Merkava Mk.3B

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This page is about the Israeli medium tank Merkava Mk.3B. For other versions, see Merkava (Family).
il_merkava_mk_3b.png
GarageImage Merkava Mk.3B.jpg
Merkava Mk.3B
AB RB SB
11.0 11.0 11.0
Class:
Research:300 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:830 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
Show in game

Description

The Merkava Mk.3B is the first subvariant of the Merkava Mk.3, which is the third variant of the Merkava main battle tank family. The Merkava Mk.3 variant debuted in December 1989 and remained in production until 2003. The Merkava 3 variant is by far the most numerous tank in frontline Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) duty as of 2016. It has improvements to the drivetrain, powerplant, weaponry, and electronic systems over the Merkava Mk.2 variant. The inclusion of the domestically designed 120 mm IMI L/44 tank gun (no relation to the 120 mm Rheinmetall L/44 tank gun) was the most noticeable upgrade. This gun is capable of firing all standard NATO 120 mm ammunition. Historically, it can fire gun-launched LAHAT anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) like regular rounds directly from the 120 mm cannon. The vehicle has 50 rounds for the main tank gun and ammunition is kept in its own fireproof canisters. The tank gun and a more powerful 1,200-horsepower Continental AVDS-1790-9AR diesel engine increased the tank's total weight to 65 tonnes; however, the larger engine also increased the maximum cruising speed to 60 kilometres/hour. The turret was also redesigned to move independently of the tank chassis, allowing it to track a target regardless of how the tank moved. The Merkava Mk.3B subvariant received an upgrade that included the installation of modular composite armour across the turret roof to provide protection against anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) fired from elevated positions. It was implemented in 1994 and was kept in all further upgrades.

Introduced in Update "Danger Zone", the Merkava Mk.3B has significantly more firepower than prior variants. The Merkava Mk.3B is the first Merkava main battle tank to be equipped with the potent 120 mm IMI L/44 tank gun which has an excellent APFSDS round. The far more powerful 1,200-horsepower Continental AVDS-1790-9AR diesel engine improves mobility significantly. This enables players to reach crucial positions considerably faster than before, allowing players to get into position first and giving them a significant advantage in the fast-paced battles of modern warfare.

General info

Survivability and armour

Smoke grenades
Creation of a smoke screen in front of the vehicle
ESS
Creation of a smoke screen in the direction of movement of the vehicle
LWS
Notifies about the vehicle's exposure to laser emissions
Armourfront / side / back
Hull90 / 50 / 30
Turret150 / 65 / 65
Crew4 people
Visibility107 %

Despite the hull armour being rather weak, the large engine, transmission and fuel tank along with the plethora of additional internal armour will reduce spall from enemy APFSDS rounds and decrease the damage of chemical rounds significantly. The turret also features armour that can easily bounce enemy darts and protect your vehicle from fragmentation shells due to the extreme angle of the armour as well as the 50 mm composite armour all over the front part of the roof.

The rear of the vehicle is also rather strong, featuring two 30 mm plates with an external fuel tank between them that can sometimes minimize the spalling of incoming rounds or stop low calibre APDS shells (e.g. autocannons), giving players a short amount of time to react and address the threat.

The turret also features a layout that even when penetrated can save the gunner or loader from getting hit by spall because of how low they are placed. The commander will usually be the first crew member to be knocked out, being the most exposed crew member of your tank. The turret ring is a very large weakspot with a well-placed shot under the gun having the potential of knocking out the crew.

Armour type:

  • Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, Hull front, Gun mantlet)
  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull sides and rear)
  • Composite screens (Turret front and sides, Hull front and sides)
  • External composite armour with NERA elements (Hull front)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 60 mm (66-84°) Front glacis
50-90 mm (36-60°) Lower glacis
50 (12°) + 10 mm Top
50 mm (12°) Bottom
30 mm (0-39°) 20 - 60 mm
Turret 150 - 300 mm Turret front
~150 mm Gun mantlet
50-60 mm 40-45 mm 20-40 mm
Cupola 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm

Notes:

  • Tracks and roadwheels consist of 20 mm of structural steel of chassis.
  • Front of the turret composite screen armour features 40 mm of NERA elements.
  • Side of the turret composite screen armour features 250 mm of NERA elements.
  • 50 mm Additional composite screens at the top of the turret.
  • 10 mm of internal armour are located in front and behind the engine and transmission.
  • ~60 mm Composite screens covering the top of the tracks and suspension.
  • Two 30 mm plates spaced 900 m from each other at the rear of the hull.
  • First stage ammunition storage is inside a 10 mm thick fireproof container.
  • Ammo is stored in 10 mm canisters.

