Top Ten Main Battle Tanks #5

     Merkava Mark IV (Israel)

Some features, such as hull shaping, exterior non-reflective paints, and shielding for engine heat plumes mixing with air particles to confuse enemy thermal imagers, were carried over from the IAI Lavi program of the Israeli Air Force to make the tank harder to spot by heat sensors and radar.

The Mark IV includes the larger 120 mm main gun of the previous versions, but can fire a wider variety of ammunition, including HEAT and sabot rounds like the APFSDS kinetic energy penetrator, using an electrical semi-automatic revolving magazine for 10 rounds. It also includes a much larger 12.7 mm machine gun for anti-vehicle operations (most commonly used against technicals)


Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Israel
Service history
In service 1979–present
Used by Israel Defense Forces
Wars 1982 Lebanon War, South Lebanon conflict, 2006 Lebanon War, First Intifada, Second Intifada, Gaza War,Operation Pillar of Defense, Operation Protective Edge
Production history
Designer MANTAK
Manufacturer MANTAK/IDF Ordnance Corps (assembly)
Unit cost Est. $6 million
Produced Since 1974
Number built (As of March 2012)
Mark I: 250
Mark II: 580
Mark III: 780
Mark IV: 360 (another ~300 on order)
Weight 65 tonnes (143,000 pounds)
Length 9.04 m or 29.7 ft (incl. gun barrel)
7.60 m or 24.9 ft (excl. gun barrel)
Width 3.72 m or 12.2 ft (excl. skirts)
Height 2.66 m or 8.7 ft (to turret roof)
Crew 4 (commander, driver, gunner, and loader)
Passengers Maximum 6 passengers
Armor Classified composite/sloped armour modular design.
120 mm (4.7 in) MG253 smoothbore gun, capable of firing LAHAT ATGM
1 × 12.7 mm (0.50 in) MG
2 × 7.62 mm (0.300 in) MG
1 × 60 mm (2.4 in) internal mortar
12 smoke grenades
Engine 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) turbocharged diesel engine
Power/weight 23 hp/tonne
Payload capacity 48 rounds
Transmission Renk RK 325
Suspension Helical spring
Ground clearance 0.45 m (1.5 ft)
Fuel capacity 1,400 litres
500 km (310 mi)
Speed 64 km/h (40 mph) on road
55 km/h (34 mph) off road