After The Merkava: The Isreali Next Generation Tank

Merkava Mark IV

Merkava Mark IV
The
Merkava Tank Planning Directorate has set up a team to study the
principles of the tank of the future. The defense establishment has yet
to make a decision or even establish a direction for the systematic
development of a new tank, as production of the Merkava Mark IV tanks
nears completion. The team has been requested to present ideas for an
armored fighting vehicle (AFV) that would provide massive mobile
firepower on the future battlefield.
The
team includes IDF officers and members of the defense ministry. Basic
questions are being raised: Should the future tank be lighter than the
70 ton Merkava? Can the thick layers of armor be dispensed with, because
of new active defense systems capable of intercepting antitank missiles
in flight? Will the tank of the future be operated by a four-man crew,
or perhaps less? Will it require a cannon or will an advanced recoilless
firing system, launched from the turret or rear of the tank, suffice?
The team is also considering the future AFV’s horsepower capabilities
and track systems (heavy or light) versus the option of putting wheels
on the chasis. 
“Changes
in the battlefield are beyond our imaginations and issues concerning
the tank of the future are only in their initial stage; at this
point [the discussions] are almost abstract in nature,” admits a defense
source. “We’re trying to envision the direction of developments on the
future battlefield, and then we’ll formulate suitable ideas. At any
rate, the tank of the future is still very far off and if sweeping
changes are introduced then it’s doubtful that the armored vehicle will
still be called a ‘tank’.”

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