Type 74 Main Battle Tank (Japan)

Type 74 Main Battle Tank (Japan)

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Type 74 Main Battle Tank (Japan)

In the 1960s, the Japanese realised that the Type 61 would not meet their requirements in the 1980s and so Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force began project definition studies into a new MBT in 1962. A design had been formulated by 1964 and to prove the basic concept, a number of test rigs were built and extensively tested between 1964 and 1967. The first two prototypes are constructed at the Maruko works of Mitsubishi heavy industries late in 1968 and completed by September 1969. These were designated the STB-1, and contained many features of other tanks under development at the time, for example, the hydropneumatic suspension system of the MBT-70, the hull of the Leopard 1, the British 105mm L7 series rifled gun as used on the Leopard 1, and the M60, Centurion and other MBTs of the period and a turret that was similar to that on the AMX-30. The STB-1 had an automatic loader for the British L7A1 gun, which was subsequently built under licence by the Japan Steel Works. This first prototype was followed by the S T been - a three in 1971, which had had the automatic loader removed as it proved too complex and too expensive. The turret had also been the slightly redesigned and deferred in shape with a much longer bustle. In actual fact, the first production contract was placed before the final prototype model, the STB-6, appeared in 1973. The tank was redesignated the Type 74 with the first production vehicle completed in September 1975 and by January 1980, some 225 had been built. Production has now been completed and there are 870 vehicles in service. The Type 74 is being supplemented by the Type 90 in Japanese service. The relatively long gestation period for this tank has meant that the unit costs have been relatively high and but it is a clear generation ahead of its predecessor.

The hull of the Type 74 is of all welded steel construction. The layout is conventional with the driver being seated at the front of a vehicle on the left side and has a single piece hatch as well as three JM17 Mod 2 periscopes that are mounted forward of the hatch, the centre one of which can be replaced by an infrared periscope. The turret is made of cast steel, with the commander and gunner seated on the right side and the loader on the left. The commander's cupola can be turned through 360 degrees of, has a single piece hatch and has a J3 infrared periscope sight with an integral laser rangefinder (with magnifications of x 1 and x 8) in its forward part. The commander also has another five periscopes to on either side and one to the rear. The gunner has a J2 infrared periscope sight (with magnifications of x 1 and x 8) in the roof of the turret, a ballistic computer and a telescope are linked to the main armament. The loader has a single piece hatch and a periscope mounted forward. The engine and transmission is mounted at the rear of the hull with the exhaust pipes and silencers are mounted on the running boards to the rear of the turret. The engine is a Mitsubishi 10ZF Type 22 WT 10-cylinder diesel (750hp) coupled to a Mitsubishi MT75 manual transmission. The suspension is of a hydropneumatic type and can be adjusted to suit the type of terrain being crossed. There are five dual rubber-tyred road wheels, drive sprocket at the rear and an idler at the front. Standard equipment includes infrared driving lights, an infrared searchlight to left of the main armament and an NBC system. The main armament consists of a 105mm rifled tank gun (based on the British Royal Ordnance L7 series and built under licence in Japan) which fires the standard range of ammunition. The Type 74's main armament was not fitted with a thermal sleeve initially, but a number of tanks are starting to receive them now. The gun has a drop block breach mechanism and a new concentric recoil mechanism to reduce the volume of the upper part of the down as well as the frontal area of the turret. A 7.62mm Type 74 machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main armament and a 12.7mm (0.5) Browning M2 HB machine gun is mounted on the turret forward of the commander's and loader's positions. Variants include the Type 78 Armoured Recovery Vehicle and Type 87 air defence system (twin 35mm cannon).

Hull length: 6.7m. Hull width: 3.18m. Height: 2.48m. Crew: 4. Ground Clearance: 0.2 to 0.65m. (adjustable) Weight: 38,000kg (combat) Ground pressure: 0.86kg/sq.cm Max speed: 53km/h. Max range (internal fuel): 400km on road. Armament: 105mm L7 series rifled gun, 1 x 7.62mm Type 74 machine gun mounted coaxially, 1 x 12.7mm (0.5) Browning M2 HB machine gun on turret roof.

Type 10 MBT

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/24/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Type 10 (TK-X) was developed under the project designation of "MBT-X" by the Japanese military establishment in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a replacement for the aged Type 74 and Type 90 main battle tanks currently in service. The Type 74 debuted in 1974 and has now served the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force for over 30 years while the Type 90 of 1990 had put in over 20 years of service of its own to date. The Type 74 remained on par with global types such as the American M60 Patton and the German Leopard I tanks but has since met its match on the modern battlefields. Similarly, the Type 90 has only been kept relevant by in-house modernization programs to help extend her battlefield worthiness for a while longer. The Type 10 is a wholly indigenous Japanese main battle tank fielding state-of-the-art technology that will extensively upgrade the armored reach of Japanese ground forces and help to level the playing field in a region which holds both a volatile North Korean regime and a strong, growing Chinese military influence. The prototype was not publically revealed until 2008 and production did not commence until 2010 with further examples expected to be delivered up until 2015 to which some 80 or so systems will be made operational. Some 13 of the type are expected to formally enter service in 2011 alone. Each unit is expected to cost the Japanese government $11.3 million USD to procure.

Design of the Type 10 hull is characterized by its five large road wheels per track side. The track idler is held at the front with the drive sprocket to the rear. Side armor skirting helps to protect the upper portions of the track for point defense. The forward hull is sharply angled along the lower shield and upper glacis plate. The driver maintains a center forward hull placement just under the gun mount. The sides of the hull are straight faced and the hull profile gets progressively taller towards the rear engine compartment. The turret is a bevy of sharp angles particularly along the forward side facings where it is tapered to a point. The turret sides are near-vertical more with angled panels found leading to the turret roof. The turret maintains a collection of vision and range finding equipment as well as the self-defensive weaponry. A communications antenna is set to the turret rear right side. The main gun is positioned in the exact middle of the turret component. Armor protection is said to be a mix of nano-crystal steel, lightweight and modular ceramic composite armor types and is modular to an extent. Her lines are not unlike those as found on the French LeClerc MBT or the German Leopard II series.

Armament is the heart and soul of any main battle tank and the Type 10 does not disappoint. Primary armament is by way of a 120mm L44 series smoothbore main gun with an automatic loader (reducing the crew to three personnel). The gun is manufactured locally by Japan Steel Work Ltd and can fire several different types of 120mm ammunition (Armor-Piercing and High-Explosive are expectedly standard offerings as is any NATO standard projectile). The automatic loader function is commonly associated with tanks of Soviet/Russian/Chinese design as opposed to those fielded by Western nations. While reducing the need for a dedicated loader crewman, automatic loaders are complicated mechanisms that require more manufacturing time. However, they can supply the tank with an excellent rate-of-fire without fatigued. Secondary armament is handled by a 12.7mm Browning M2HB heavy machine gun suitable for engaging low-flying aerial targets, soft-armored enemy vehicles or enemy infantry. The gun is mounted at the commander's hatch. A 7.62mm Type 74 general purpose machine gun is made available in a coaxial fitting for use by the gunner. Smoke grenade dischargers should figure into the final design mix at some point. The hydropneumatic active suspension system will help absorb the violent recoil forces when firing and an inherent gun stabilization system will allow for firing-on-the-move.

The Type 10 sports a weight of 40 tons, which is rather light for a battle tank of this class but does not detract from capabilities in any way. In fact, the lighter weight was a design requirement to make the Type 10 capable of transport on Japanese roads - something the heavier Type 90 MBT lacked. Power is supplied by a single 4-stroke, 8-cylinder diesel engine delivering up to 1,200 horsepower at 2,300rpm and tied to a continuous variable transmission system - this transmission system allowing for the same top speed to be reached when going in full reverse. Top speed is a listed 70kmh with strong cross-country performance. Modern crew "conveniences" should also include NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection and nightvision when all is said and done.

It can only be assumed that, if the Type 10 proves a success, her chassis will no doubt be utilized to upgrade other battlefield implements of the Japanese Army to help modernize roles such as that of bridgelayer and armored engineering vehicle.