A plus of having the ammunition stored the fireproof canisters is that the ammunition will not "cook-off" and explode when the tank is on fire. However, do not forget the importance of extinguishing a fire, or else the vehicle will burn out after a surprisingly short amount of time.

The composite screens on the sides of the tank can be useful for absorbing autocannon fire, albeit for a very short amount of time.

Mobility

Speedforward / back
AB67 / 29 km/h
RB and SB60 / 26 km/h
Number of gears8 forward
4 back
Weight65.0 t
Engine power
AB2 290 hp
RB and SB1 200 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB35.2 hp/t
RB and SB18.5 hp/t

Despite the rather large size of the vehicle, it is quite mobile. It features a 1200 horsepower engine featuring an 18.5 horsepower/ton ratio that allows it to accelerate to its top speed of 60 km/h on a paved road within 20 seconds. The vehicle also features two reverse gears with a top reverse speed of 26 km/h, which is useful for getting out of a sticky situation quickly. The vehicle features neutral steering ~15 seconds for a full 360 degree turn on the spot.

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 67 29 65 1,860 2,290 28.62 35.23
Realistic 60 26 1,061 1,200 16.32 18.46

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB4 216 → 6 657 Sl icon.png
RB4 147 → 6 548 Sl icon.png
SB4 878 → 7 702 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications241 000 Rp icon.png
411 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 900 Ge icon.png
Crew training240 000 Sl icon.png
Experts830 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 100 Ge icon.png
Research Aces1 140 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
150 / 200 / 230 % Sl icon.png
238 / 238 / 238 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Tracks
Research:
18 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
28 000 Sl icon.png
460 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Suspension
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
Filters
Research:
16 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
25 000 Sl icon.png
410 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Transmission
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Engine
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
Research:
5 400 Rp icon.png
Cost:
28 000 Sl icon.png
460 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
Research:
3 600 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement il.png
Crew Replenishment
Research:
16 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
25 000 Sl icon.png
410 Ge icon.png
Mods engine smoke screen system.png
ESS
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods smoke screen.png
Smoke grenade
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Research:
18 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
28 000 Sl icon.png
460 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods counterMeasures.png
LWS/LR
Research:
12 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
19 000 Sl icon.png
310 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Research:
16 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
25 000 Sl icon.png
410 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
120mm_NATO_APDS_FS_ammo_pack
Research:
16 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
25 000 Sl icon.png
410 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods thermal sight.png
NVD
Research:
14 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
22 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png

Prioritize the researching of the "Parts" modification first, LWR/LR, FPE, M322 (APFSDS), NVD, and then the remainder of the gun/performance upgrades.

Armaments

Laser rangefinder
Reduces the error and increases the maximum measurable distance of the rangefinder
Night vision device
Improves visibility by enhancing natural light or active illumination.
Thermal imager
Allows to see thermal radiation in the infrared range day and night

Main armament

Two-plane stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in two planes while moving
Ammunition46 rounds
First-order5 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
7.8 → 6.0 s
Vertical guidance-7° / 20°
Main article: IMI MG251 (120 mm)
120 mm IMI MG251 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 46 -7°/+20° ±180° Two-plane 32.4 44.8 54.4 60.2 64.0 7.80 6.90 6.36 6.00
Realistic 20.2 23.8 28.9 32.0 34.0

The 120 mm MG151 cannon is the main selling point of the third generation Merkavas. Distinct from the Rheinmetall 120 mm gun used by NATO MBTs with a larger breech and fume extractor, it's capable of firing very powerful APFSDS rounds and a unique time-fused HE. However, the Merkava installation has less gun depression than the Abrams or Leopard 2 at -7 degrees, a small ready rack of only 5 rounds, and a reload speed topping out at 6 seconds that makes it a less efficient pure gun platform than the contemporary M1A1 Abrams for example.

