Armor: March 26, 2002


Israel has issued the first Merkava-4 tanks to troop units, after announcing last October that it had entered series production. Israel plans to build Merkava-4 for the next four years, then switch to the Merkava-5, which is still on the drawing board. Production rate would be 6-8 tanks per month depending on available funds. Few details are known. It mounts the same Improved 120mm smoothbore cannon used on the latest versions of the Merkava-3, and has an "active armored defense system". It will carry a through-the-cannon guided missile, probably the 120mm version of LAHAT.--Stephen V Cole


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