|This page is about the Israeli SPAA Machbet. For other versions, see M113 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Machbet (מחבט; lit. Racquet) was an upgrade of the fleet of Hovets (M163 VADS) in service with the Israel Air Defense Command in the late 1990s to modernize the vehicle. The upgrade featured 4 all-aspect infrared-tracking Stinger missiles that allow it to engage long-range targets, and an IRST tracker that was more reliable than the AN/VPS-2 and also doesn't trigger aircraft RWR. These vehicles replaced the Hovet in service by 1998, and were deployed along the Purple Line (post-Six-Day War ceasefire line between Israel/Syria, de facto border line) until the Israel Air Defense Command was disbanded in 2006.
Introduced in Update "Wind of Change" alongside the initial Israeli tech tree, the overall dimensions of the Machbet is mostly identical to the Hovet. While players will quickly notice the disappearance of the radar rangefinder, the overall capability is now ensured by the new FLIR tracker with optical tracking capability and 4 FIM-92 Stingers to handle long-range (relative to the gun's <2 km range) targets. Players will soon get used to the performance of the Machbet, while enemies might underestimate the potential of these upgrades allowing the joint use of both surface-air missiles and a powerful rotary cannon.
Survivability and armour
Despite its thin armour, the Machbet has the particularity of being able to withstand some misplaced shots, but pay attention to HE shells that are able to destroy instantly the vehicle .
Beware also of tanks equipped with machine guns above 7.62 mm calibre, these tanks can easily penetrate the sides of the vehicle.
- Aluminium Alloy 5083
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 29-38 mm (44°) Front glacis
38 mm (26°) Lower glacis
| 44 mm Top
32 mm Bottom
|38 mm (9°)||10-38 mm|
|Turret|| 17 mm (17-18°) Turret front
150 mm Gun mantlet
|17 mm (12-19°)||17 mm (0-20°)||N/A|
While not being the fastest vehicle, especially while stock, the Machbet lack power in slope but on flat ground , he can handle himself pretty easily.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
The Machbet is equipped like the M163 with a 20 mm M168 VADS, or Vulcan air defence system. The M168 is a variant of the M61 cannon, which can be found in-game on vehicles such as the Japanese T-2, and the American F-4C Phantom II. Used initially during the Vietnam war, the M168 was a 20 mm air-cooled rotary cannon attached to a small turret on the Machbet. Dangerous to anything in the sky below 2 km, it will lock on and rip through anything in its path. Helicopter and plane will be crippled effectively.
|20 mm M168||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: · ·
- HEI: · · ·
- AP-I: · · ·
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|2||1 (+1)||0 (+2)||No|
The FIM-92 E and K are effective weapons but only under certain conditions. With turns at 10 G maximum, the missile will not be able to follow some aircraft unless the angle is favourable. Opportune moments to hit an aircraft are when it is facing directly towards the missile launcher or flying directly away from it. The K upgrade of the missile is more likely to hit due to its proximity fuse with a trigger radius of 5 m. Helicopters, on the other hand, have a good chance of being hit due to their low altitude. Without the use of countermeasures, the missile can be sure to hit a helicopter. However, missiles may have a hard time acquiring helicopters if they are low to the ground, and helicopters may use the terrain to mask themselves or evade incoming missiles.
|FIM-92 Stinger missile||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Usage in battles
By the time of Machbet's upgrade was done on IADC's fleet of Hovet in late-1990s, the world has already been evolved to the 4th generation jets with more than enough ordnances to take out Machbet at long distance; but if used cautiously against earlier jets with inferior electronics and aim for careless targets, Machbet could still serve the team well with its obsolete chassis.