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M325 HEATFS 480 480 480 480 480 480
M339 HE-TF 65 65 60 58 53 50
M322 APFSDS 589 586 577 565 553 541
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
M325 HEATFS 1,078 15.81 0.05 0.1 2.36 65° 72° 77°
M339 HE-TF 900 17 1.5 3 3.66 79° 80° 81°
M322 APFSDS 1,705 5.6 - - - 78° 80° 81°

The Merkava Mk.3B has three choices of 120 mm rounds that are part of the arsenal of all subsequent Merkavas. The stock M325 HEAT-FS has the same penetration and TNT equivalent as the standard NATO DM12 shell with a slightly lower muzzle velocity. It has acceptable performance against soft targets but struggles against contemporary ERA and composite armour, and thus should be used for opportunistic attacks during the stock grind. Soviet MBTs with side ERA can be especially difficult to deal with because even basic Kontakt-1 can stop M325's 480 mm of HEAT penetration from angled side shots. 2.36 kg of TNT equivalent is enough to trigger overpressure damage on thin-skinned vehicles.

The M332 APFSDS (also exported as CL3143 and slpprj m/95) is the main anti-tank tool. 589 mm of flat penetration and 340 mm at 60 degrees is commendable, and while it falls slightly short of the M1A1 Abram's M829A1, the difference is small and M332 holds tangible advantages in other respects. Among NATO darts, the 1705 m/s muzzle velocity is one of the fastest and the 5.6 kg projectile mass is in top place. M332 still doesn't have enough penetration to simply point-and-click against the frontal armour of contemporary tanks without thinking about weak spots, but it is likely to generate lots of spalling whenever it penetrates a target.

The M339 HE-TF is a unique and interesting shell. The majority of NATO MBTs in War Thunder are not given HE shells at all and the time fuse set with the laser rangefinder might seem like a gimmick for swatting hovering helicopters and harassing soft targets hidden behind cover. But M339 has a few fun features: first, it has a delayed impact fuse that allows it to penetrate up to 65 mm of RHA through kinetic effects only before the HE fragment penetration is factored in. Second, the 4.77 kg of TNT equivalent is the highest of any NATO HE round, leading to fragment penetration of 39 mm (still less than Soviet/Chinese HE shells but not bad) and increasing the power of airburst detonations. Third, it has a long fuse delay of 1.5 meters. Because of these factors, M339 is deceptively powerful against armoured targets despite what the statcard might suggest: it can be used as a oversize SAP shell, punching through side skirts, roadwheels, and thin side armour to detonate inside a target, at which point it will wipe out everything inside. Even if angling prevents the round from penetrating the crew compartment, the explosion's 39 mm of penetration triggering on impact with the side armour can still cause overpressure knockouts. M339 can destroy heavily protected MBTs by shooting roadwheels from almost any angle, sometimes even from the front through the tracks.

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the Merkava Mk.3B
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
46 45 (+1) 43 (+3) 42 (+4) 24 (+22) (+40) (+45) No

The ammunition should be relatively safe from enemy tanks as the majority of the rounds are stored at the very back of the tank in two large ammo racks. Carrying 20 APFSDS for tanks and 4 HE-VT rounds for helicopters should be good enough for the average battle. Carry more APFSDS if fighting on an open, long-range map that requires more sniping (Maginot Line, 2nd Battle of El Alamein, etc.)

Machine guns

Ammunition1 000 rounds
Belt capacity200 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate575 shots/min
Ammunition6 000 rounds
Belt capacity200 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate960 shots/min
Ammunition3 600 rounds
Belt capacity200 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate960 shots/min

The 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted directly above the 120 mm cannon. It is useful for lightly armoured vehicles, taking out low-flying planes and helicopters, and disabling the tracks on enemy tanks. Note that the commander does not have to be alive to control the 12.7 mm (not commander-mounted) so you can fire even with a crew of 2-3 members.

12.7 mm M2HB
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 1,000 (200) 575 - -
7.62 mm FN MAG 60-40
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 6,000 (200) 960 - -
Pintle (loader) 1,800 (200) 960 -10°/+50° -120°/+90°
Pintle (commander) 1,800 (200) 960 -10°/+50° ±120°

Usage in battles

Ground Realistic Battles

In RB, this vehicle can be used effectively to snipe (ideally in a hull-down position) using its amazing penetration at all ranges, laser rangefinder, generation 1 thermal optics and amazing zoom (gunner and commander), while exposing your turret and hiding your rather weak hull increases your survivability significantly.

The vehicle's good gun handling and mobility also allow for close quarters fights but your turret being placed so far back can lead to you being trapped having your front exposed to an enemy unable to shoot back and also your gun reload (6.7 seconds max crew) being slower than others of its type (6 seconds max crew) can lead to situations where you might not be able to shoot back fast enough if the first shot was not enough.