Compatible Equipment

Compatible Consumables

Player Opinion

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent DPM, good penetration
  • Good gun depression which can be further improved with hydraulic suspensions
  • Good frontal turret armor
  • Great acceleration and agility, very good reverse speed
  • Large hitpoint pool
  • Accuracy can be finicky at range
  • Very poor side and rear armor
  • Frequent module and crew damage
  • Poor camouflage for a medium tank
  • Average top speed


The STB-1 is similar to the previous tanks in the line, with the exception that it now has much better turret armor than the tanks before it. It can reliably hull down unlike its predecessors due to a much needed increase in turret armor.

While the STB-1 no longer has the highest DPM the tier 10 medium tanks, having given up that spot to the K-91, it still remains a significant threat on the battlefield, with a blistering rate of fire rivalling that of the 100mm armed tier 10 Soviet mediums. The STB-1's excellent rate of fire combined with a reasonable 360 alpha damage allows the STB-1 to perma-track most opponents, allowing one to farm free damage at little to no risk to themselves. In addition to its excellent gun, in patch 1.5.1 the STB-1 recieved the hydropneumatic suspension system along with buffs to the turret armouring, allowing it to take advantage of almost any hull-down position. With its 14 degrees of gun depression when using its hydropneumatic suspension to the fullest, the STB-1 currently possesses the highest gun depression of any tier 10 tank, however one should keep in mind that the hydropneumatic suspension is only capable of tilting the tank's hull up and down and not side to side, meaning that when aiming to the sides you will only be able to use the 8 degrees of gun depression provided by the turret.

The tank itself is very small and as a result has a good camouflage factor and is also relatively mobile. While its camouflage and mobility are not on the levels of a Soviet medium such as the T-62A, they are still above average for their class. When exposing the STB-1 to enemy fire, one should keep in mind that the driver is often killed by penetrations to the front hull, and also that the ammorack sits beside the driver at the front of the tank as well.

However, while it is a menace at medium to close range when hull down, the STB-1 performs poorly at long range. With its relatively low shell velocity (1,185 m/s) and accuracy, hitting fast moving targets or weakpoints at long range is a challenge.

Last to note, while the turret is strong frontally, it has a relatively large cupola and is not impervious to high penetration premium rounds. While it can reliably bounce standard rounds from tier 10 medium tanks, premium rounds and tier 10 tank destroyers can pen the flatter parts of the turret face ocasionally if aimed carefully. Use your agility and rock back and forth to make your cupola and weaker areas of your turret harder to hit, and avoid relying on the turret armour to deflect a well aimed shot from a tier 10 tank destroyer.

Born Obsolete: Japan's Type 74 Tank Took 14 Years to Develop

Here were some of its shortcomings that caused it to be out-of-date.

As an island nation that hasn’t taken part in a major conflict since the Second World War, Japan developed a rather impressive main battle tank (MBT) with its Type 10. This is also notable as Japan produced what can only be described as exceptionally poor tanks during World War II.

During the Cold War the Japanese military developed new tanks, which were a serious step in the right direction from the underwhelming Type 97 “Chi-Ha” medium tanks, but still fell short of anything the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) might have faced in an invasion from the Soviet Union.

Among those was the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries produced Type 74, which was developed as supplement to the earlier Type 61. It features innovations from other tanks of the era including the American M60 and German Leopard 1, but the biggest problem was that while it was developed in the 1960s by the time it entered widespread use in the 1980s it was clearly a generation behind.

Development of the tank was slowed because the designers sought to introduce innovations that proved to be too complex. One of those was an autoloader, which proved to be unreliable for use in combat. A remote-controlled anti-aircraft gun was also designed, but eliminated by the time the Type 74 entered production. The turret shape, which was similar to the French AMX-30 turret, was also refined to accommodate the extra loader—a fact that further delayed the production.

The Type 74 tank’s main armament was the NATO standard British Royal Ordnance L7 105mm cannon, with the barrel produced under license while the mantlet, breech and recoil system were developed at Mitsubishi. The gun initially could only handle armor-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) and high explosive plastic (HEP) rounds, but it was later modified to fire armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) and high-explosive anti-tank multi-purpose (HEAT-EMP) rounds. A total of fifty rounds could be carried for the main run, with fourteen stored in the turret bustle and ready for use. Secondary armament consisted of a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun along with a 7.62 co-axial machine gun.

The Type 74 was powered by Mitsubishi 10ZF Model 22 air-cooled turbocharged diesel engine, developing 750 hp. This provided a top speed of just over 60 km/h, and the tank could be equipped with a snorkel to ford rivers to a depth of three to four meters.

Given that it took fourteen years to develop, it is not surprising that the Type 74 was essentially obsolete by the time it entered service. Some 893 of the tanks were produced, and while it was due to be replaced by the more modern Type 90, with the end of the Cold War the 700 Type 74s remained in service until at least 2006.

More recently the JGSDF has shifted gears and while the Type 90 and the newer Type 11 tanks remain in service, the country has focused more energy on its Type 16 Mobile Combat Systems (MCS), a more affordable anti-tank platform. Perhaps such a move should have been made while the Type 74 was in development.


The Hitomaru is powered by a water-cooled, four-cycle, eight cylinder diesel engine producing 1,200 hp through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox, propelling the 40-ton tank to a respectable 70 km/h (43.3 mph). The CVT gearbox allows the tank to go just as fast backward, as it does forwards, allowing for rapid changes in position. The baseline weight of the tank is 40 tons, with full armor and weapons loadout this can climb to 48 tons.

The Type 10 showing off its hydropneumatic suspension
A feature carried over from both the Type 74 and Type 90 is the Hydropneumatic Active Suspension. This is seen as a ‘must-have’ feature by Japanese strategic heads, given the Japanese countryside’s mountainous terrain. The suspension allows the tank to ride higher or lower depending on the terrain type, tilt left or right, or raise and lower the front or rear of the tank. This increases the elevation or depression angle of the gun, giving the ability to fire over a ridge line without presenting a target for an enemy vehicle.
This suspension also has another use. A bulldozer blade can be mounted on the bow of the vehicle. When the front of the tank is fully depressed, this blade serves as a way to clear out debris from a firing position or help to carve out a new one.
A similar system was incorporated on the Swedish Strv. 103, or S-Tank.


During the late 1960s, the Israeli Army began collaborating on design notes for the Chieftain tank which had originally been introduced to British Army service, [8] with a view to Israel purchasing and domestically producing the vehicle. Two prototypes were delivered as part of a four-year trial. [9] However, it was eventually decided not to sell the marque to the Israelis (since, at that period of time in the late 1960s, the UK was more friendly towards the Arab states and Jordan than to Israel), [10] which prompted them to follow their own development programme. [11]

Israel Tal, who was serving as a brigade commander after the Suez Crisis, restarted plans to produce an Israeli-made tank, drawing on lessons from the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israeli forces were outnumbered by those of the Middle East's Arab nations. [12]

By 1974, initial designs were completed and prototypes were built. After a brief set of trials, work began to retool the Tel HaShomer ordnance depot for full-time development and construction. After the new facilities were completed, the Merkava was announced to the public in the International Defense Review periodical. The first official images of the tank were then released to the American periodical Armed Forces Journal on May 4, 1977. The IDF officially adopted the tank in December 1979.

