The IDF performed various modifications to its
Merkava Mk 3 tanks, specially designed for MOUT combat. The tank was fitted with marking poles, which assist
the commander and driver in movement in narrow streets, minimizing
damages to surrounding structures. To
eliminate the chance of individuals planting
explosive charges into the air intakes, wire meshes were added to
close such openings, as well as protecting the optic sights. A redesigned commander's cupola was also installed,
offering supperior visibility at higher elevation. The external 0.5"
machine gun, mounted on top of the main gun was linked to the fire
control system and can now be fired by electrical actuation under
armor. The IDF
realized that the 0.5" is more effective in urban warfare. A firing hatch
and observation window was also opened in the rear access door,
where a sniper or sharpshooter can operate, from a protected
position. The tank can use less than lethal stun cartridge,
designed for effect at a range of up 30 meters. Another system
demonstrated for the first time at LIC-2004 is a 360 degrees
omni-directional panoramic camera alerting
the crew, when closed down, on any suspicious activity around the tank. The
system can be utilized in combat situations, securing tanks in
positions as well as protecting armor in parking area.
LIC modifications were demonstrated on Merkava Mk 4 during
LIC-2005. These modifications included the protection of optronics,
including the commander's panoramic sight, and the installation of
a rammer in the front of the tank. Installation of an add-on belly
armor protection is also optional, when required.
Additional modifications transforming the Merkava into an armored
medical evacuation vehicle were provided for several Merkava Mk 3
tanks operating in the Gaza strip. The modification includes
permanent attachments installed in the rear compartment, for two
stretchers, lighting equipment and mountings for intensive care
equipment, including controlled ventilation, oxygen, suction, IV
and monitoring gear.
ambulance-tank enables the evacuation of two wounded soldiers on
field stretchers, accompanied by two medical personnel. The
modifications do not effect the combat performance of the modified
An internal view (below) of the
Ambulance tank - viewed through the rear hatch (model).