Three of the new Barak tanks at the Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate in Tel HaShomer. (Israeli Ministry of Defense)
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) unveiled a new version of the Merkava 4 main battle tank called the Barak on 19 September.
“The Barak tank incorporates ground-breaking technologies, which provide soldiers of the Armored Corps unique defensive and offensive capabilities that improve manoeuvrability tremendously,” an MoD statement quoted Ground Forces Commander Major General Tamir Yadai as saying.
The MoD released a video showing three completed Baraks at the Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate in Tel HaShomer and said the first new tanks were delivered to the 52nd Battalion of the 401st Armoured Brigade earlier in the month. It added that the Barak will replace the Merkava 4 as the main tank for the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF's) armoured forces.
A second video used computer-generated imagery (CGI) to explain the new features fitted to the Barak. These include new sights for the gunner and commander with advanced night-vision capabilities. The latter is slaved to the commander's helmet to provide 360° vision and augmented reality data when the hatches are closed. Elbit Systems identified this as its IronVision head-mounted display.
The commander also has a touchscreen, which appears to be the same Nir-Or display that is being fitted to the IDF's new Eitan and Namer infantry fighting vehicles.
The CGI video identified a sensor array on top of the gunner's sight as the Safir system, although this was not seen fitted to the tanks at Tel HaShomer or in photos of Baraks released by the MoD.
The new tanks also lacked the smoke grenade launchers and the .50 cal