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I'm 99% sure I made this topic before but has disappeared since.

Anyway, IDF has just updated that it will begin converting the first battalion to the Merkava 4 Barak tank. Conversion will last 1 year (~30 tanks), and will begin in March 2020.

By March 2023 an entire brigade will be fully operational with the new tank.

Other than having a full brigade equipped with the new tank, the armored corps will celebrate another milestone - the entirety of the active service units will be equipped with versions of the Merkava 4, all with active protection.


To make matters clearer, the active arm of the armored corps is:

7th brigade - Mark 4M.

401st brigade - Mark 4M.

188th brigade - Mark 3D.

460th brigade (tank school) - 2 battalions Mark 4, 1 battalion Mark 3, with each battalion corresponding to a certain active brigade.


The reserves consist of 8 brigades in total, with the backbone of the corps being the Mark 3, with 1 brigade using the Mark 2, 2 brigades using Mark 4, and 5 brigades using Mark 3.


From this we can understand that by March 2023, yet another milestone will be reached - the Mark 4 will become the most numerous tank in the IDF.


The Barak will demand a higher learning curve, and TCs have already passed their officers' training and TC training and are ready to begin the assimilation process.

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Take that 99 and add 1 to it because indeed you have :)http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=43872&p=1420552

Where did it come from and where did it go?

My first guess is that the site on your computer is set to show only the past 30 days of threads. To find it, find where it says "recently updated" when viewing the AFV sub forums. You'll find it within a long green bar on the left side. If you look carefully to the right of it, there'll be more options in slightly different shade of green. Those options being "Start Date", "Most replies", "Most Viewed", and "Custom". Clicking on "Custom" will bring up a small tab where you can set how threads can be viewed. So setting it to "Show All" will have the site load up threads going back before my birth. Your Israel AFV thread was only on page 2 out of 77 pages of threads :)

Edited by JasonJ
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That one brigade still having Merkava Mk 2 is wartime reserve?


I recall they announced stopping training new recruits on Mk 2 back in 2015, and that 7th Brigade transitioned to Mk 4M at the end 2016.


I think mothballed Mk 1 were also withdrawn in the roughly same period.

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Thanks Jason!


That one brigade still having Merkava Mk 2 is wartime reserve?


I recall they announced stopping training new recruits on Mk 2 back in 2015, and that 7th Brigade transitioned to Mk 4M at the end 2016.


I think mothballed Mk 1 were also withdrawn in the roughly same period.

Yes it is wartime reserve. There are a total of 8 reserve brigades.

The training brigade is the 460th, which has battalions specially built for training recruits for specific brigades. So they have to keep the same tanks as active brigades have.

After their 3 years of mandatory service, soldiers are transferred to reserve units, where usually they are downgraded to older tanks. Active units with the best tanks get go to reserve units with the best tanks, and those serving on the oldest in active get the oldest in reserve, so the shock is minimal.

Going from a Mark 4 to a Mark 2 is quite a shock.


When a soldier becomes a reservist, his training on the "new" tanks is done in the brigade to which he is transferred.


A while ago, the IDF has shut down several brigades in a short interval, simultaneously retiring both Mark 1 and Magach tanks. The last Merkava 1 retired in 2014.

Now the armored corps and production facilities are optimized for supporting a 40 year lifetime for every tank, with provisions in place for a maximum delay of 4 years.

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Turn one of the topics into a History of Israeli AFVs topic?


Why Israel developed her own line of tanks instead of waiting for the radically changed US design after 1973?

Israel could not rely on either the British or Americans for a steady supply of arms.

The US was complicit in the arms embargo on Israel, so that was a major factor in the decision.

For those unaware, the US had requested the British not to supply tanks to Israel, but at the same time itself would not supply Israel with tanks. It 'agreed' to send tanks via Italy, but that later turned out to be a complete ruse.


The 1973 war only reinforced this, when Israel had to put immense pressure on the US to resupply it. It took a threat to go nuclear on Egypt and Syria before that happened.


And of course another level to consider is that the 1973 war gave Israel a lot of study material to reshape its doctrine and have enough radical modifications they wanted to implement on tanks, that M-48 and M-60 just weren't fit for.


I do admit, however, my knowledge on said matters is mostly from memory so I cannot write a comprehensive analysis of the history, nor am I especially knowledgeable on the early history of armor in Israel.

Edited by Mighty_Zuk
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Thanks. For me, the timeline of who is supplying Israel when is quite blurry.


I know at one point they produced a fighter plane, but give up on it despite limited export. On the other hand, they went on with a tank that resembles British design school, but said to contain enough US technology to be not exportable.

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IDF announced today the last brigade level Merkava 3-only exercise was conducted by the only active brigade operating it, and in March they'll have 1 battalion already operating the Mark 4 Barak.


In that exercise they've practiced hitting hovering drones with main gun armament.

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With a programmable time-fused HE it would not be that much of a problem for a modern FCS.

Edited by bojan
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For a Mark 4 that is indeed an easier task because it has radars, but a Mark 3 still has tools.

Simple (not really) target ID and automatic target tracking can keep the target in the middle of the crosshairs indefinitely. A laser range finder, already very precise due to need to laze prone-man-sized targets at several kilometers, should have no problem whatsoever.


