Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #33

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Page 23 of 185

Author: Staselnik Author: Matanya 2002, as a result of a series of incidents involving the IEDs. No credible data is available, pertaining to losses among the Merkava Mk 3D MBTs, that could have occurred in southern Lebanon, back in 2006. The available photographs only depict the legacy Mk 3 BAZ vehicles, suffering from damage. Despite the hits, none of the vehicles has been lost during the "Operation Cast Lead", also known as the Gaza War (December 2008 - January 2009). In 2010 Hamas launched the Kornet ATGM in the Gaza area - the early variants of this missile can penetrate up to 960 mm of steel behind an ERA layer. The missile hit the hull of a Merkava Mk.3 Dor Dalet, penetrating all layers of protection, leaving the crew uninjured. As a result, the Merkava Mk 4 tanks, offering better pro- tection, were deployed along the border. One may come to a conclusion that fielding of the Mk.2 BATASH and Mk.3 DorDalet Merkavas has finally put an end to the fact that the Israeli MBTs had weak protection. In the case of the BATASH variant, the NxRA modules are not thick, but they shield the sides and front of the turret well. Also, the hull received directionally better protection. One could come to a conclusion that in case of perpendicular hits, the armor protected the MBTs from infantry anti-tank assets and the legacy ATGMs (Konkurs, Malyutka, Metys, Fagot, TOW, and Dragoon clones manufactured in Iran and China). The front por- tion of the turret and the hull could withstand hits of the Milan, HOT1, and TOW2 clones. BATASH armor does not seem to protect the vehicle from the APFSDS-T effectors. It was designed for irregular warfare. The DorDalet's armor was really impressive, with its solid NxRA modules of great relative thickness, protecting the turret from most of the non-tandem ATGMs avail- able to the Israeli neighbors. What's even more important is the fact that Merkava BATASH and DorDalet turrets also protected the crew from flanking fire - it is a major difference when one compares the Israeli vehicle to its Western counterparts. Protection levels against sabot rounds offered by the

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