Merkava Mk.2

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The Merkava Mk.2 in Steel Beasts Professional

Merkava Mk.2: Main Battle Tank


Main gun: 105mm M68A1
Ammunition Stowage: 6 ready/56 stowed
Default Ammunition: 3/28 M111 APFSDS, 3/28 L35A3 HESH

Coaxial machine gun: 7.62mm MAG58 (M240)
Ammunition Stowage: 2000 ready/1000 stowed
Default Ammunition: 2000/1000 7.62mm NATO

AAMG: 7.62mm MAG58 (M240)
Ammunition Stowage: 200 ready/800 stowed
Default Ammunition: 200/800 7.62mm NATO

Mantlet mounted machine gun: M2 caliber .50 HMG
Ammunition Stowage: 200 ready/800 stowed
Default Ammunition: 200/800 7.62mm NATO

60mm Commando Mortar: HE Grenades
Ammunition Stowage: 1 ready/19 stowed
Default Ammunition: 1/19 HE Grenades

60mm Commando Mortar: Smoke Grenades
Ammunition Stowage: 0 ready/10 stowed
Default Ammunition: 0/10 Smoke Grenades

Armour protection:
Frontal Turret Armour: ~600mm vs KE, ~700mm vs HEAT
Frontal Hull Armour: ~600mm vs KE, ~700mm vs HEAT

Merkava Mk. II armor image, front-right

Combat Weight: 63 tonnes
Length: 7.45m
Width: 3.70m
Height: 2.65m (turret roof)
Engine Power: 908 hp AVDS-1790-5AR Diesel
Top Speed: 50kph


Introduced into service in April 1983, the Israeli-designed Merkava Mark II is an upgrade of the earlier Merkava Mark I based on experience gained during the 1982 Lebanon War. An outgrowth of Israel's desire for a domestically produced tank after Great Britain's 1969 decision not to sell Chieftain tanks to Israel, and lessons learned during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Merkava series were designed with an eye toward cost-effectiveness, crew survivability, ease of replenishment, rapid repair of battle damage, and off-road performance. Although initial design plans and prototypes were complete by 1974, full production would not begin until 1977, with the Merkava Mark I entering formal service in December 1978.

Basic armament consists of a fully stabilized 105mm M68A1 rifled tank gun backed by a coaxial 7.62mm MAG58 (M240) machine-gun, a second MAG at the loader's station, an externally mounted 60 mm breech-loaded Soltam Commando mortar fired by an operator partly from inside the hull, and a pintle mounted.50 cal M2HB machine-gun in front of the commander's hatch. Fire-control encompasses the Matador Mk 1 digital FCS designed by Elbit Computers Limited of Haifa and a ELOP Electro-Optics Industries laser range-finder which can be used by the commander or gunner. Various automatic sensors, a target angular velocity sensor, and turret cant angle indicator round out the basic package along with provisions for optional crosswind, atmospheric pressure, and ammunition temperature sensors, along with a muzzle reference system.

Motive power for the Mark I is provided by a 908hp Teledyne Continental (now L-3) AVDS 1790-5A V-12 diesel coupled with an Allison CD-850 2 speed power-glide transmission (effectively a simple upgrade of the M-60A3 powerpack). In an usual design choice for a MBT, the engine is front mounted, thereby increasing rough terrain performance and liberating a large volume of rear hull space for ammunition storage. The suspension features road wheel pairs mounted to external bogeys sprung with coil springs at each station similar to Horstmann coil spring type suspensions.

Compared to the Mark I, the modeled Mark II's weight and armament remained the same, but the 60mm mortar was relocated within the hull and configured for remote firing to eliminate crew exposure, increased fuel storage added, a new Renk (later licensed to Ashot Ashkelon) RK-304 - 4 speed automatic transmission fitted, and an improvement to flank armor protection with thicker side skirts and applique armor to the turret sides. Other modifications include anti-rocket netting (ball and chain) fitted around the bustles bottom edge for increased survivability against infantry equipped with anti-tank rockets. Additionally, many minor improvements were made to the fire-control system including updated meteorological sensors ( air temperature, atmospheric pressure, and crosswind) along with thermal and image intensification optics.

The Merkava's front engine design and large aft compartment allows the tank to be configured to carry a small number of troops, but doing so requires the removal the hull ammunition racks. This reduces the tank's stowed ammunition to only eleven rounds, but allows space for a dismount section of 6 men, carrying 6 (3) M136 (AT4) light anti-armor weapons and 5,56mm rifles.

The Merkava Mark II entered general service in 1983 with a total of 580 tanks produced. Continuing in active Israeli Army service through a series of upgrades, the Mark II entered reserve status in 2016, with some performing reserve/border protection duty and the majority being converted to heavy APCs.

Thermal Signature

Merkava Mk II TIS image, front-right Merkava Mk2 TIS image, rear-left


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