And yes, the easiest solution is an HE-MP.


With a modern FCS, it's not a difficult task to achieve. The article basically just tells us the armored corps are also tasked with defeating drones instead of relying on mobile air defenses, which tells us they're quite serious about that threat.

The tech and gunnery skills are already there.

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Ask Apple. Though their "3d" enhanced photographs are limited by the minuscule baseline they use, the technology is trivial at even the mobile phone level now.


More specifically, 3d image reconstruction from images where not even the baseline is well characterised is well within the reach of modern image processing - it's used to develop meshes with high levels of detail in relatively short timescales and so should be very easy for relatively low-powered processors for the much simpler task of establishing a range from a small subset of correlated pixels.


I would suggest a number of problems with using large calibre rounds to defeat small drones. Magazine capacity, ammunition cost per kill, collateral damage, and weapon tracking rate plus time to target for ballistic rounds against highly manoeuvrable targets.

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For a Mark 4 that is indeed an easier task because it has radars

Not integrated into FCS tho

That, we do not know. The Barak is supposed to add multiple sensors and create a more organized interface with sensor fusion, with operational capability in March this year. But even last year there were news that the 401st brigade has received unspecified upgrades to their FCS, said to be substantial.

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Lasing drone is not that easy tho, esp if it is moving even slowly.


I always wondered about that, but I read somewhere that some IFVs (I think it was CV90 in particular) have an anti-air lasing mode that basically spreads the beam around so it can hit an aircraft or helicopter without being trained precisely at it. That would presumably even work against a solid background if you set it to "first return".

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The IDF is converting a territorial brigade to a shock infantry brigade.

The Kfir brigade, the youngest and largest in the infantry corps, has consisted of 5 battalions and a recon company. Now it will drop 1 battalion that will remain territorial, and will be re-equipped for its new role as a 4 battalion brigade.

It will be a light infantry brigade, said to be mobilized on wheels, which hints at the Eitan, seeing as it is the only frontline wheeled vehicle in the IDF.

The only infantry brigade confirmed to receive the Eitan, to date, is the Nahal.


Infantry, armor, and artillery, are also gradually dropping their corps-brigade structure in which brigades consisted entirely of units of the same corps, and moving onto brigade and battalion level combat teams of mixed units. It is yet unknown what armor and artillery units the Kfir brigade will be joining.

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Elbit is going to introduce a new version of the Iron Fist, the IF-LK, Iron Fist Light Kinetic.

Its past heavier version was known to be capable of defeating APFSDS shells, but now it miniaturizes that system to the IFLD levels. Questions remain on the level of commonality with IFLD, but these should be answered at IAV.

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Indirectly related, this paper here: https://www.infosperber.ch/data/attachements/The%20Israel%20Defence%20Forces%201948%20-%202017.pdf


makes some hefty assertions regarding the IDF and I was wondering how much truth was in them:


"In the decade following 1977, the IDF is believed to have procured an
additional 150 M-48A5, 280 M-60A1 (passive) and 330 M-60A3 (thermal)
Magach tanks and over 4,500 additional M-113/M-577/M-548 APCs from the
US. It also received several hundred additional Centurions. Like many of the
Centurions acquired by the IDF, these MBTs had reverted to US ownership
after their replacement in NATO militaries then sold to Israel at scrap prices.
Starting in 1978, the IDF’s inventory of MBTs was supplemented by the
introduction of new production Israeli Merkava tanks, which were apparently
produced at a steady rate of one brigade set per year"
"The additional armored vehicles received after 1977 were progressively used
to replace the remaining M-50 and M- 51 Shermans and many half-tracks,
while simultaneously allowing a further steady increase in the Armored
Corps order of battle. By 1979, the IDF’s order of battle had increased to 11
tank divisions and 12 armored infantry brigades. The two newest reserve
divisions were likely still being formed and, consequently, were under
strength. In less than five years, the order of battle of the Armored Corps
had increased from 19 to about 43 brigades and the number of serviceable
MBTs had doubled from 2,150 to about 4,200."


As I doubt the population had doubled, I suspect the author is extrapolating from AFV numbers without taking into account retirements and such.

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Numbers of tanks seem right. The Merkava was produced at a rate of 1 battalion per year, not brigade.

Number of armored divisions does not seem right. There were a total of 9 armored divisions at the IDF's peak, not 11. I do not know about the number of armored infantry brigades, but these were usually 2 per division, one active and one reserve, so it seems about right.


What seems odd is that today there are a total of 11 divisions in the IDF, some not containing armor, and 19 infantry brigades, including light ones. Either a funny coincidence or the author made a mistake.


The 4,200 number refers to the total number of tanks the IDF has in its posession, though now you can add another 100 to that number. Most of these are already retired, but about a decade or 2 ago, when many more brigades were active, and Magach and Merkava 2 were abundant, most of these were used.


And last but not least, the maximum number of brigades in the armored corps was 39, not 43. That includes all brigades that were shut down, and all active ones. I'm not sure if there was a time where they all existed simultaneously.


At about 90 tanks per brigade, you get about 3,500 tanks in service.


Today the IDF armored corps has only around 1,100 tanks in service left, of which about 1,000 are Merkava 3 and 4 tanks.

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