryon, Israeli armor-centric magazine, that the 847th brigade will move on to the Merkava 4 tank.

Just a few points to consider:


  • This is the 2nd reserve armor brigade to receive the Merkava 4.
  • After this transfer is completed, it will become the 5th brigade to use the Merkava 4.
  • This will make it equal in numbers to the Merkava 3 in service.
  • Currently the armored corps is composed of 4 active brigades and 8 reserve.
  • 2 are equipped with Mark 2 tanks, 5 have Mark 3, and 5 will have the Mark 4 (after the transition).
  • The Mark 2 tanks are of unspecified type. The Mark 3 are split into 1 active brigade with the latest variant (Mark 3D Baz), 3 reserve with the Mark 3 Baz (without 4th gen armor), and 1 reserve with the original setup. The Mark 4 is split to 3 brigades with Mark 4M and 2 with Mark 4A/B.
  • The model at hand is the original Mark 4, not equipped with Trophy.
  • It is likely that they received ex-brigade 460th tanks (an instructional brigade), and the 460th brigade received new Trophy-equipped tanks instead.
  • The process has only started with 1 battalion out of 3 so far.


Okay so these were the facts we know. The 460th brigade (which doubles as instructional brigade) currently has 3 battalions dedicated to training crews for specific tanks (plus 2 battalions for specialized courses like TC or instructors). 1 of them is equipped with Merkava 3, to train recruits for the 188th active brigade, and 2 have Merkava 4 to train for the 7th and 401st brigades.

This means that for the 847th reserve brigade to be fully stocked with Merkava 4 tanks, they'll have to draw 1 battalion worth of tanks from an active brigade that uses the Mark 4A/B variants. These are practically non-existent other than in reserves.


So if we take previous claims that ALL new tanks and AFVs come out of production with APS, as hard facts, then it means that at least one battalion of that brigade will have Trophy APS. And that means that by the time the last battalion will have to make the switch, the Barak tank will have to be operational with at least 1 battalion already, something that might take 2-3 years from now.


Moving forward. Because the 847th brigade will have at least one battalion of Merkava 4M, they'll have to switch all other battalions to the same standard, to avoid using different doctrines and drills on the brigade level.


And what this means, is that there will be a rather absurd situation of having both the corp's most elite tank driving alongside the crumbling Merkava 2 tanks that really should be scrapped already.


Now let's speculate on what happens AFTER all that: Before the 847th brigade can complete its full transition, the first Barak units will have to enter service. My educated guess is, surprisingly, not the 188th brigade. Yes, they're using the oldest tank in active service, but also there are confirmed plans to equip these tanks with Trophy APS. If they really cared about the reserves getting APS ASAP, they would give the 847th brand new Mark 4M tanks. That means they want them in service there for at least a while longer. So that means Barak will go to the 401st brigade. The IDF's facilities, producing 30 Merkava 4M tanks a year, make a brigade within 3 years. So in 5 years we might see an operational Barak brigade. Their Mark 4M tanks will go to one of 2 remaining Merkava 2 brigades. And after that, another 3 years to probably replace the last Mark 2 brigade's tanks with those of the 188th Mark 3D Baz tanks, which will probably be dubbed Mark 3M. 
Ok Zuk, breathe... breathe...


So in 8 years from now the Mark 2 tanks will be completely phased out, the entire active part of the armored corps will have APS, and 2 reserve brigades will have APS.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some Mark 3D tanks in the Golan. But something interesting caught my eye, can't quite figure it out:



The tank on the very right sports the new panoramic sight, but also a strange object on its turret cheek. Some speculated it to be Trophy, but it's just nearly impossible to tell with that image quality. Can anyone with a good set of eyes try to identify it?


Just a note: The project to modernize a single active brigade of Mark 3 tanks with Trophy (among other things) was already funded, but no schedule was given other than a completion date of 2027 for a total of 1000 systems.

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