IDF Armor Merkava Tank Crew Undergoing Proficiency Course

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Merkava Mk 4B of the 401 Armored Brigade opens fire on the gunnery range in the Golan Heights, the brigade was one of seven units competing for the annual Armor Proficiency trophy. Photo: Tamir Eshel

Defense Update is visiting the IDF Armor Proficiency competition today at the Golan Heights.

Tank and recce crews from Seven brigades operating Merkava Mk 2, 3 and 4 and M60 mark 8 (Magach 8 ) are taking part in the competition, rated for best performance in a number of areas. Competitions included crew proficiency, navigation, handling targets with Battle Management Systems (BMS) and gunnery, against short range (infantry, anti tank) and long range (up to five kilometers). The rainy day, deep mud and limited visibility did not deter the crews, which performed their mission as expected. Tank gunnery training is being improving within IDF armored units, with the implementation of a ‘Master Gunner’ course, qualifying gunnery experts in battalions and brigades, responsible for developing gunner skills and gunnery expertise in operational units.

Merkava Mk 4B of the 401 Armored Brigade opens fire on the gunnery range in the Golan Heights, the brigade was one of seven units competing for the annual Armor Proficiency trophy. Photo: Tamir Eshel

On the tank display the armored corps unveiled the latest model of Merkava Mk 4M, which includes the Trophy active protection system as a standard, along with many small yet important ergonomic improvements.

A close-up showing the Trophy (ASPRO-A) active protection system installed on the Merkava Mk4M. The tank was one of five models taking part in the annual IDF Armor proficiency competition. Photo: Noam Eshel
The ASPRO-A (Trophy) APS showing all elements - the radar (scanted oval object in front), the auto-loader, the shield protecting the commander from possible fragments, and an inert training interceptor (painted blue). Photo: Tamir Eshel


Merkava Mk2 on the firing range. Photo: Noam Eshel
Merkava Mk3 firing. Photo: Noam Eshel
A Merkava Mk2 crewman loads a smoke canister prior to the assault phase of the exercise. Photo: Noam Eshel
Merkava Mk4M with Trophy APS. Photo: Noam Eshel
Rolled out of the assembly line only a week ago, the Merkava Mk4M, equipped with Trophy APS took part in the exercise, scoring high marks for gunnery, crew skills and BMS operations. Photo: Noam Eshel,
One of the operational Israeli armored corps reserve unit operating M-60 Mk 8 (Magach 8 ) took part in the exercise, demonstrating excellent gunnery skills, with this tank's 105mm cannon. The Magach is shown here maneuvering into a smoke cloud generated by injecting diesel into the engine exhaust, performing a classic maneuver in evading enemy fire. Photo: Tamir Eshel
Merkava Mk 2 tanks marking targets on the firing range. Gunnery target ranges varied for from few hundred meters to over five kilometers. Photo: Noam Eshel
Merkava Mk4B tank commander prepares for the firing course. Photo: Noam Eshel
Merkava Mk4B firing on the move in the Golan Heights. Photo: Tamir Eshel

Photos Credit: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update