Israel’s Upgraded Merkava 4 MBT to be Equipped with Special Loitering Weapons Systems

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: One of the new weapon systems to be carried by the upgraded version of the Israeli made Merkava 4 main battle tank (MBT) will be the special loitering weapon systems developed by Israel.

The experience, the Israeli defence forces gained from the use of different types of loitering weapon systems brought the decision to equip the new version of the Merkava with this very advanced weapon system. Israeli sources said the tests with dedicated loitering weapon systems deployed on the new version of the tank will begin soon.

The Israeli ministry of defence plans to begin the series production of the upgraded version of the Merkava MBT before the end of the year. The first upgraded tanks will be delivered to the Israeli defence forces (IDF) at the end of the year.

Israeli defence sources say that the new tank will be capable of performing multiple missions in the fast evolving “war zone” that turns the MBT into a first priority target for the enemy.

Most of the new features that are being developed for the upgraded version, are highly classified. According to defence sources, the Merkava 4 “Barak” (Lightening) will be equipped with an improved Trophy APS system made by Rafael and a commander helmet that will prioritise the relevant data gathered by the tank’s own sensors and other in the battle area. The new version will also have a system that will automatically fire on targets that pose danger to the tank, like units that launch anti-tank missiles.

An advanced main computer will give the tank’s crew the ability to focus on the most relevant targets while sharing the data with other tanks and other units on the ground and in the air. Some of the new systems to be integrated into the “Barak” are based on the combat suit developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for an advanced armoured fighting vehicle. Others will be modified for the new version of the Merkava 4.

The “Iron Vision” commander helmet will have according the sources, 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.

Some of these systems were developed for an advanced armoured fighting vehicle while others are specifically  developed for the new version of the Merkava 4. According to the IDF, the tank crew will be able to use virtual reality (VR) simulation.