The lead organization for system integration of the Merkava's main components is Israel Military Industries (IMI). The Israeli Ordnance Corps are responsible for final Merkava assembly. More than 90% of the Merkava 4 tank's components are produced locally in Israel by Israeli defense industries. [13] Contributors to the vehicle include:

    manufactures the 105 mm and 120 mm main guns and their ammunition
  • TGL SP Industries LTD develop and production of the road wheels.
  • Urdan Industries assembles and constructs the hull, drive- and powertrains, and turret assemblies manufactures the 60 mm internal mortar designs and manufactures the electronic sensors and infrared optics delivers the ballistics computer, fire-control system (FCS) and electric turret and gun control system [14] provides cabin air conditioning, crew cabin intercom and radio equipment , Elisra and Astronautics implement the optics and laser warning systems builds and installs the Rafael Overhead Weapon Station and Trophy active protection system produces licensed copies of Germany's MTU MT883 1500 hp diesel engine powerplant and RENK RK325 transmissions supplies Tadiran communication encryption systems supplies the Nomex, ballistic, and fire-retardant materials used by Hagor
  • Russia Military Industries helped to design the KMT-4 & -5 anti-mine rollers and the ABK-3 dozer blade, now built by Urdan supplies 7.62 mm (MAG 58) and 12.7 mm (M2) coaxial and pintle-mounted machine guns assisted with an Israeli-designed track system.
  • Bental Industries, a TAT Technologies subsidiary, produced the brushless motors used in the Mark IV's turret and gun control system. [15]

Firepower Edit

The Merkava Mark I and II were armed with a 105 mm M64 gun, a license built variant of the M68. The Mark III, Mark III Dor Dalet BAZ kassag, and the Mark IV are armed with an IMI 120 mm smoothbore gun which can fire all versions of Western 120 mm smooth bore tank ammunition.

Each model of the Merkava has two roof mounted 7.62 mm machine guns for use by the commander and loader and another mounted co-axially with the main gun. A 60 mm mortar is also fitted for firing smoke rounds or suppressing dug-in infantry anti-tank teams.

All Merkava tanks are fitted with a remote-controlled M2 Browning .50 heavy machine gun, aligned with the main gun and controlled from within the turret. The .50 machine gun has proven to be useful and effective in asymmetric warfare.

Mobility Edit

The tank's 1,500 horsepower turbocharged diesel engine was designed by MTU and is manufactured under license by L-3 Communication Combat Propulsion Systems (formerly General Dynamics). The Mark IV's top road speed is 64 km/h. [ citation needed ]

Merkava Mark I Edit

The Mark I, operational since 1978, is the original design created as a result of Israel Tal's decision, and was fabricated and designed for mass production. The Mark I weighed 63 tonnes and had a 900 horsepower (670 kW) diesel engine, with a power-to-weight ratio of 14 hp/ton. It was armed with the 105 millimeter M64 L71A main gun (a licensed copy of the British Royal Ordnance L7), two 7.62 mm machine guns for anti-infantry defense, [16] and a 60 mm mortar mounted externally, with the mortar operator not completely protected by the tank's hull.

The general design borrows the tracks and road wheels from the British Centurion tank, which had seen extensive use during the Yom Kippur war and performed well in the rocky terrain of the Golan.

The Merkava was first used in combat during the 1982 Lebanon War, where Israel deployed 180 units. Although they were a success, the M113 APCs that accompanied them were found to have several defects and were withdrawn. Merkavas were converted into makeshift APCs or armored ambulances by taking out the palleted ammunition racks in storage. Ten soldiers or walking wounded could enter and exit through the rear door.

After the war, many adjustments and additions were noted and designed, the most important being that the 60 mm mortar needed to be installed within the hull and engineered for remote firing—a valuable feature that the Israelis had initially encountered on their Centurion Mk3s with their 2" Mk.III mortar. [17] A shot trap was found beneath the rear of the turret bustle, where a well-placed shot could jam the turret completely. The installation of chain netting to disperse and destroy rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank rockets before impacting the primary armor increased survivability.

Merkava Mark II Edit

The Mark II was first introduced into general service in April 1983. While fundamentally the same as the Merkava Mark I, it incorporated numerous small adjustments as a result of the previous year's incursion into Lebanon. The new tank was optimized for urban warfare and low intensity conflicts, with a weight and engine no greater than the Mark I. [18]

The Mark II used the same 105 mm main gun and 7.62 mm machine guns as the Mark I, but the 60 mm mortar was redesigned during construction to be located within the hull and configured for remote firing to remove the need to expose the operator to enemy small-arms fire. An Israeli-designed automatic transmission and increased fuel storage for increased range was installed on all further Mark IIs. Anti-rocket netting was fitted for increased survivability against infantry equipped with anti-tank rockets. Many minor improvements were made to the fire-control system. Updated meteorological sensors, crosswind analyzers, and thermographic optics and image intensifiers gave greater visibility and battlefield awareness.

Newer versions of the original Mark II were designated:

  • Mark IIB, with thermal optics [citation needed] and unspecified updates to the fire control system.
  • Mark IIC, with more armor on the top of the turret to improve protection against attack from the air.
  • Mark IID, with modular composite armor on the chassis and turret, allowing rapid replacement of damaged armor.

In 2015 the IDF had begun a plan to take the old models out of storage and repurpose them as heavy armored personnel carriers. Cannons, turrets, and spaces used to store tank shells inside the hull were removed to create a personnel carrier that outperforms the lighter M113 APC. Converting hundreds of Mark II chassis provides a low-cost way to upgrade support units' capabilities to perform medical, logistical, and rescue missions. [19] By late 2016, after 33 years of service, the last conscripted brigade to operate Merkava IIs was scheduled to transition to Merkava III and Merkava IV tanks for battlefield missions, relegating the vehicles to reserve forces for border patrols during conflicts and conversion to personnel carriers. [20]

Merkava Mark III Edit

The Merkava Mark III was introduced in December 1989 and was in production until 2003. As of 2016, the Merkava III is by far the most numerous tank in frontline IDF service. Compared to the Merkava II, it has upgrades to the drivetrain, powertrain, armament, and electronic systems. The most prominent addition was the incorporation of the locally developed IMI 120 mm gun. [21] This gun and a larger 1,200 horsepower (890 kW) diesel engine increased the total weight of the tank to 65 tonnes (143,000 lb), but the larger engine increased the maximum cruising speed to 60 km/h (37 mph). [22]

The turret was re-engineered for movement independent of the tank chassis, allowing it to track a target regardless of the tank's movement. Many other changes were made, including:

  • External two-way telephone for secure communications between the tank crew and dismounted infantry,
  • Upgraded ammunition storage containers to minimize ammunition cook-off,
  • Addition of laser designators,
  • Incorporation of the Kasag modular armor system, designed for rapid replacement and repair in the battlefield and for quick upgrading as new designs and sophisticated materials become available,

BAZ System Edit

The 1995 Mark III BAZ (Hebrew acronym for ברק זוהר, Barak Zoher, signifying Shining Lightning [23] ) had a number of updates and additional systems including:

    protection systems,
  • Locally developed central air-conditioning system,
  • Added improvements in ballistic protection,
  • The Mark IIID has removable modular composite armor on the chassis and turret.

Dor-Dalet Edit

The last generation of the Mark III class was the Mark IIID Dor-Dalet (Hebrew: Fourth Generation), which included several components as prototypes to be introduced in the Mark IV.

  • Upgraded and strengthened tracks (built by Caterpillar, designed in Israel),
  • Installation of the R-OWS.
  • Independant, fully stabilised, panoramic commander's sights allowing "hunter-killer" capability [24]
  • Advanced thermal imagers for both gunner and commander. [25]

Merkava Mark IV Edit

The Mark IV is the most recent variant of the Merkava tank, which has been in development since 1999 and production since 2004. The upgrade's development was announced in an October 1999 edition of the military publication Bamachaneh ("At the Camp"). However, the Merkava Mark III remained in production until 2003. The first Merkava IVs were in production in limited numbers by the end of 2004. [26] [27]

Removable modular armor, from the Merkava Mark IIID, is used on all sides, including the top and a V-shaped belly armor pack for the underside. This modular system is designed to allow damaged tanks to be rapidly repaired and returned to the field. Because rear armor is thinner, chains with iron balls are attached to detonate projectiles before they hit the main armored hull. [7]

It is the first contemporary tank without a loader's hatch in the turret roof, because any aperture in the turret roof increases risk of penetration by ATGMs. [28] Tank rounds are stored in individual fire-proof canisters, which reduce the chance of cookoffs in a fire inside the tank. The turret is electrically-powered (hydraulic turrets use flammable liquid that ignites if the turret is penetrated) [29] and "dry": no active rounds are stored in it.

