The Israeli Ministry of Defense plans to begin the series production of the upgraded version of the Merkava MBT before the end of the year. The first upgraded tanks will be delivered to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in mid-2023.
Israeli defence sources say that the new tank will be capable of performing multiple missions in the fast-evolving “war zone” that turns the MBT into a first-priority target for the enemy.
Most of the new features that are being developed for the upgraded version are highly classified.
According to defence sources, the Merkava 4 “Barak” (Lightening) – dubbed Merkava 5 – will be equipped with an improved Trophy APS system made by Rafael and a commander helmet that will prioritize the relevant data gathered by the tank’s own sensors and other in the battle area.
The new version will also have a system that will automatically fire on targets that pose danger to the tank, like units that launch anti-tank missiles.
An advanced main computer will give the tank’s crew the ability to focus on the most relevant targets while sharing the data with other tanks and other units on the ground and in the air.
Some of the new systems to be integrated into the “Barak” are based on the combat suit developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), for an advanced armored fighting vehicle. Others will be modified for the new version of the Merkava 4.
The “Iron Vision” commander helmet will have, according to the sources, the capability to get a 360 degrees view and as mentioned before combat data from the tanks; own sensors and others,
The sources added that the system has the ability to locate and destroy time-sensitive targets with small footprints, through quick acquisition and effective engagement of targets.
Some of these systems were developed for an advanced armored fighting vehicle while others are specifically developed for the new version of the Merkava 4.
According to the IDF the tank crew will be able to use virtual reality (VR) simulation.