Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #32

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Page 5 of 173

Merkava Mk 2 design effort was launched before the war in Lebanon. A "telescopic" approach was adopted here, with development works on the successor being launched once the current generation was in- troduced into service. Due to the above, the Mark II design did not take into account the 1982 battle experience. Nonetheless, the conclusions gathered during the battle were quite relevant. This is why the Mk 2A was brought to life (Siman 2 Alef). The manufacturing was launched in 1983. The Mk 2B that features most of the design changes, result- ing from the Lebanon experiences, was introduced as late as 1985. 580 MBTs were manufactured in 6 years, until 1989. Merkava Mk 2 protection was somehow based on Mk 1. Welded cast-metal elements and rolled steel plates of varying thicknesses were still the basic building block for the MBT. The armor has been arranged at maximum angles when threat direction is taken into the account, especially in the case of the front portion of the vehicle. The introduction of special armor in the 2B variant has been a relevant change here. This step stems from reasons that remain quite under- standable: the fights in 1982 have shown that the Merkava's armor is insufficient, as the Syrian HOT ATGMs could penetrate 680 mm of steel - more than the relative armor thickness. Furthermore, the fact that Syria acquired both the T-72 Ural, as well as the T-72A (with better ammo) forced the Israeli designers to improve the protection levels on the sides and when it comes to the front portion of the armor. This was done by adding around 80 mm of extra armor, starting from the MERKAVA MKII Story by: Jarosław Wolski

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