Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Israel New Tank Ammunition Used in Merkava Mk 4 Gunnery

Main Battle Tank Merkava MK 4 Gunnery

The LAHAT round, designed by Israel Aircraft Industries, was developed to the IDF armor corps’ specification. Using the semi-active laser homing guidance method, LAHAT can be designated by the firing tank crew or through external designation from ground, mobile, or airborne observers.

Firing the round requires minimal exposure in the firing position, and can be directed through the commander’s sight by only maintaining LOS during missile flight, when “turret-down.” The missile’s trajectory can be preselected for either top attack (tank) or direct attack (helicopter) engagement. The missile uses a tandem warhead, which can defeat modern armor and reactive panels.

The APAM constitutes an ultimate solution to the growing threat to tanks, especially in urban warfare, where
tank-killer squads lurk with modern lethal antitank weapons. The new round uses the proven concept of antipersonnel munitions based on controlled fragmentation.

The principles on which the Merkava family was designed are maintained in the Mk 4, namely, enhancing crew protection and maximum survivability in high-intensity, fire-saturated combat. The emphasis on “combat” is necessary to clarify the recent terrorist incidents in the Gaza Strip, where two Merkava Mk 3 tanks were blown up, in separate attacks, by massive explosive charges, surpassing 100 kg each.

To achieve maximum protection of the upper turret, the loader’s hatch was eliminated in the Mk 4 design. This enables a full extent of the modular armor protective suit on the turret top without compromising the additional hatch, which had so far remained a conceptual hindrance based on the lack of alternative observation systems.

For full perimeter defense, the Merkava Mk 4 is fitted with a latest stateof the-art Amcoram LWS-2 laser warning system, its sensors capable of detecting incoming missiles soon after launch. The threat warning display is installed at the tank commander’s station. Although details are classified, the Mk 4 is believed to be protected by a new type of hybrid armor, which can be conformed from modular elements to match specific threats. Another classified item is an advanced active full perimeter defense system incorporated with the LWS.


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