Some features, such as hull shaping, exterior non-reflective paints (radar cross-section reduction), and shielding for engine heat plumes mixing with air particles (reduced infrared signature) to confuse enemy thermal imagers, were carried over from the IAI Lavi program of the Israeli Air Force to make the tank harder to spot by heat sensors and radar.

The Mark IV includes the larger 120 mm main gun of the previous versions, but can fire a wider variety of ammunition, including HEAT and sabot rounds like the Armor Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot(APFSDS) kinetic energy penetrator, using an electrical semi-automatic revolving magazine for 10 rounds. It also includes a much larger 12.7 mm machine gun for anti-vehicle operations (most commonly used against technicals). [30]

The Mark IV has the Israeli-designed "TSAWS (Tracks, Springs, and Wheels System)" caterpillar track system, called "Mazkom" (Hebrew: מערכת זחלים קפיצים ומרכובים, מזקו"ם ‎) by troops. This system is designed to reduce track-shedding under the harsh basalt rock conditions of Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

The model has a new fire-control system, the El-Op Knight Mark 4. An Amcoram LWS-2 laser warning receiver notifies the crew of threats like laser-guided anti-tank missiles, [31] which can fire smoke grenade launchers to obscure the tank from the laser beam. [28] Electromagnetic warning against radar illumination is also installed. [28]

The tank carries the Israeli Elbit Systems BMS (Battle Management System Hebrew: צי"ד), a centralised system that takes data from tracked units and UAVs in theater, displays it on color screens, and distributes it in encrypted form to all other units equipped with BMS in a given theater.

The Merkava IV has been designed for rapid repair and fast replacement of damaged armour, with modular armour that can be easily removed and replaced. It is also designed to be cost-effective in production and maintenance its cost is lower than that of a number of other tanks used by Western armies. [27]

The tank has a high performance air conditioning system and can even be fitted with a toilet for long duration missions. [7]

Mark IVm (Mk 4M) Windbreaker Edit

The Merkava Mark IVm (Mk 4M) Windbreaker is a Merkava Mark IV equipped with the Trophy active protection system (APS), designated "Meil Ruach" (Hebrew: מעיל רוח ‎ "Windbreaker" or "Wind Coat"). The serial production of Mark IVm tanks started in 2009 and the first whole brigade of Mark IVms was declared operational in 2011. The Trophy APS successfully intercepted rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, including 9M133 Kornets, fired by Hamas before and during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. [32]

Iron Vision helmet-mounted display system Edit

The IDF was to begin trials of Elbit's Iron Vision, the world's first helmet-mounted display for tanks, in mid-2017. Israel's Elbit, which developed the helmet-mounted display system for the F-35, plans Iron Vision to use a circular review system as a number of externally mounted cameras to project the 360° view of a tank's surroundings onto the helmet-mounted display of its crew members. This allows the crew members to see outside the tank while staying inside, without having to open the hatches. [33]

Specifications of models Edit

Merkava Mark I Merkava Mark II Merkava Mark III Merkava Mark IV
Service history
In active service 1979–2014 1983–2020 1990– 2004–
Used by Israel Defense Forces
Wars 1982 Lebanon War, First Intifada, South Lebanon Conflict, Second Intifada, 2006 Lebanon War South Lebanon Conflict, First Intifada, Second Intifada, 2006 Lebanon War, Gaza War South Lebanon conflict, Second Intifada, 2006 Lebanon War, Gaza War, 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Operation Protective Edge 2006 Lebanon War, Gaza War, 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Operation Protective Edge
Production history
Designer MANTAK (Merkava Tank Office)
Manufacturer MANTAK (Merkava Tank Office)
Produced 1979–83 1983–89 1990–2002 2003–
Number built 250 580 780 360
Weight 61 tonnes 62 tonnes 63.5 tonnes 65 tonnes
Length rear to muzzle: 8.30 m (27 ft 3 in)
without gun: 7.45 m (24 ft 5 in)
rear to muzzle: 9.04 m (29 ft 8 in)
without gun: 7.60 m (24 ft 11 in)
Width 3.70 m (12 ft 2 in) (without skirts) 3.72 m (12 ft 2 in) (without skirts)
Height 2.65 m (8.7 ft) (turret roof) 2.66 m (8.7 ft) (turret roof)
Crew 4 (tank commander, driver, gunner, loader). May carry infantry as passengers.
Armor Cast and welded steel, in a spaced configuration Cast and welded steel, in a spaced configuration with composite add-on armor on the turret sides Steel frame with modular composite armor.
Primary armament 105 mm (4.1 in) M64 L71A rifled tank gun 120 mm (4.7 in) MG251 smoothbore tank gun 120 mm (4.7 in) MG253 smoothbore tank gun
Ammunition capacity 53 to 62 rounds, 6 per container 46 rounds, 5 ready in a mechanical drum 48 rounds, 10 ready in an electrical drum
Secondary armament 2-3 × FN MAG58
1 × 60 mm externally-mounted Soltam mortar
12 smoke grenades launchers
2-3 × FN MAG58
1 × 60 mm internally-mounted Soltam mortar
12 smoke grenades launchers
Engine Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-6A 908 hp (677 kW) V12 air-cooled diesel engine Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-7A 950 hp (708 kW) V12 air-cooled diesel engine Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-9AR 1,200 hp (895 kW) V12 air-cooled diesel General Dynamics GD883 (MTU883) 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) V12 water-cooled diesel
Transmission Allison CD850-6BX (2 fwd / 1 rev) Renk RK 304 (4 fwd / 4 rev) Renk RK 325 [34] (5 fwd / 2 rev)
acceleration 0–32 km/h 15 sec 13 sec 10 sec [35] <10 sec
Power / weight 14.8 hp/ton 15.3 hp/ton 18.8 hp/ton 23 hp/ton
Suspension type vertical double coil spring vertical coil spring with rotary coil spring
Total vertical wheel travel 295–380 mm 600 mm
Ground clearance 0.53 m (1 ft 9 in) 0.45 m (1 ft 6 in)
Fuel capacity 900 litres 1,100 litres 1,400 litres
Operational range 400–500 km (250–310 mi) 500 km (310 mi)
Maximum road speed 46 km/h (29 mph) [36] 55 km/h (34 mph) 60 km/h (37 mph) 64 km/h (40 mph)

The Merkava has participated in the following actions.

1982 Lebanon War Edit

The Merkava was used widely during the 1982 Lebanon War. The tank outperformed contemporary Syrian tanks (mostly T-62s) and proved largely immune to the anti-tank weapons of the time (the AT-3 Sagger and RPG-7) that were used against it. It was judged to be a significant improvement over Israel's previously most effective main battle tank, the Centurion. [37] Israel lost dozens of tanks during the conflict, including a number of Merkavas. [38]

Second Intifada Edit

In February 2002, a Merkava III was destroyed by a roadside bomb near Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. The tank was lured into intervening in an attack on a settler convoy. The tank went over a heavy mine (estimated 100 kg TNT), which detonated and totally destroyed the tank. Four soldiers were killed in the blast. This was the first main battle tank to be destroyed during the Second Intifada. [39] A second Israeli tank, a Merkava II or Merkava III, was destroyed a month later in the same area and a further three soldiers were killed. A third Merkava II or III tank was destroyed near the Kissufim Crossing, when one soldier was killed and two wounded. [40]

