Looking at Merkava Replacements?

IDF considering replacements for heavy Merkava tank

Note this bit:

The thinking in the defense establishment is that tanks may no longer require thick layers of armor, which slow down the vehicle, and raise fuel and production costs and could suffice with less armor and more systems like Trophy.

The IDF is also looking at replacing its M109 self-propelled howitzers.


    1. They’re probably using the armour pattern from the French “Leclerc” MBT. Eventually it will be upgraded, possibly to the Dorchester pattern.


    1. I don’t think there have been too many instances of IED’s “destroying” tanks. They may destroy a track and / or disable the tank – the crew usually walks away. There have been some casualties from real military grade anti-tank mines.

      Every real military has anti-armor mines designed to blast through the underbelly of enemy tanks. Adding more armor to the top and / or bottom of tanks would make them too heavy to move. I remember training on a couple types. One was just bigger and required more pressure than an anti-personnel mine. Another had a metal rod sticking up – and would detonate when it was tilted down by a vehicle – so it worked even if the wheels or tracks were not directly over the mine. (M15 and M21 I think)

      Infantry, Snipers, Engineers, and tactics protect tanks from mines and IED’s.

  1. The Wiki for the Trophy system explains that to counter Trophy you just need two projectiles- the lead one (which doesn’t even have to be a proper warhead) triggers the Trophy shot, the second one continues on and detonates.

    As for arty- well what is it they need their arty to do? I mean a modern system can probably range most of the country from any location within the borders, it’s so small.

  2. Armor raises the bar for the minimum strength that the attacker must use in order to be effective. So to defeat the heavy armor of a tank you need some combination of high explosives, high speed, high mass. For the short term, yes active defenses look attractive, assuming that the attacking weapons continue to be optimized vs heavy armor, however in the long term it’s a self defeating cycle.

    Case in point, the current Navy is unarmored. A heavy machine gun can disable cruiser. There is no way that active defenses can defended a ship vs the whole range of possible attacks. Simply put once you reduce your static defenses to the point of ineffectiveness, there is no way for your active defenses to be capable enough to defend vs all threats.

    In other words, if you put a Aegis defense system on the battleship New Jersey, it would be invincible vs everything short of a nuke or a torpedo.

  3. That’s the direction the US Army was going with FCS — no heavy armor; focus on not being hit — until the reality of IEDs and the costs of active protection taught us otherwise.

  4. The only thing active defenses do with any reliability is to counter manpacked anti tank weapons. Mines, field expedients and traditional vehicular systems are a much more difficult proposition (how do you “pre-detonate a FSDS round with “buckshot” fired from a Trophy style system?)

    I know we currently have no scenarios for mid to high intensity armored combat but we’ve been surprised in the past. The only thing a nimble, active defense system armored vehicle would be is a target to a normal main battle tank. No chance of survival since all that nasty obsolete armor has been stripped off.

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