The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has revealed details of the next-generation evolution of its Merkava main battle tank that will be used in guerrilla warfare conditions.
According to the IDF’s report, the latest variant of an Israeli-made main battle tank in the Merkava family, called the Merkava Mark (Mk.) 4 Barak, is designed to counter contemporary challenges and to be used in guerrilla warfare conditions.
The Merkava Mk. 4 Barak main battle tank will be the first tank to have a smart mission computer that will manage the tanks’ tasks. This new addition will advance the Armored Corps’ operational capabilities and serve as an innovative weapon. The tank’s new elements include artificial intelligence, updated sensors, and VR capabilities.
This advanced artificial intelligence will reduce the team members’ workload and help them more accurately locate and strike targets.
“The advanced defense capabilities and the use of electronic means will prepare the combat soldiers to carry out missions according to the level of urgency,” said a senior official from the Armored Corps. “Along with all this, additional logistical improvements will also be introduced that will enable the tank to carry out missions that are up to 30% longer than current ones.”
Perhaps the most incredible advancement is that soldiers can learn how to use the tank via virtual reality (VR) simulation. As a part of The VR sessions will allow for soldiers to partake in real exercises at all times. This means that when soldiers need to use the Merkava Mk. 4 Barak they will be more prepared than ever before.
“The helmet is called Iron View, and it will allow the combat soldiers to see the outside environment from inside the combat vehicle,” said a senior official from the Armored Corps. “The sensors will allow the combat soldiers to operate the tank in a simple and advanced way, and will contribute to its defense – both physically and technologically.”
The Iron View, developed by Elbit Systems, is an aerial Helmet-Mounted Displays (HMDs) technology into the armored vehicle, IronVision generates an image that enables the crew to ‘see through’ armored shields.
This new system helping the crew overcome inherent visibility limitations, while improving mission efficiency and safety.
The system transmits real-time, zero-latency, high-resolution video to the commander and/or driver display, providing them with a natural, bi-ocular, colored, HD conformal view of the vehicle’s surroundings, together with relevant symbology and C4I data. At the click of a button, the video feed can be switched to display weapon sights, UAV’s or any other video source.
According to the Elbit Systems, the IronVision uses pre-loaded terrain and obstacle information combined with smart, intuitive symbology and data anchoring, to display all the information required, simultaneously to the various crew members. Leading HMD technology and an advanced distortion-correction algorithm eliminate visual distortions and resulting motion sickness often caused by the moving armored vehicle.
Also noted that in 2018 alone, the Armored Corps struck approximately 30 different pieces of terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The Armored Corps has played a significant and decisive role in every war that Israel has fought. Soldiers in the corps serve in a wide range of positions from those inside the tank to outside, accompanying tanks into battle. While their responsibilities may differ, the many of the corps’ soldiers work with the Merkava 4, which was developed in Israel in the 1970s. Since then, there have been many changes to the tank, including the recent addition of the Barak system, which will propel Israel’s ground capabilities into the future.
“The Armored Corps concludes a significant period of operational successes in various regions, which proves the relevance of the corps in protecting the security of the State of Israel and its civilians,” continued the senior official from the Armored Corps. “The new tank brings the Armored Corps a step forward in the operational arena, and constitutes an innovative weapon that will change the face of the combat on the ground.”