2006 Lebanon War Edit

During the 2006 Lebanon War, 5 Merkava tanks were destroyed. [41] Most of the tanks engaged were Merkava IIIs and earlier versions only a few of the tanks used during the war were Merkava Mark IVs since by 2006 they had still only entered service in limited numbers. Hezbollah fired over 1,000 anti-tank missiles during the conflict against both tanks and dismounted infantry. [42] Some 45 percent of all tanks and armoured vehicles hit with antitank missiles during the conflict suffered some form of armour penetration. [42] In total, 15 tank crewmen were killed by these ATGM penetrations. [43] The penetrations were caused by tandem warhead missiles. Hezbollah weaponry was believed to include advanced Russian RPG-29 'Vampir', AT-5 'Konkurs', AT-13 'Metis-M', and laser-guided AT-14 'Kornet' [44] HEAT missiles. The IDF reported finding the state-of-the-art Kornet ATGMs on Hezbollah positions in the village of Ghandouriyeh. [45] Several months after the cease-fire, reports have provided detailed photographic evidence that Kornet ATGMs were indeed both in possession of, and used by, Hezbollah in this area. [46] [47] Another Merkava IV tank crewman was killed when a tank ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). This tank had additional V-shaped underside armor, limiting casualties to just one of the seven personnel (four crewmen and three infantrymen) on board. In total, five Merkava tanks (two Merkava IIs, one Merkava III, and two Merkava IVs) were destroyed. [42] Of these two Merkava Mark IVs, one was damaged by a powerful IED, and the other being destroyed by a Russian AT-14 'Kornet' missiles. The Israeli military said that it was satisfied with the Merkava Mark IV's performance, and attributed problems to insufficient training before the war. [48] [49] In total, 50 Merkava tanks (predominantly Merkava IIs and IIIs) were hit, eight of which remained serviceable on the battlefield. 21 tanks suffered armour penetrations (15 from missiles, and 6 from IEDs and anti-tank mines). [42]

After the 2006 war, and as the IDF becomes increasingly involved in unconventional and guerrilla warfare, some analysts say the Merkava is too vulnerable to advanced anti-tank missiles, that in their man-portable types can be fielded by guerrilla warfare opponents. [50] [51] Other post-war analysts, including David Eshel, disagree, arguing that reports of losses to Merkavas were overstated and that "summing up the performance of Merkava tanks, especially the latest version Merkava Mark IV, most tank crews agree that, in spite of the losses sustained and some major flaws in tactical conduct, the tank proved its mettle in its first high-saturation combat." [52] On a comparison done by the armor corps newsletter, it was shown that the average number of crewmen killed per tank penetrated by missile/rocket was reduced from 2 during the Yom Kippur War to 1.5 during the 1982 Lebanon War to 1 during the 2006 Lebanon War proving how, even in the face of the improvement in anti-tank weaponry, the Merkava series tanks provide increasingly better protection to its crew. The IDF wanted to increase orders of new Merkava Mark IV tanks, and planned to add the Trophy active defense system to Merkava Mark IV tanks, and to increase joint training between crews and Israeli antitank soldiers. [53] [54]

Operation Cast Lead Edit

The Merkava IV was used more extensively during the Gaza War, as it had been received by the IDF in increasing numbers since 2006, replacing more of the Merkava II and III versions of the tank that were in service. One brigade of Merkava IVs managed to bisect the Gaza strip in five hours without Israeli casualties. The commander of the brigade stated that battlefield tactics had been greatly revised since 2006. Tactics had also been modified to focus on asymmetric or guerilla war threats, in addition to the conventional war scenarios that the Merkava had primarily been designed to combat. [55]

The IDF also deployed the Merkava II and III during the war. [56]

Gaza Border areas Edit

By October 2010, the IDF had begun to equip the first Merkava IVs with the Trophy active protection system, to improve the tanks' protection against advanced anti-tank missiles which use tandem-charge HEAT warheads. [57] [58] Added protection systems included an Elbit laser-warning system and IMI in-built smoke-screen grenades. [26]

In December 2010, Hamas fired an AT-14 Kornet anti-tank missile at a Merkava Mark III tank stationed on the Israel-Gaza border near Al-Bureij. It had hitherto not been suspected that Hamas possessed such an advanced missile. The missile penetrated the tank's armour, but caused no injuries among its crew. As a result of the attack, Israel decided to deploy its first Merkava Mark IV battalion equipped with the Trophy system along the Gaza border. [59]

On March 1, 2011, a Merkava MK IV stationed near the Gaza border, equipped with the Trophy active protection system, successfully foiled a missile attack against it, marking the system's first operational success. [60]

Operation Protective Edge 2014 Edit

No tanks were damaged during Operation Protective Edge. The Merkava Mk. IVm (Merkava Mk 4M) tanks, fitted with the Trophy Active Protection system, intercepted anti-tank missiles and RPGs on dozens of different occasions during the ground operation. [61] During the operation, the system intercepted anti-tank weapons, primarily Kornet, as well as Metis-M and RPG-29, proving itself effective against man-portable anti-tank weapons. [62] By identifying the source of fire, Trophy also allowed tanks to kill the Hamas anti-tank team on one occasion. [62]

Giora Katz, head of Rafael's land division, stated that it was a "breakthrough because it is the first time in military history where an active defense system has proven itself in intense fighting." [63]

The 401st Brigade (equipped with Merkava Mk. IVm tanks) alone killed between 120 and 130 Hamas militants during the ground fighting phase of Operation Protective Edge, according to the IDF. [64]

In May 2012, Israel offered procurement of Merkava IV tanks to the Colombian Army. The sale would include 25–40 tanks at an approximate cost of $4.5 million each, [3] as well as a number of Namer APCs. With the threat of the expanding Venezuelan military, it would strengthen Colombian armored forces against Venezuelan T-72 tanks. [65] [66]

In 2014, Israel reported that exports of the Mk. 4 had started the purchasing country's name was not disclosed for security reasons. [67]

Following the Second Intifada the Israel Defense Forces modified some of their Merkavas to satisfy the needs of urban warfare.

Merkava LIC Edit

These are Merkava Mark III BAZ or Mark IV tanks, converted for urban warfare. The LIC designation stands for "Low intensity conflict", underlining its emphasis on counter-insurgency, street-to-street inner-city asymmetrical type warfare of the 21st century. [68]

The Merkava is equipped with a turret 12.7 mm caliber coaxial machine gun, which enables the crew to lay down fairly heavy cover fire without using the main gun (which is relatively ineffective against individual enemy combatants). Like the new remote-operated weapon station, the coaxial machine-gun is fired from inside the tank without exposing the crew to small-arms fire and snipers.

The most sensitive areas of a tank, its optics, exhaust ports and ventilators, are all protected by a newly developed high-strength metal mesh to prevent explosive charges being planted there. [68]

Rubber whip pole-markers with LED tips and a driver's rear-facing camera have been installed to improve navigation and maneuverability in an urban environment by day or by night.

Merkava Tankbulance Edit

Some Merkava tanks are fitted with full medical and ambulance capabilities while retaining their armament (but carrying less ammunition than the standard tank). The cabin area is converted for carrying injured personnel and includes two stretchers and life support medical station systems supplemented by a full medical team complement to operate under combat conditions with a Merkava battalion. The vehicle has a rear door to facilitate evacuation under fire, and can provide cover-fire/fire-support to infantry.

The "tankbulance" is not an unarmed ambulance and consequently is not protected by the Geneva Conventions provisions regarding ambulances, but it is far less vulnerable to accidental or deliberate fire than an ambulance or armored personnel carrier.

Merkava IFV Namer Edit

Namer (Hebrew: leopard, which is also an abbreviation of "Nagmash (APC) Merkava"), is an infantry fighting vehicle based on the Merkava Mark IV chassis. In service since 2008, the vehicle was initially called Nemmera (Hebrew: leopardess), but later renamed to Namer. [ citation needed ]

Namer is equipped with a Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) armed with either a .50 M2 Browning Heavy Machinegun or a Mk 19 Automatic Grenade Launcher. It also has a 7.62 mm MAG machine gun, 60 mm mortar and smoke grenades. Like the Merkava Mark IV, it is optimized for high level of crew survival on the battlefield. The Namer has a three-man crew (commander, driver, and RCWS gunner) and may carry up to nine infantrymen and a stretcher. An ambulance variant can carry two casualties on stretchers and medical equipment. [ citation needed ]

The Golani Brigade used two Namer IFVs during Operation Cast Lead. During Operation Protective Edge more than 20 vehicles were operated with great success and post operation analysis recommended procuring more of them. [ citation needed ]

Merkava ARV Nemmera Edit

The Merkava armored recovery vehicle initially called Namer (Hebrew: leopard), but subsequently renamed Nemmera (Hebrew: leopardess) is an armored recovery vehicle based on a Merkava Mark III or IV chassis. It can tow disabled tanks and carries a complete Merkava back-up power pack that can be changed in the field in under 90 minutes.

