Further improving the crew and commander's
operational capability under armor protection, the commander's
position has been augmented by a ring of panoramic vision blocks that
provide a wide field of view. The addition of an independent
commander's sight fitted with a thermal imaging system, and its own
full capability fire control computer, enables the commander and
gunner to simultaneously and independently engage two disparate
targets, thus multiplying the tank's observation and fire coverage
Further protection for the crew was considered by employing
safety seat systems, to protect the crew from side and bottom mine
and IED blasts as well as reducing stress and fatigue during long
duration missions. Several types of seats were tested in Merkava Mk4.
The driver's and commander's
seats utilized elevated designs, while the loader and gunner's seat positions
fixed. However, seats are not used in serial production tanks. Autoflug safety seats are also being considered for use with
the new Namer and various wheeled APCs under development by the IDF.
A remotely controlled weapon station mounting a 7.62 machine gun and a
coaxial M2 heavy 12.7 mm machine gun above the main gun are also fully
integrated into, and controlled through, the existing fire control
system, enabling the Merkava crew to use either machine gun as a high
powered sniper rifle for optimal pinpoint effect and accuracy at
medium and short range.
The 60mm ‘under armor mortar’ will also be linked into the fire
control system in order to provide automatic aiming and the use of
extended range ammunition as part of the telescopic development
Introduction of the new IMI Kalanit 120mm Anti-Personnel-Anti-Material
(APAM) round for the main gun will further enhance the tank's ability
to engage dispersed infantry, buildings, and fortified structures as
well as helicopters.
A new addition,
specifically designed for urban warfare, is the sniper's position
located at the rear access door. Firing through the protected porthole
window a sniper can engage approaching tank killer teams advancing
towards the vehicle's most vulnerable area. Other improvements,
designed specifically for urban combat include a rammer, which enables
the tank to safely knock down obstructions, avoiding damage to the gun
or optronics. A pre-installed tow chain harness is also used, to
facilitates extraction and recovery of a disabled tank by another tank
or a bulldozer, without exposing the crew.