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Mighty_Zuk

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Wiki mentions that the Merkava 4 is currently being exported. The question is to whom?

That is an error. I think Singapore wanted to buy it, at some point, but that didn't go through. I don't know why it was reported that it's getting exported, but those reports did not get the government's confirmation.

Israel does, however, export a great deal of technology used in the Merkava 4, so it is widely seen in the IDF as an export success.

Edited by Mighty_Zuk
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The hull height of the Merkava is often a subject of great debate when talking in general about that tank, so here's some perspective:

 

11.png

 

22.png

Isnt that the Centurion based tech demonstrator? Its got a drive sprocket and idler of a Centurion.

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It's the first ready hull of the Merkava. Unfortunately because of the terrible resolution, I cannot judge how close it is to a production variant.

 

 

=======================================

 

WaPo has a great new article on IAI's concept of the Carmel program. IMO they have the best concept, which is surprising to me because they got a reputation of the least innovative defense company in Israel, compared with Rafael and Elbit.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/07/28/new-israeli-tank-features-xbox-controllers-ai-honed-by-starcraft-ii-doom/

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  • 1 month later...

Elbit systems quietly uploaded a brochure PDF for its Sabrah light tank turret:

https://elbitsystems.com/media/Sabrah-Light-Tank.pdf

 

I'll just write a short summary of what I personally think about it:

 

Pros:

Good form factor.

Innovative sensor management (gunner's sight can traverse on 2 axes and used as a panoramic sight).

Very cost effective.

Good capacity on autoloader.

Manual loading backup.

Optional add-ons are excellent.

 

 

Cons:

Manned.

Without add-ons does not look attractive.

Very low baseline protection level.

105mm gun starting to fade in favor of 120mm.

 

 

Overall, seems quite generic and starting as a semi-low end turret scalable to a very high end one. Would love to see the high end version in the same PDF.

The innovation on the shared sight is an excellent solution for both low end and high end applications, e.g low end can make use of only 1 sight which is traditionally a very expensive component, while high end with an RCWS can allow both the gunner and TC to use panoramic sights for scanning, without the gunner turning the whole turret.

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Just seems to be logical progression.

Well, I disagree, and so does the IDF apparently. The Merkava as a concept is going to reach the end of its life. It's now a dead end, and within maybe 20 years the first of the Merkava 4 tanks will start phasing out, with the last units to phase out about 50-60 years from now.

 

Mark 4 tanks are still in production and they're getting a substantial mid-life upgrade that gives them better sensors, better situational awareness, and improved time on the kill chain. But its core design still suffers from some deep flaws:

 

* It has a large crew of 4.

* Its crew is dispersed.

* Its turret is manned.

* Stations are too small to rebuild into cockpits.

* Ammo not separated from crew.

 

Actually, all in-service tanks have these flaws, barring the T-14 should it ever enter service.

The one tank that actually had the longest surviving concept is the Abrams, with its completely isolated ammo rack. But it's still a far cry from the ideal solution TODAY.

 

Around 2030 tanks of a new generation will start entering service. These will rely on different, more advanced tech, but more importantly they will require a redesign of the platform. The change has to be so drastic that it's not worth reusing old platforms, instead just build new ones designed from scratch.

 

 

The tank that will replace Merkavas will have nothing in common with them, so the name Merkava will be dropped.

All that's known is it's currently under a master project called Kaliyah.

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Has ex-soviet / russian medium main battle tanks (which tend to be a good 20 tons lighter than their western counterparts today) ever fought with and decisively defeated western counterparts in battle?

Until that happens, or even comes close, or even comes halfway, I don't see any Western MBT as it presently sits as obsolete even if not an "ideal" configuration. Until proven warranted, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Given the track record of those countries with regards to responsible spending, I don't see any reason to throw our hat into broadly untested paradigm shifting designs when the ones we have work.

The result will be a lot of money spent, and a lot of time spent, and mostly makework for contractor profit. By all means make tech demonstrators and testbeds, but for the foreseeable future IMO, stick with what works and focus on evolutionary changes.

Edited by Burncycle360
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Remember, the "Future Combat Systems" vision of an Abrams replacement was a combat vehicle weighing no more than 19 tons and being C-130 transportable. It would survive not by absorbing punishment but by avoiding it through the "superior situational awareness" of the networked battlefield. Then Iraq and Afghanistan happened with the IED threat, and people began to rethink the value of heavy armor.

 

Maybe at some future point the 19-ton MBT can be realized, though.

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Has ex-soviet / russian medium main battle tanks (which tend to be a good 20 tons lighter than their western counterparts today) ever fought with and decisively defeated western counterparts in battle?

 

Until that happens, or even comes close, or even comes halfway, I don't see any Western MBT as it presently sits as obsolete even if not an "ideal" configuration. Until proven warranted, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Given the track record of those countries with regards to responsible spending, I don't see any reason to throw our hat into broadly untested paradigm shifting designs when the ones we have work.

 

The result will be a lot of money spent, and a lot of time spent, and mostly makework for contractor profit. By all means make tech demonstrators and testbeds, but for the foreseeable future IMO, stick with what works and focus on evolutionary changes.