There are two versions of Nemmera: the heavier equipped with a 42 ton-meter crane and a 35 ton-meter winch, and the smaller equipped with a smaller crane.

Merkava Howitzer Sholef Edit

Two prototypes of Sholef ("Slammer", Hebrew slang for "Gunslinger") 155 mm self-propelled howitzer with an automatic loading system were built by Soltam in 1984–1986. The 45-ton vehicle had a long 155 mm gun barrel giving a range of 45+ km. Using GPS, inertial navigation, and an internal fire control computer, it was also capable of direct fire while on the move. It never entered production. [69]

The Slammer is a heavily armored artillery gun mounted on a modified Merkava Mk 1 chassis. Many of these vehicles are Merkava Mk 1 that were retired after the Merkava Mk 2 and Merkava Mk 3 came into service. The Slammer has a long 52-caliber gun barrel that allows +10% range. Reload speed may be decreased to 1 for one minute every 10 minutes through use of an automatic loader. Ammunition racks are large. The Slammer is ready for autonomous operation (without an FDC) if the target's location is known within 15 seconds of a halt, using GPS, inertial navigation, and an internal fire control computer.

The Slammer 155 mm self-propelled howitzer is based on a modified Merkava MBT chassis fitted with a new welded steel turret, designed by Soltam Systems.

Development commenced in the 1970s. The project was considered of high national priority and incorporated the newest technological developments. Instead the Israeli Defense Forces selected an upgraded version of American M109 howitzer.

The Sholef's chassis, aside from a few minor modifications, is identical to that of the Merkava Mk.III. The glacis plate is unchanged, except for the addition of a support bracket for the gun turret, which is folded down when not in use. As such, the Sholef and Merkava series share a large percentage of common components. The front-left side of the chassis has a prominent exhaust louver, along with a much smaller port just in front of it the exact function of this port is uncertain, though the soot seen around it in photos of the Sholef suggests it may be a new or additional exhaust port, or perhaps an outlet for a smoke generator.

The Sholef can be ready to fire only 15 seconds after coming to a complete stop, and fire three projectiles in only 15 seconds. It is compatible with standard NATO 155 mm ammunition, and a total of 75 projectiles can be stowed in one Sholef, 60 of which are ready for combat.

The Sholef's 155mm/52 gun is an original design created by Soltam, though it bears a resemblance to South Africa's G5 Howitzer. It has a fume extractor and muzzle brake, and is kept stationary by a travel lock while the vehicle is on the move. This gun has a maximum rate of fire of 9 rounds/min, and a range in excess of 40,000 m when firing an ERFB-BB round. Though loaded automatically, the gun may be cycled and fire manually if the need arises. While the gun is normally carried by a travel lock as with most other self-propelled howitzers while the Sholef is on the move, the weapon is stabilized and can actually be used for direct-fire while the vehicle is moving, giving it much greater self-defense capability than most other vehicles of its type.

A crew of four is required to fully operate the Sholef. Air conditioning and heating for the crew are provided, as is a ration heater.

The hull has the same ballistic protection as the Merkava Mk.III. The armor on the turret is sufficient to defeat small arms fire, shell splinters, blast overpressure, and most heavy machine gun rounds. The armor is augmented by spall liners, and the same overpressure NBC system as the Merkava Mk.III is fitted. There is also a back-up collective NBC system.

The running gear consists of six unevenly spaced rubber-tired roadwheels on each side, and five return rollers, the second from the rear of which is noticeably larger than the others. The drive sprocket is forward, and the conspicuously spoked idler is rear. These may be partially obscured by track skirts, of which the Merkava Mk.III has ten panels, with a wavering underside, and little coverage of the sprocket or idler.

The ordnance is fitted with a fume extractor and a double-baffle muzzle brake. When travelling, the ordnance is held in position by a travel lock that is mounted on the forward part of the glacis plate and this is remotely operated from the crew compartment.

Firing an ERFB-BB projectile, the 155 mm 52 calibre ordnance has a maximum range of 40,000+ m.

The 155 mm 52 calibre ordnance and recoil system is of the companies well-proven type already used in its towed weapons. The breech block assembly is of the semi-automatic wedge type that contains an automatic primer feeding system that enables manual reloading of the primer without opening the breech. Turret traverse and weapon elevation is hydraulic, with manual controls for emergency use.

A maximum rate of fire of 9 rds/min can be achieved due to the automatic computerised loading system, and a burst rate of fire of three rounds in 15 seconds.

The high rate of fire can be achieved using the onboard ammunition supply or from ground-piled ammunition. The loading cycle is operated by two turret crewmen only, with the commander operating the computer and charge loader.

The automatic loader has five main subsystems: projectile storage system projectile transfer system loading tray with flick rammer charge loading tray and elevator for external charge supply and projectile elevator for reloading the external storage or directly loading the gun.

The internal projectile storage contains 60 projectiles ready for automatic loading with the remaining 15 stored in other locations. The system enables the handling of all kinds of projectiles in use without any adaptation.

Charge loading is accomplished manually using a loading tray with the ignition primer being inserted automatically. All systems have a manual back-up so that, in the case of failure, the loading system may be operated partly or completely manually by only three crewmen, so allowing a continuous firing rate of 4 rds/min. The computer also controls the functioning of the gun. The Loader Control System (LCS) consists of five main units: The commander's panel provides the means for the commander to control the automatic loader and has a dedicated keyboard and supporting electronic circuits

The Central Control Unit (CCU) is based on the Intel 80286 CPU-8086 and produces all of the system's logic equations. The unit transfers commands through the serial communications (RS-422) to the computerised units and controls the display on the commander's panel

The Terminal Units (TUs) are based on the 8031 controller for purposes of independent control of the drive elements according to a functionally determined division. With the assistance of the terminal unit, a local mode can also be used in working with selected elements

For guiding operators and making round identification and fusing, the Operator's Panel](OP) includes an LC display with fixed instructions and one dot matrix line.

The Loader Keyboard Panel (LKP) includes breech block closing switch, fire and local activation of the trays.

The main operational roles are: firing from internal storage firing for elevator - ground-piled ammunition loading from elevator - external pile synthesising fire programs unloading manual firing identification and fusing and checks.

Standard equipment includes an NBC system of the overpressure type and an inertial navigation and aiming system designed for autonomous operations.

According to Soltam Systems, the 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance and automatic loader, or parts of the system, could be installed in other self-propelled artillery systems and used to upgrade other self-propelled systems such as the US-designed and built 155 mm M109 and M44.

On July 14, 2011, The Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF had begun developing a successor for the Merkava series of tanks. The development was started in part by the arrival of the Trophy active protection system. With the system's ability to intercept threats at a stand-off distance, there was a review of the need for vehicles like the Merkava to have thick, heavy layers of armor. [70] The Merkava Tank Planning Directorate set up a team to study principles for a future tank and present ideas for an armored fighting vehicle to provide mobile firepower on a future battlefield. The team reviewed basic design principles including lessening its weight, armor thickness compared to an APS to intercept anti-tank threats, reducing the crew size, and the type of main gun. Horsepower capabilities and heavy and light track systems compared to a wheeled chassis were also considered. With future battlefield condition developments affecting design features, the vehicle may not be considered a "tank" in the traditional sense. [71] By July 2012, details began to emerge of considerations for developing technologies for the new design. One possibility is the replacement of the traditional main gun with a laser cannon or an electromagnetic cannon. Other improvements could include a hybrid-electric engine and a reduced crew of two. The goals of the new tank are to make it faster, better protected, more interoperable and lethal than the current Merkava. [72]

