Friday, November 6, 2015

Merkava 2 conversion into other vehicles

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is converting a number of Merkava II main battle tanks (MBTs) to an armored personnel carrier version. The Merkava II MBT originally entered service with the IDF in 1983 as an improved version of the Merkava I tank. It features spaced armor (which subsequently was reinforced with composite armor on upgraded models), a 105 mm M68 tank gun and a 900 hp AVDS-1790-6A  V12 engine in combination with a Renk 304 transmission licence-built by Ashot Ashkelon.

The Merkava II APC is fitted with a fixed superstructure instead of the turret.
If the sources on different internet articles are correct, it was originally planned to base the Namer heavy APC on the older Merkava I and Merkava II tanks. The Namera prototype - which predates the custom-made Namer - was based on the outdated Merkava I.
Namera APC
According to Jane's IHS The IDF wants to use the converted Merkava II vehicles as "battlefield logistics carriers" (sounds like a cargo version), casualty evacuation (armored ambulance) and for use as a command post vehicle. At least two prototypes (one cargo transport vehicle and one casevac vehicle) are planned, of which the first has already been finished.
These new Merkava II variants are to replace the outdated M113 APCs which are still the backbone of the IDF.

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