Merkava 5 Tank "Barak"

The most advanced: the IDF unveils the new tank - the Barak (lightning)

Today, the Ministry of Defense is unveiling the IDF's newest battle tank - the Barak. The advanced tank will have improved digital capabilities with a pilot's helmet, surrounded shielding and the possibility of conducting warfare in closed racks. Watch

The Barak Tank (Photo: Ministry of Defense and IDF spokesman)

After more than five years of development and production, the Ministry of Defense and the IDF unveil Israel's new advanced tank - the Barak. The first tanks have already been integrated into the 52nd Battalion of the 401st Brigade, and the IDF says that this is the tank of the future.

The Barak is the IDF's first Tier 5 battle tank, developed by the Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with the Armaments Department of the Land Arm and the Armored Corps. The tank integrates systems from Israeli defense companies: Elbit Systems, Rafael, the Elta Division of the Aerospace Industry, and more.

In 2015, they began to conceive the Barak tank - the operational need, thinking about the changing enemy, and more. Throughout 2016, an engineering process has already begun to analyze new systems and a characterization process with industries. In 2018, the development of the Lightning began, and after two years, technical experiments began. In 2021, the first techno-operational tests began. In 2023 - the first instruments were received.

AI crewman pilot's helmet

The exposure, operation, and processing capabilities in Barak will be a real revolution on the battlefield. The commander will be equipped with a combat helmet developed by Elbit Systems, similar to pilot helmets, which will display on the reflector, all the relevant combat data when they are anchored in the combat space.

The system will allow 360-degree scanning by moving the head and locating targets in real-time, with the help of this will be added improved tank and gun sights with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, advanced observation, and night capabilities, with an improved reticle.

IDF tanks (Photo: Ministry of Defense and IDF spokesman)
the Barak tank (Photo: Ministry of Defense and IDF spokesman)
IDF Tanks (Photo: Ministry of Defense and IDF spokesman)

Fighting in closed shelves

In addition to the tank, there are new capabilities that will allow the tank crew to fight in closed ranges, with better protection throughout the fighting, partly thanks to the advanced defense system 'wind jacket' manufactured by Rafael, whose role is to deal with anti-tank missiles. The tank's fire capabilities have also undergone a significant upgrade.

The lightning tank will enhance the enemy's exposure capabilities and will enable combat against an enemy with a low signature and in all combat descriptions on the current and future battlefield, against the set of threats that exist for the maneuvering force. The Barak will be equipped with a commander's sight and a gunner and with continuous and up-to-date intelligence collection, fusion, and sharing capabilities.

The Barak tank will allow the battalion combat team to fight continuously at a fast pace while exposing the enemy, combined with the activation of independent, organic, or spatial fire, which will increase the lethality and achievements of the combat team. The Barak ('Lightning') tank has capabilities and means to close circles of fire between all the forces fighting on land and in the air, in a way that will reduce time and increase accuracy in battle.

Building a target bank in real-time

The Barak ('Lightning') Tank will have the ability to quickly produce and extract information and transfer it to attack assemblies, as part of a target bank, as well as the ability to transfer intelligence in real time between the arms. For this purpose, the Barak tank was equipped with a wide and reliable sensor infrastructure, which will allow it to grasp an area more deeply, acquire targets in the environment, and close circles of fire in short and precise times. The Barak tank will be equipped with advanced connectivity capabilities for other tanks and weapons on the battlefield. The Barak tank will also be equipped with touch screens, similar to smartphone devices, and the use of unique applications with simple operation for the conscript generation, which will allow easy and accessible operation for the tank crew.

Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant: "How symbolic that in the days when we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and the heroic battles fought during it by the armored fighters in defense of our country, we receive further proof of the relevance and power of the tank as a fundamental and decisive factor in land maneuvering. The innovative era that the Barak Tank brings to the IDF is an extraordinary leap forward as well as a clear expression of the technological capabilities that return and guarantee the IDF's qualitative advantage every time - in defense and attack. Much appreciation for the engineers of the Tank program administration, the land arm, and all the personnel. The profession of the great partners in the mission.'

Director General of the Ministry of Defense, Major General (Ret.) Eyal Zamir: "For the past four decades, Merkava tanks have formed the backbone of the Armored Corps and combat on land, today we are entering a new era on the land battlefield, the Age of Barak (Lightning). The Barak tank is the most advanced fighting machine of its kind in the world, which will bring to the IDF, the ground arm and the armored fighters' fire capabilities, intelligence, connectivity between tools, and active defense, groundbreaking in the modern battlefield. Merkava Industries, who together made the technological leap. On this occasion, it is necessary to mention "Talik", Major Israel Tal, the father of the Merkava project, and the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Yom Kippur War, thanks to whose vision we are privileged today to inaugurate the fifth generation of Merkava model battle tanks.

Commander of the 401st Brigade, Col. Beni Aharon: "For the past year, the 401st Brigade has been dealing with the absorption and assimilation of the Barak tank in the brigade. The brigade invested in learning the capabilities of the tank in front the combat nature of it and its use in battle, in the training of the crew members and those in charge, and in the cooperation of the tank with other advanced armored vehicles, such as advanced armored personnel carriers. The absorption of the tank is a tremendous opportunity to improve operational effectiveness in preparation for the next campaign and a significant force multiplier for the IDF, the Land Arm, and the Armored Corps. The 401st Brigade sees the deployment of the Barak tank as a historic event and a national mission for victory in the next campaign. We were privileged to be the first armored brigade to receive the Barak tank and therefore a great responsibility rests on our shoulders - our mission is to fulfill it with distinction.'

The Barak tank - technical data and background information:

Ability to fight in closed racks - the entire crew, including the tank commander will be protected throughout the fighting.

The tank commander will have an Iron Vision helmet at his disposal, which is currently under development, with which he will be able to see what is happening outside through an improved helmet that will reduce the threats of sniping on the battlefield.

Image processing capabilities and use of advanced artificial intelligence for immediate extraction - fifth team member.

Active protection system "wind jacket" with fast capabilities for generating information.

Advanced day and night observation capabilities, turret cameras, security cameras, and perimeter protection.

A commander controller and a gunner controller allow control of turret arming, firing, and range measurement by their hands.

Improving the ability to observe and reveal the enemy.

High connectivity capability with the variety of forces in the combat space. Link to additional forces through the 'DLA 750' system.

A wide sensor infrastructure that allows you to "grasp" the field more reliably and deeply.

An improved gunner's sight called "Leshem", has advanced day and night observation capabilities.

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