Whats the score with the Merkava?

Discussion in 'RAC' started by The_Civil_Civilian, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. 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.
  2. I was always led to believe that given Israel's size and population, any MBT design had to afford protection to the crew as a priority over other factors. Apparently they have tweaked their design to add room for additional bods, not a bad idea as an MBT can go into areas too hazardous for grunts and recover casualties, or deliver said grunts to where they are needed.
  3. Hi, thanks. I appreciate that as I read a big web page on the merkava linked to on here on the 'What's the best MBT' thread. It answered a load of Qs I'd had (what are the chains under the turret bussle/bussel?) but it led to more.

    But clearly it can't be as good as the chr/abrams/lpard, etc, because it would then be as big/heavy as the former. So what bit of the:

    'mobility - protection - gun - food/POL/ammo'

    equation have they constrained?

  4. As i understand it the area where the troops fit in is supposed to be for main gun ammo but they found that if they pulled out the racks they could fit in a squad (at a crush) or a couple of stretchers.

    Nice to have as an option

    Edit to add

    I think for the Merkava the Equation goes:

  5. AIUI the panels are for recognition through thermal imagers.
  6. JINGO

    JINGO War Hero Book Reviewer

    My understanding was that the Merkava was designed specifically to meet Isreali needs in that the level of protection/crew survivability was very high. The lay out with the engine/fuel tanks etc to the front optomise this. The beast is slower than comparable Western MBTS this is where they have compromised.
    The compartment to the rear will hold troops but is very cramped, I believe this is more of an option than a normal practise. The area really allows the carriage of extra ammo and rapid resupply in a defensive position,ie in a Golan Heights type scenario.
    I take it that the site you looked at told you that the chains on the turret bustle are to counter the RPG threat to the rear turret ring, they function not unlike Bar armour in that they detonate the warhead at a stand off distance and degrade the penetration.
    Hope this answers a few of your questions mate.
  7. The ambulance-mbt option is a funny beast!!!

    But as said above, they sacrifice ammo carried for troops. Howver the option of having some foxhounds to put out in urban areas may be more important than said ammo, and IIRC the MBT "Pure" Merkava carries a lot of ammo, that is easy to cross deck to it´s inf-comand-ambulance roled peers.
  8. Apparently the Israelis have also gone down the route of converting older marks of Merkava into IFVs, which is considerably easier when you included rear doors in the hull in the first place.
  9. Is it true that before they are allowed into service, six inches (150mm) is lopped off the end of the barrel?
  10. After 13 years on the tank park they become IFVs!
  11. In summary each nation designs and builds to fulfil it's concept of operations. Many buy 'off the peg' from the USA or other major producers of AFVs. However, some quirks of geography / politics may mean that 'one size does not fit all', hence an independent solution being sought. The Israeli's use of heavily upgraded Centurions and other MBTs makes for interesting study. Despite being a prime manufacturer of MBTs, the UK lacked the opportunity to test them in combat until GW1. Note how our Internal Security vehicles evolved due to our deployment in NI, and the spin-offs; Makralon, Claribel etc, yet the base vehicles (Land Rover) remaining the same until the very late introduction of Saxon. Had we deployed Centurion then Chieftain in a shooting war, maybe they would have served longer.
  12. Incendiarycutlery said: "the panels are for recognition through thermal imagers. "

    Can anyone broaden that out some? I found this:

    Are these the CIPs, [Combat Identification panels']? Why 2 types, is the louvre pattern one the same type but for aircraft?

    I did think they were along those lines but had imagined a moore definte return signal of some sort... maybe from the initial laser range-finding or some form of stand-off electronic interogation/respone thing.
    Jingo: Yes, the chains exploded RPGs.

    My thanks to the other posters, so smaller engine and they use the space available to additional ammo storage. That's quite clever really and as "Still 2"1 says, they've tweaked the equation to suit the wars they fight. I understand it a bit better now.

    Is it's protection 'up to snuff'? I ask as a fair few of them incurred deaths during Lebanon. Where is it re: the Challenger: level or slightly inferior? Or is it just that a bigger enough bomb will always get through?

    Thanks lads
  13. I did read up up this actually when I bumped into a comment or two with the words 'Centurian' and 'Isreal' and 'Feck up' in various conotations.

    Back to the UKs lack of experience, we'll they (Vickers?) seemed to have kept their hand in with the performace of Chr in GW1 and it's chasis, etc, still being 1st class. In fact, the performace of british post-war tanks is in marked contrast to their war-time counterparts... who was it who said' Britsh armour didn't add anything worthwhile to the struggle'? He meant that our tanks were under-gunned, weakly amoured and/or constantly breaking down or combinations of the 3. It took the Americans to field a reliable all-rounder in the sherman but that was soon outclassed by the germans. Wasn't the first britsh 'good' tank the Comet fielded in Winter 44/45?

    After ww2, I'm heartened that we've never fielded a weakly armoured tank since and I don't recall anything bad about Centurian, Chieftan (heard the multi-fuel engine was 'bad' and they should have gone single fuel. And now Challenger? From what I've read it seems very 'nailsy'. :)

    Have to go.
  14. Israel has made APCs out of MBTs including Centurions & captured T-54s & 55s
  15. Oh so the white 'Louvres' are not vents for when it gets hot?

    I was lied to....