Broadly? UNTESTED?! These are without any shred of doubt the most thoroughly tested systems in recent weapons acquisition history.

We're still a decade away, in some programs more than a decade even, and yet fully kitted combat vehicles were already demonstrated in a combat environment.

That's an extremely rare level of risk mitigation on the first customer level.

 

The paradigm shift is necessary, and it was proven, time and time and time again, to be immeasurably more effective than the alternative.

 

Systems designers today think in exponential terms. So why on earth would anyone, in the digital combat environment, think in incremental terms?

 

And if you'd read carefully, you'd notice I mentioned the Merkava 4 has at least 50-60 years of service in its final iteration, starting today. That's not "throwing away" anything. That's a century of non-stop, daily basis combat for the Merkava series.

 

Lastly, none's really talking about weight reduction as a goal. It's natural that the new structure of the tank will require less raw material, but the desired protection level only increases, and so a return to 60 ton tanks is not out of the question.

 

Here's a pro tip for all aspects of life: Just because something's the best, doesn't mean it's good enough.

Edited by Mighty_Zuk
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Remember, the "Future Combat Systems" vision of an Abrams replacement was a combat vehicle weighing no more than 19 tons and being C-130 transportable. It would survive not by absorbing punishment but by avoiding it through the "superior situational awareness" of the networked battlefield. Then Iraq and Afghanistan happened with the IED threat, and people began to rethink the value of heavy armor.

 

Maybe at some future point the 19-ton MBT can be realized, though.

The FCS was not an adequate replacement for the Abrams. Nonetheless, I have no doubt it would have been absolutely superior to the Abrams even in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Remember, even with the 65 tons of a fully kitted Abrams, only a tiny portion of that weight is actually useful for IED and mine protection. That's why ultra light weight MRAPs (relative to other combat vehicles), are such an amazing tool against IEDs. They're ultra light but utilize much of the weight and space for relevant specialized protection.

A 19 ton vehicle upped to 25 tons with a belly and side armor kit is not out of the realm of imagination.

 

Still, the Kaliyah and MGCS are not a vision for a 19 ton tank, but the same weight class as today's tanks, at best I assume a reduction to 50 tons.

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Here's a pro tip for all aspects of life: Just because something's the best, doesn't mean it's good enough.

 

From a US perspective, I'd agree with you. 23 Trillion dollars ago. Let's start them on something simple, like making coffee on time and on budget, then we can get froggy.

You really have no idea of the meaning of nuance.

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Remember, the "Future Combat Systems" vision of an Abrams replacement was a combat vehicle weighing no more than 19 tons and being C-130 transportable. It would survive not by absorbing punishment but by avoiding it through the "superior situational awareness" of the networked battlefield. Then Iraq and Afghanistan happened with the IED threat, and people began to rethink the value of heavy armor.

 

Maybe at some future point the 19-ton MBT can be realized, though.

The FCS was not an adequate replacement for the Abrams. Nonetheless, I have no doubt it would have been absolutely superior to the Abrams even in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Remember, even with the 65 tons of a fully kitted Abrams, only a tiny portion of that weight is actually useful for IED and mine protection. That's why ultra light weight MRAPs (relative to other combat vehicles), are such an amazing tool against IEDs. They're ultra light but utilize much of the weight and space for relevant specialized protection.

A 19 ton vehicle upped to 25 tons with a belly and side armor kit is not out of the realm of imagination.

 

Still, the Kaliyah and MGCS are not a vision for a 19 ton tank, but the same weight class as today's tanks, at best I assume a reduction to 50 tons.

 

 

 

Just because something's the best, doesn't mean it's good enough.

:) The problem against IED is that there is need for explosion to have a way to dissipate. That means space, that means the vehicle tend to be high on the ground.

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  • 3 weeks later...
5 hours ago, Wiedzmin said:

U1V1uYj26Yk.jpg

 

side module , there was a set of high res color photos, but can't find it anymore...

Thanks. Seems like a strange layout, seemingly optimized for close range elevated threats rather than long range ATGMs.

It was, after all, built for urban missions, particularly both intifadas.

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Positioning at high angle makes most sense as it offers longest path through leyers. Looking at the top part, looks about 15deg.

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14 hours ago, bojan said:

Positioning at high angle makes most sense as it offers longest path through leyers. Looking at the top part, looks about 15deg.

I am well aware of that. But what caught my eye was the distance between layers. Such armor arrays would typically have a single projectile fly through multiple layers for a greater effect.

You cannot really angle the armor more because then it becomes over-specialized. You just hope the angle doesn't come too close to perpendicular hit which negates the armor. 

Same can be seen on Soviet and Russian tanks, with ERA armor to protect the top against high elevated attacks, not frontal attacks. The angle there is never optimal but is the best that can be done, statistically.

At the time the Nakpadon was made, several LIC kits (Low Intensity Combat) were developed and distributed for Israeli combat vehicles, like the C armor on the Merkava 2 and D armor for the Merkavas 2-3, the Batash armor kit for the Magach 6, and for various APCs. All gave extra focus to elevated attacks.

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