After players researched Machbet from captured ZSU-23-4, they will soon meet their old-friend: another M163 VADS (Hovet). But when they first get their hands on the "new" vehicle, they can certainly find differences from Hovet - firstly, the iconic AN/VPS-2 tracking radar is now replaced by new opto-electronic trackers with FLIR cameras; secondly, there is a large, cubic box that housed 4 FIM-92 Stingers MANPADS. Some players will compare Machbet with SIDAM 25 (Mistral) or LAV-AD which also has similar configuration with guns and MAMPADS, but all these 3 vehicles have a common problem: they lack a search radar for sole operations (while Gepard 1A2 and PGZ04A have independent search and track devices) as they requires centralized command systems and datalink. So players will have to be extra cautious on enemy aircrafts; thanks to the new FLIR tracker, it now enjoys optical locking at up to 10 km without triggering enemy RWR, as well as its IR channel which boost target searching as player vehicles should be the hottest object both on ground and in the skies. But most of all, players would have to be aware on where enemy aircrafts usually appear (i.e. direction of enemy helipads and air respawns), be sure to utilize the advanced electronics onboard to seek for targets, alternatively asking for the help from allies especially other SPAAs with search radar can further boost the combat capabilities of Machbet; else, players should keep a ear on enemy engine sounds. Therefore, playing aggressively is not a viable option for Machbet; instead, using covers to conceal yourself from enemy visual, then wait for enemy aircrafts in missile/gun firing range is the way to earn victories against enemies. The firepower of M168 Vulcan can certainly shatter enemy in pieces while the Stingers can extend the firing radius up to 6 km (depending on target's heat signature); be sure to leave enough clearance and lead the missile before launching them as you only have 4 chances to hit enemies, hitting subsonic jets or those which have depleted their energy is the best way to score victories with maximum efficiency.
If there are no aerial targets, utilizing the AP belts on Machbet could still achieve some victories against enemy light vehicles or fellow SPAAs. Just make sure to pick the right target as MBTs at its tier is mostly immune to 20 mm autocannons; messing with MBTs which has pintle HMGs can grant Machbet a very quick demise due to the aluminum alloy chassis with little protection.
Pros and cons
- Access to capable FIM-92 Stinger missiles even when stock.
- FIM-92K missile an upgradeable option to enhance lethality due to proximity fuze.
- Have powerful 20 mm M168 for close-range protection against aircraft.
- Lightweight with good horsepower for good mobility
- Access to advanced electronics (LRF and thermal camera with optical tracking)
- Armour is thin and basically non-existent except against machine gun calibre rounds
- Stingers do not have sufficient overload to track fast, mobile targets
- 20 mm only useful within 2 km firing distance
- Lacks search radar for target acquisition, requires high situational awareness or help from radar-equipped vehicles
As the world entered the last decade of the 20th Century, the Hovet had already become obsolete against new aerial threats due to its inferior FCS and lack of missiles. Thus, IAI planned for an upgrade to the fleet of Hovets with modernized FLIR tracking systems and FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS; this upgrade also introduced GPS and the "Hermit" (הרמיט) computerized command system for battery vehicles with all-in-one display of radar signals and video display from command systems via a military-grade briefcase laptop.
The upgraded vehicles replaced Hovet in border air-defense by 1998 and served with the Israel Air Defense Command until its disbandment in 2006. 
After the M163 VADS began being decommissioned from American service, the vehicle was heavily exported to foreign operators. Israel was one of several states which adopted the M163 VADS into its own military under the name 'Hovet' in the early 1980s. By the early 1990s however, it was realized that the system required modernization. As such, the IAI company was tasked with developing an upgrade package.
Together with General Dynamics, IAI upgraded the Hovet's fire control system and equipped the vehicle with a Stinger missile launcher, in an effort to increase the vehicle's effectiveness against low-flying jet aircraft. Following successful testing of the prototype in 1997, the vehicle was formally accepted into service with the IDF under the name 'Machbet' in 1998. In the upcoming years, several of the older Hovets were modernized to the Machbet standard. However, the Machbet only saw a short service life with the IDF. Because of changing tasks and requirements, the Machbet was officially withdrawn from active service in 2006.
- Related development
|Israel Aerospace Industries ()|
|Jet Fighters||Nesher · Kfir Canard · Kfir C.2 · Kfir C.7|
|Israel anti-aircraft vehicles|
|M163 derivatives||Hovet · Machbet · Imp.Chaparral|
|Captured||ZSU-57-2 · ZSU-23-4|