The Merkava IDF Main Battle Tank I, II, III, IV
The Merkava has a long and storied history as a proficient battle tank for the Israel Defense Forces for the past thirty years. While many of its features remain classified for secret military purposes it was specifically designed for desert and urban warfare conditions that are predominant throughout Israel and the Middle East. There are four main versions of the Merkava that have been engineered for deployment over the years.
The Merkava I was the first model and come onto the scene originally in the early 1980s. Primarily designed for anti infantry defense and mortar shelling capacity, it was introduced during the 1982 Lebanon War. While the Merkava I was considered a success, observations made during combat revealed some design improvements that would be implemented into the next model.
The Merkava II came into production right after the war as a result of modifications deemed necessary based on the performance of the previous model. The upgrades were primarily designed to make the tank more battle effective and to increase crew safety.
The Merkava III was introduced in the late 1980s as the latest improvement on the Israel Defense Forces primary battle tank. It’s more notable upgrades included laser technology, enhanced communication ability and security. In addition, the ammunition storage capabilities were improved to reduce the chances of overheating and dangers to the crew.
The Merkava IV is the current Israeli battle tank model and has been in circulation for about ten years. Its multiple upgrade features include anti helicopter capabilities, and an improved caterpillar track system that is specifically designed to cope with the harsh, rugged desert topography of Israel and the surrounding areas. During the 2006 Lebanon War, the Merkava IV came under intense scrutiny and controversy as many crew members were among the casualties of that conflict.
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