Tel Aviv: The first upgraded version of the Merkava 4 main battle tank were delivered to one of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) armoured corps operating on the Syrian border. The new version is dubbed “Barak” (Lightening) and is actually the fifth generation MBT made in Israel.
Defence sources say that the new version is equipped with an upgraded APS system and a commander helmet that prioritises the pertinent information acquired by the tank’s sensors, as well as other data in the battle zone.
The new version also has a system that automatically fire on targets that pose an immediate threat to the tank.
The tank’s crew has the ability to concentrate on the most important targets while sharing information with other tanks and other ground and aerial forces thanks to an upgraded primary computer.
Some of the new systems that have been integrated into the “Barak” are based on the combat suit developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These systems were developed for an advanced armoured fighting vehicle but some have been modified for the new version of the Merkava 4.
The “Iron Vision” commander helmet according the sources has the capability to get a 360 degrees view and as mentioned before combat data from the tanks; own sensors and others. The sources added that the system has the ability to locate and destroy time-sensitive targets with small footprints, through quick acquisition and effective engagement of targets.
The IDF General Staff has set up a team to investigate and monitor the fighting in Ukraine in order to learn the initial operational lessons. One conclusion is already supported by hard evidence- the Russian tanks are lagging behind in almost all aspects important in a war like the one fought in Ukraine.
The fighting in Ukraine highlighted the weaknesses of the basic tank in its ability to defend itself against anti-tank missiles of various types, the ability to communicate with forces in the environment and act together in a combined mission. This in addition to the lack of ability to operate when command and control systems do not operate in the face of electronic warfare.