Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #33

Frag Out! Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 185

Birth of Merkava Mk 3 The third generation has actually been an entirely new MBT design. The de- sign layout remained unchanged. However, gradual improvements have been introduced in all areas, some technical solutions applied have been changed as well. The design stage of the Mk 3 Merkava began in August 1983, with the prototypes rolled out in 1986. The first Mark 3 tanks were commissioned in 1989. 650 vehicles were manufactured, in three distinct production lots. The first two lots did not introduce any major changes. It was the third lot that has seen a major redesign of the turret citadel. Discussing the protection levels, one should be aware then that Merkava Mk 3 may refer to different, varied platforms. Protection The MBT received an entirely new turret. The turret structure has been made out of steel plates (60-80 mm thickness) and welded cast steel. The plates form the front, roof, and niche of the turret. The cast steel has been used to create the two lower-side segments of the turret behind the gun mount and in front of the gunner's sight on one side, and embedded 60 mm mortar on the other. Starting with the third production lot, cast elements were abandoned. The plate's thickness has been changed, whilst the turret as a whole is 220 mm longer than the one of the predecessor. The turret is also tailored to accommodate extra armor modules, with fully modular and replaceable pro- tection elements. This is a major difference since the Western MBT designs feature special armor elements inside the armor, between the front and back plating. This means that to replace them, one needs to remove the top part, and only then the internal part can be replaced. This renders any upgrades or modernization challenging to say the least. Even though the procedure is not that complicated, for the M1 MBT it took 40 minutes per package, back in 1991. Merkava Mk 3 utilizes a fully modular armor system that is attached to the turret at the relevant attachment points of the modules, and screws at the turret. It seems that the early Mark 3 Merkavas did not really have their "special armor" changed, with NERA layers still being the primary solution. The thickness is 25 cm for the sides of the turret (all along the side) - in the form of a vertically arranged plate. Whereas leaving the mounting elements Author: Cpl. Shay Wagner

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Frag Out! Magazine - Frag Out! Magazine #33