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Frag Out! Magazine #33

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aforesaid modules are unknown. The Western MBTs featured numer- ous steel-ceramic armor systems at the front of the turret and the hull, also preceded by NxRA armor layout, or NERA wedges (Leopard 2A5 and 2A6). The DorDalet's armor seems to be different within that re- gard. Either the designers disregarded the sabot rounds or alternative modules that are yet to be unveiled exist. The DorDalet's supremacy was interrupted by the Kornet and Metis-M ATGMs. The shaped charge warhead of the early 9M133 missiles was able to penetrate 960 mm of steel, with its large precursor in the front. Mk 3 DorDalet featured 4-6 layers of NxRA that were there to disrupt the shaped charge effect. Due to the precursor, and the faster beam of energy, it usually turned out that the NxRA was activated by the precursor, or that a large hole was created for the shaped charge energy to enter. That energy was diffi- cult to stop by NxRA layers - they were shifting too slowly concerning the new threat. Thus, the protection turned out to be insufficient. Mk 2 and Mk 3: Chasing the West Looking at Merkava Mk 2 through the lens of the current know-how, it is difficult to state that it caught up with the NATO main battle tanks - such as M1A1 Abrams, Leopard 2A4, or Challenger 1. Inferior firepower, weaker fire control system, limited mobility, and weaker armor prevent us from coming to such a conclusion. The Mk 2, however, was superior when compared to the vehicles operated by the neighbors, providing the Israeli forces with a major advantage. The second generation of Merkava shall be portrayed as an evolutionary derivative of Mk 1 - not as an entirely new design. Mk 3 variant has managed to catch up with the West. Even though the first versions still had a disadvantageous fire control system and weaker armor, the Mk 3 BAZ variant fielded in 1995 had a fire control system that had capabilities comparable to its French, US, or German counterparts. As the 21st century got closer, the stabilizer system of the Mk 3 BAZ started to be better than the one used in the aforesaid designs. The DorDalet's armor was effective, yet different from the NATO solutions. One could come to a conclusion that in the year 2000, 21 years after the debut of Mk 1, the Israeli ar- mor has caught up with the MBTs operated by Germany, the USA, and France. However, the main emphasis was placed on the firepower, not the mobility of the MBT. DorDalet's armor, meanwhile, was designed to provide protection within a greater range of angles, but it would not be able to protect the MBT from modern APFSDS rounds and ATGMs such as the Kornet. Author: Matanya THE MYTH OF MERKAVA VEHICLES

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