The 65-ton Merkava is not regarded as useful for missions other than conventional warfare. The Israeli Army Armored Corps wants a lighter and highly mobile vehicle for rapid-response and urban warfare situations that can fill multiple roles. In 2012, the Defense Ministry drafted a program for development of a new family of light armored vehicles called Rakiya (Horizon), a Hebrew acronym for "future manned combat vehicle" (FMCV). The FMCV is planned to weigh 35 tons and have sufficient armor and weapons for both urban and conventional military operations. Instead of one multi-mission chassis, separate vehicles in distinct variants will perform different roles with all vehicles using common components. Vehicles are likely to be wheeled to maneuver in urban environments and move troops and equipment around in built-up areas. While the FMCV will be a fifth-generation vehicle as a follow-on to the Merkava IV, it will not be a replacement for the tank. The Merkava and Namer heavy tracked vehicles will remain in service for decades, while FMCV vehicles are to address entirely different operational requirements. Although the program seems similar to the American Future Combat Systems effort, which failed to produce a family of rapidly deployable lightweight ground vehicles, program officials say they learned from the American experience and that the FMCV was more focused and driven by simpler and more reasonable requirements based on cost considerations. Officials expect requirements for a range of configurations for FMCV light armored vehicles to be approved in 2014 and solicited to Israeli and American companies. The IDF hopes for the FMCV family of vehicles be operational by 2020. [73] [74]

Top 10 Most Powerful Modern Tanks In The World

The tank arrived on the battlefield in the year 1916. It was first deployed by the British Army against the Germans in World War One. The tank was developed to cross no man’s land, get through fields of barbed wire and break the enemy’s trenches. It also protected the soldier from enemy machine gun fire and shrapnel from a grenade explosion. The first warfare with tanks occurred between the British and the Germans.

Tanks were powered by tractor engines and have a half inch of armor. They are also equipped with a variety of machine guns and cannons. Early tanks were very slow, often proved to be dangerous for their own crew as well as their enemy. But they were weapons of the future and were there to stay. That being said modern warfare is significantly dependent on tanks. Since the World War One, the competition over tank design has risen.

The main focused while designing tanks is on the three main characteristics which are firepower, protection, and mobility. Tanks have also become an integral part of the massive arms export market because of their value. The United States and Russia sold around $56 billion worth of military equipment last year. The more cutting edge the design the more the cost. We have listed below the ten most technologically advanced and sophisticated tanks in the world in 2020.

10. T-90

Produced in: Russia

The T-90 is the only tank produced in large quantities in Russia. This tank may not be very sophisticated when compared to its Western rivals, but it is worth a mention. The T-90 has proven its technology to be cost effective. It is one of the most commercially successful battle tanks on the global market. It is also one of the cheapest modern MBTs. Because of its small size, it is harder to hit with a bomb. It also has an adequate fire control system. The new version of this model has a powerful engine. One drawback of the T-90 is that the ammunition is stored in the main compartment. Therefore, once the hull is penetrated ammunition detonates by killing the crew inside and destroys the tank.

It is also not as accurate against long-range targets that the other tanks on this list. However, the T-90 has no problem launching an anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary tanks. The T-90 lacks advanced sights with thermal vision and panoramic commander’s sight which can be a major drawback with the model.

The T-90 is currently used by Algeria, Azerbaijan, India, Turkmenistan, Russia. and Venezuela.

9. T-84 Oplot-M

Produced in: Ukraine

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a huge tank factory in Kharkov which had been producing the T-80UD. To develop their own tanks, Ukraine decided to take the T-80 design and modify its design to produce the T-84 Oplot-M. The Ukranian government heavily modernized the T-80 over the years. In the present day, it is one of the most sophisticated tanks in the world.

The Oplot has a 125mm smoothbore gun which can armor piercing and explosive ammunition. It is also equipped with laser guided anti-tank missiles. The ammunition is loaded by an autoloader. It hits targets accurately and has panoramic and thermal imaging sights.The gun utilizes a ballistics computer.

8. Leclerc

Produced in: France

The Leclerc is a French main battle tank developed by the Nexter Systems for the national. This tank is currently in the service of the UAE Army. It is a third-generation tank which is armed with a Nato standard CN120-26 120mm smooth bore gun. It also has a coaxial 12.7mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 7.62mm machine gun. The tank also has 40 rounds of 120mm ammunition. It has more than 950 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition. The tank has a maximum speed of 72km/h.

7. Type 99 (ZTZ-99)

Produced in: China

The Type 99 (ZTZ-99) is a third generation battle tank which was manufactured by the China Northern Industries Group Corporation. The tank started being available for service in the year 2001.

It has a fully-stabilised 125mm ZPT98 smoothbore gun which is equipped with an auto-loader. The tank provides superior firepower when compared to the ZTZ99. It has a steel armored hull. Type 99 has a counter measures system and smoke grenade launchers. The Type 99 (ZTZ-99) is capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT and HE-FRAG projectiles. Laser-guided anti-tank missiles can be fired from the tank. The tank is also armd with a 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The maximum speed of this tank is 80km/h.

6. Type 10 (TK-X)

Produced in: Japan

The Type 10 (TK-X) can be defined as an advanced fourth-generation battle tank built by the famous Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The tank entered into service in the year 2012.

The Type 10 MBT’s is known for its outstanding mobility. It is used by the Japanese army. The tank comes with a sophisticated C4I system which ensures interoperability with the infantry troops. Its hull is attached to a modular ceramic composite armor which offers full- fledged protection against rocket propelled grenade rounds, Heat projectiles, and anti-tank missiles. Its fire power comes with a 120mm smooth-bore gun, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and a Type 74 7.62mm cannon. Type 10 MBT comes with a 1,200hp water-cooled diesel engine. The tank provides a maximum speed of 70km/h.

5. Merkava Mk IV

Produced in: Israel

The Merkava Mark IV is the latest version of the Merkava range battle tanks developed by the Merkava Tank Office. The tank has been used by the Israel Defence Forces since the year 2004. The tank has been given the title of the best-protected tanks in the world.

The tank has a special spaced armor, equipped with an Elbit laser warning system. It has an IMI in-built smoke-screen grenades. The tank has a maximum speed of 64km/h. It is armed with a 120mm MG253 smoothbore gun which is capable of firing high-explosive anti-tank. The tank can also fire sabot rounds and the LAHAT anti-tank guided missiles. It has a 60mm grenade launcher with the fire power.

4. K2 Black Panther

Produced in: South Korea

The K2 Black Panther is a modern battle tank which is developed by the famous Asian company Hyundai Rotem for the South Korean army. The key feature of this tank is high mobility, fire power, and self-protection. It entered the market in the year 2014.

The tank’s primary weapon is a 120mm smoothbore gun. This smoothbore gun can fire advanced kinetic energy ammunition. The tank is also equipped with an autoloader for ammunition loading. It can also work on a rough terrain. It also has 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns. The tank has the maximum speed of 70km/h. The tank is highly mobile in the battlefield.

3. M1A2 SEP

Produced in: USA

The M1A2 SEP is a battle tank used by the US. It is also the successor of the famous M1A2 Abrams. The M1A2 SEP tank is a good mixture of technology and armor. The tank has been very successful in combat. This tank is one of the world’s most feared battle tanks.

This tank is known to provide high protection against anti-tank weapons. The tank uses advanced armor, which is reinforced with depleted uranium layers. It has a formidable smoothbore gun. The M1A2 SEP’s complex gas turbine engine offers good performance.

The tank has been used by the United States Army and has been sold to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The only drawbacks of this tank is that it consumes a lot of fuel.

2. Challenger 2

Produced in: United Kingdom

Challenger 2 the battle tank used by the British Army and the Royal Army of Oman. It was manufactured by the British Vickers Defence Systems. This tank has been named as the world’s most reliable main battle tank. It has been used in combat Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

It has a 120mm L30 CHARM, C-axial 7.62mm chain gun and a turret mounted 7.62mm machine gun which serves as a secondary weapon. It has the maximum speed of 59km/h and provides high protection against direct fire weapons. It also has a light weight Perkins-Condor CV12 engine.

1. Leopard 2A7

Produced in: Germany

The Leopard 2A7 is one of the most successful tanks in the world. It has proven to be more successful than the Leopard 2. Qatar and Saudi Arabia had brought many of these tanks. It has additional armor electronics when compared with other brands.

