I don't get how Israel can make a MBT that is equal to the challenger and Abrams, etc, in speed & range, armour, gun, amunition carried, etc, and yet can still hold 4 to 8 men in the back. How is that possible? Is it bigger (more volume) than the western/russian MBTs? I just don't think western MBT designers would waste space in their designs. So I can only think that the merkava is somewhat like a warrior/bradleys with a bigger turret and maybe with better armour? I'm coming at this from the design direction: MBTs are the size and weight they are as they have to carry 4 men, it has to carry enough of a gun to defeat what the enemy has (or will have), it needs enough MM of armour to defend against that gun (as that's what the enemy will have), it needs enough food, fuel and ammo to keep the thing operational for a while. They then need a motor that will push the resulting mass up steep inclines, etc. And then they make it big enough that the men were happy to be in it for days yet not too big as more area = more armour = more weight = bigger engine needed or less MPG which would mean enlarging the engine bay or fuel tank which would mean bigger tank = more armour, etc, and the cycle repats. As I say, if the merkava was the equal of a Chr/abrams/leopard, etc, then western designers are guilty of wasteing the space equal to 4 to 8 men? I can't see it! Therefore, the merkava must be deficient somewhere? P.s what are the panels on the front of the chr turret to the side of the gun and the 'louvre' panel on the side? Thanks, I'm just curious.