Do not be afraid to use the 12 smoke grenades you have available in 6 salvos of two in two launchers located at the front of the turret which are airburst-capable and 30 smoke grenades in a single smoke grenade launcher located over your loader. The Merkava also has an ESS which can provide a large smoke screen, but keep in mind that thermals will be able to "see" through ESS, leaving the tank vulnerable.

The good crew placement of the Merkava allows for a little wiggle room when being shot, chances are if the enemy tank shoots "centre of mass" or at the driver/engine the tank will still have 2-3 crew left to fight back. Cooperate with teammates so they can help you repair if needed.

Do not forget that your vehicle also features a total of four machine guns, one of them being a .50 calibre M2 Browning mounted over your main gun with a generous supply of ammunition that are more than capable of sending enemy helicopters and low flying aircraft to the hangar while also being able to inflict damage to tracks of other vehicles and being able to knock out light vehicles from the side or rear. The other 3 machine guns are only 7.62mm in calibre and most of the time only useful for clearing obstructions or marking enemies.

Ground Arcade Battles

The Merkava has a higher top speed and quicker reaction time in Arcade battles where mobility stats and gun traverse/elevation speeds are increased, while repair speeds are decreased. The penetration indicator will assist you showing where you need to shoot and there is an aiming indicator compensating for distance. However, you will be shown on the minimap and enemies will be able to spot the tank faster as players are marked with their username above the tank. Shoot first, and don't miss. The crew placement will also allow you to survive some shots as inexperienced enemies will see that the entire front of the hull is "penetrable" and shoot there, not knowing that the main gun/gunner will not be damaged.

Most of the strategies used in Realistic battles will also apply to Arcade battles.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 120 mm IMI L/44 cannon is a significant upgrade from previous 105mm armed tanks.
  • APFSDS easily penetrates enemies (589mm max) and produces more spall compared to the 105mm armed Merkavas.
  • Good optics, helpful when sniping from long ranges.
  • Crew placement increases survivability, decreasing the chance of a full knockout from one shot.
  • M2 Browning does not require the commander to be alive to fire.
  • Lot of smoke grenades to provide quick and effective cover from enemies.

Cons:

  • Weak armour throughout, excellent survivability comes with the cost of armour protection
  • Frontal engine placement, inconvenient to repair and will usually be one of the first things to be damaged when shot.
  • Turret ring is a huge weak spot and any round that penetrates here will usually knockout the tank.
  • Rear turret placement; being shot sometimes leaves the front of the tank exposed but the turret blocked behind an obstacle (peeking around a corner).
  • No thermals for the commander sight.

History

Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the vehicle in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the vehicle and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Vehicle-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />. This section may also include the vehicle's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under === In-game description ===, also if applicable).

Media

Skins

See also

External links


Israeli Ordnance Corps (חיל החימוש)
Medium Tanks  M-51 · M-51 (W)
MBTs 
Magach  Magach 1 · Magach 2 · Magach 3 · Magach 3 (ERA) · ▃Magach 3 (ERA) · Magach 5
  Magach 6 · Magach 6A · Magach 6B · Magach 6C · Magach 6R · Magach 6M · Gal Batash
Sho't  Sho't · Sho't Kal Alef · Sho't Kal Gimel · Sho't Kal Dalet · ▄Sho't Kal Dalet
Tiran  Tiran 4 · Tiran 4S
Merkava  ▃Merkava Mk.1 · Merkava Mk.1B · Merkava Mk.2B · ▃Merkava Mk.2B · Merkava Mk.2D
  Merkava Mk.3B · Merkava Mk.3C · ▃Merkava Mk.3D · Merkava Mk.4B · Merkava Mk.4M
Tank destroyers  Zachlam Tager
See Also  Chrysler Defense · Department of Tank Design · Morozov Design Bureau

Israel medium tanks
M-51  M-51 · M-51 (W)
Magach  Magach 1 · Magach 2 · Magach 3 · Magach 3 (ERA) · Magach 5 · Magach 6
  Magach 6A · Magach 6B · Magach 6B Gal · Gal Batash · Magach 6C · Magach 6M · Magach 6R · Magach Hydra · Magach 7C
Tiran  Tiran 4 · Tiran 4S
Sho't  Sho't · Sho't Kal Alef · Sho't Kal Gimel · Sho't Kal Dalet
Merkava  Merkava Mk.1B · Merkava Mk.2B · Merkava Mk.2D · Merkava Mk.3B · Merkava Mk.3C · Raam Segol
  Merkava Mk.4B · Merkava Mk.4M · Merkava Mk.4 LIC