The Leopard is well protected against RPG rounds and IEDs. It can fire long range because of its powerful gun and advanced fire control system. This model offers greater accuracy. The tank also has high mobility.

That was our list of some of the most dangerous battle tanks in the whole world in 2020. The technology for battle tank building is changing every day. Every major economic power spends millions on developing lethal weapons like battle tanks. With the rise in terrorism and regional tensions around the world, these tanks have become incredibly valuable.


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Just one observation the usefulness of MBTs in CTW is debatable. Generally, you don’t want to use a tank to “resolve” a hostage situation.

If you’re using tanks to take and hold ground as in Iraq, then by definition you’re no longer in CTW mode, it’s classic open warfare, no matter what the politicians call it.

Also, armored cavalry are only “fast response” formations if they’re already “in theater”. If they have to be moved any appreciable distance, you’d better hope it’s (a) overland and (b) rail transport is available. The reason it took 6 months for the coalition to “remove” the Iraqis from Kuwait in 1991, and why it took six months to build up to removing Saddam from power in 2003, wasn’t just politics, it was the time needed to move heavy forces from CONUS to the Mideast by sealift. You don’t fly MBTs around in cargo planes.

When U.S. forces went into Afghanistan in Sept-Nov 2001, it wasn’t the armored forces going in, it was the special operations forces, who are essentially airborne and light infantry. they can fly in, be airdropped, walk, or ride horses or even camels. And in Afghanistan, they did just that.

The “snake eaters” always get there first and fastest. Then they wait for the armor to catch up. It’s simple physics.

What a shit list, while those outdated Challenger II, proved to to be bad M1A2 SEP made it to top tier. Beside those that doesn’t have any field proven Type 10, Type 99, K2 Black Panther and T-84 Oplot, and yet compared to the basic model of T-90.
Where is the Merkava IV-M, Type 99A2, T-14 Armata, T-90M, Altay, Leopard 2A7+, T-84 Oplot M?
Now let talk about current variant:
T-90AM: while the export version of it T-90SM went throught Syrian civil war and proved to be way better what M1A1/2 from FSA + IS. Yet nowhere near the Abrams, which been outdated in modern combat. Where they are indeed better than T-72 but no where near the latest variant of both MBT from the T russian family.
Merkava IVM: they been proving year after year with how Israeli neighbor religion conflict. No doubt it is the 2nd best MBT at the moment. T-90M will catch up or better later on.
Type 99A2, being an hybrid of T-80 and M1 Abrams with a better cost to produce. Should be better than any gen 3 MBT of the current, not gen 3+.
Leopard 2A7+, where it is a 2A7 with extra protection for urban terrain. Should be a on the same level at the Merkava IV-M. Need combat proving to be the best.
Leopard 2A4/6 CAN, those that proved to way better than the Leopard 2A6 in Syria. Probably the best at the moment.
T-14 Armata, the universal chassis Armata with the new T-14 unmanned turret is the latest Gen 4 MBT from Russia. Until they can finally put it in mass production and solved all the problem it got in the trial. So for now it on a higher level the Type 10 and K2 Black Panther.
T-84 Oplot M: Just like any lately combat vehicles of the Ukraine, proved to failed a lot on army trials. Lot of problem behind it to get solved, yet having finance problem to do so. It is the worst right now to be put on the list.
Altay MBT: Turkish project to have an all made MBT with the help from Korean with their K2 Black Panther technology. Would be a buffed up version of the K2, with extra protection comes with the weight increased to be massively 10 tons heavier than the Original from South Korean. Where now they invited Germany to join and help in making a new engine for it. It may be on the same level of the T-14 Armata when they both came out.
Personal best:
Protection: Merkava IV-M
Mobility: Leopard 2A7
All rounded: T-90M
Cost: Type 99A2

Part VII: The African campaign (1940-43)

The involvement of the German forces, victorious over the Western powers in September 1940, came almost as an accident. Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, long wanted to dominate the Mediterranean (“Mare Nostrum”) and the Suez Canal was an especially juicy prize, and a considerable asset for the Axis war effort. It was seen as one of the two jugulars of the British Empire, the other being the sea routes to the American continent. But the Regio Esercito (Royal Army) was still under the control of the King, Victor-Emmanuel III, de facto commander-in-chief. Initially, knowing that Italy was not ready for war, he and his staff rejected Mussolini’s ambitions over the Mediterranean, although the quick defeat of France made for a complete reversal of opinions. Mussolini himself did not anticipate a long, protracted war with Great Britain, which seemed, at the time, in a position to only negotiate.

However, with one armored and two motorized infantry divisions in Libya and Eritrea, the close support of “Supermarina” (The powerful Italian fleet), and the support of bombers based in Sicily and Calabria –(not counting those in North Africa), Marshal Grazziani was, on paper, able to unleash a devastating all-out offensive against the British interests in this area. France was now tamed and, at least in theory, neutral, but with hostile tendencies towards British Forces after the events of Mers-El-Kebir in August. But the head of staff decided to strike at another theater of operation, with the conquest of British Somaliland. It lasted between 7 and 19 August 1940 and ended as a decisive victory for the Italian army, and a six month occupation of these territories. The operation saw mostly armored cars on both sides, plus some CV-33 tankettes on the Italian side.

However, the British struck back in December 1940, during Operation Compass. It ended in February 1941 with a stunning victory over Italian forces, ending with the conquest of all of Cyrenaica and the capture of a large amount of prisoners and material. The British models seen in action there were Matilda IIs, Valentines (first version), and the Cruisers III and IV, along with several AC types.

M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank

Approved for production in 1990, the M1A2 represents the U.S. Army’s technological improvement of the basic M1A1 design and the most modern battle tank in the world. Outwardly similar in appearance to the M1A1, the most notable exterior changes on the M1A2 are the redesigned Commander's Weapon Station (CWS) and the addition of a Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer) on the left side of the turret forward of the loader's hatch. Internally, however, the M1A2 has been radically redesigned to take advantage of newer technology.

Most notable of these improvements is the addition of the Inter-Vehicle Information System (IVIS.) The IVIS system allows for the automatic and continual exchange of information between vehicles. By incorporating information provided by an on board Position/Navigation (POSNAV) system, unit commander's can track the location and progress of subordinate elements automatically, without tasking vehicle crews. In addition enemy positions can be identified, plotted and disseminated, while reports and artillery requests can be automatically formatted, transmitted, and processed. Lastly, map graphic control measures and operational orders can be rapidly distributed via the IVIS system.

To ensure information security, all IVIS data transmissions are routed through the M1A2's SINCGARS radio system. Improving on the "hunter-killer" tank commander-gunner target hand off method pioneered on the German Leopard II, the M1A2 takes this a step further by providing the Tank Commander with an independent thermal sight. This CITV sight allows the commander to independently scan for targets in all weather conditions and through battlefield obscurants. In addition to IVIS and the CITV, the M1A2 incorporates a number of additional electronic upgrades. Power distribution throughout the tank has been improved, relying on multiple bus paths so that in the event one conduit is damaged, power may still be delivered to a component via an alternate path. The driver's instrument display has been upgraded to a more detailed digital display and the Gunner's Primary Sight has been stabilized in two axes for increased accuracy.

Approved for implementation in 1995, the M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package) is a technology upgrade and standardization program, whereby the Army's fleet of M1s and M1A2s will all be brought to a common standard. Most notable among the modifications will be the introduction of a standard under armor auxiliary power unit and the addition a crew compartment air conditioning and cooling unit.

Other modifications within the vehicle will include upgrades to the IVIS system (color display, full size keyboard, digital mapping and graphics generation capability, and voice recognition capabilities), upgrades to the Gunner's Primary Sight assembly, and improvement in the tank's intercom and radio communications systems. Production of the M1A2 was halted after the initial run of 627 vehicles. As part of the fleet upgrade program, 547 of the Army's current inventory of M1s are being upgraded to M1A2 SEP standards, which will require the complete remanufacturing of the turret, while the current fleet of M1A2s will undergo a retrofit to bring them up to SEP standards.