.: Min Hin Chong's 1/72nd Merkava IV Tank

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For the religious/mystical connotations of the word, see Merkabah.
Merkava MK-IV
Merkava Mark IV on display at Yad La-Shiryon, Latrun in April 2011.
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Israel
Service history
In service 1979 – present[1]
Used by Israel Defense Forces
Wars 1982 Lebanon War, South Lebanon conflict, 2006 Lebanon War, First Intifada, Second Intifada, Gaza War
Production history
Designer MANTAK
Manufacturer MANTAK/IDF Ordnance Corps (assembly)
Unit cost Est. $6 million[3]
Produced Since 1974
Number built (As of March 2012)
Mark I: 250
Mark II: 580
Mark III: 780
Mark IV: 360 (Another ~300 on order)[2]
Weight 65 tonnes (140,000 pounds)
Length 9.04 m/29.7 ft (incl. gun barrel)
7.60 m/24.9 ft (excl. gun barrel)
Width 3.72 m/12.2 ft (excl. skirts)
Height 2.66 m/8.7 ft (to turret roof)
Crew 4 (commander, driver, gunner, and loader)
Passengers Maximum 6 passengers[4]

Armor Classified composite/sloped armour modular design.
120 mm (4.7 in) MG253 smoothbore gun, capable of firing LAHAT ATGM
1 × 12.7 mm (0.50 in) MG
2 × 7.62 mm (0.300 in) MG
1 × 60 mm (2.4 in) internal mortar
12 smoke grenades
Engine 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) turbocharged diesel engine
Power/weight 23 hp/tonne
Payload capacity 48 rounds
Transmission Renk RK 325
Suspension Helical spring
Ground clearance 0.45 m (1.5 ft)
Fuel capacity 1,400 litres
500 km (310 mi)
Speed 64 km/h (40 mph) on road
55 km/h (34 mph) off road

The Merkava (Hebrew: About this sound מרכבה (help·info), Chariot) is a main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces. The tank began development in 1973 and entered official service in 1979. Four main versions of the tank have been deployed. It was first used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War. The name "Merkava" was derived from the IDF's initial development program name.

It is designed for rapid repair of battle damage, survivability, cost-effectiveness and off-road performance. Following the model of contemporary self-propelled howitzers, the turret assembly is located closer to the rear than in most main battle tanks. With the engine in front, this layout gives additional protection against a frontal attack, especially for the personnel in the main hull, like the driver. It also creates more space in the rear of the tank that allows increased storage capacity, as well as a rear entrance to the main crew compartment allowing easy access under enemy fire. This allows the tank to be used as a platform for medical disembarkation, a forward command and control station, and an armoured personnel carrier. The rear entrance's clamshell-style doors provide overhead protection when off- and on-loading cargo and personnel.

It was reportedly decided shortly before the beginning of the 2006 Lebanon War that the Merkava line would be discontinued within four years.[5] However, on 7 November 2006, Haaretz reported that an Israeli General Staff assessment had ruled of the Merkava Mark IV that "if properly deployed, the tank can provide its crew with better protection than in the past," and deferred the decision on discontinuing the line.[



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