Armor: July 31, 2000


Israel Military Industries has completed the prototype of its SABRA-II tank. Like the SABRA-I offered to Turkey, this is an old M60 tank hull with a new turret mounting the 120mm gun from the Merkava-III. The turret has a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun, two roof-mounted machineguns, a roof-mounted 60mm mortar, and 40 main gun rounds. Turkey has decided to have Israel upgrade its M60s, and may well decide on the improved SABRA-II. The turret uses the Knight-III computerized fire control system and a two-axis stabilization system based on that in the Merkava-III. The gunner has a day/thermal sight; the commander has a screen showing the gunner's sight but no independent "hunter" sight of his own. The gunner's sight has the independent target tracker from Merkava-III. While SABRA-I had only passive armor, SABRA-II includes explosive reactive armor to defeat chemical energy attack. To improve mobility, the existing suspension is given new torsion bars and rotary dampers. A choice of single-pin or double-pin track is offered. Defensive equipment includes laser detectors, instantly self-firing smoke grenade launchers, and an automatic fire and explosion suppression system. Israel is offering two new engines, a German 1,000hp diesel or an American 1,200hp diesel. Depending on armor, the entire SABRA-II tank will tip the scales at 56-59 tons.--Stephen V Cole


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