Merkava Mk.3D (USA)
|This page is about the American medium tank Merkava Mk.3D (USA). For other versions, see Merkava (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Merkava Mk.3D is a significant step up from the previous Merkava Mk.2B. The turret has received add-on composite armour along the sides, creating a more flattened appearance. The most important change here is the new 120 mm smoothbore gun, capable of firing HEAT-FS, time-fused HE, and a very powerful M322 APFSDS round. The engine has also been strengthened to a healthy 1200 horsepower. The Mk.3D still suffers from the typical Merkava weaknesses of a large profile, substandard mobility, and somewhat unreliable armour. However, its punchy gun, good post-penetration survivability, and large array of tools allow it to be a formidable sniper and support tank.
Survivability and armour
- Cast homogeneous armour (Hull, turret)
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Sides)
- Composite screens* (Turret front, hull front left, sideskirts)
- with NERA elements**
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 60** mm (78-90°), 60 mm (66-73°) (+ 30* mm (74°) left) Upper glacis
90 mm (36°), 50 mm (59°) + 20 mm (60°) Lower glacis
|50 mm (12°) + 15 mm||30 mm (0-39°)||20 mm|
|Turret|| 170 mm + 40* mm (0-68°) Turret cheeks
30-400 mm (0-78°) + 100 mm Gun mantlet
40 mm (68-81°) + 50* mm (78°) Upper
|60 mm + 5 mm (0-60°)||40 mm|| 40 mm Front |
20 mm Rear
|Turret|| Turret front:|
200 mm Kinetic
1,500 mm Chemical
- Tracks are 30 mm thick
- Road wheels are 20 mm thick
The Merkava's armour does not quite live up to its aggressive appearance. The turret combines extreme angles with some composite armour and is capable of bouncing or absorbing incoming HEAT-FS rounds with some luck. Its protection against kinetic rounds is poor: the common 105 mm DM23 round is capable of penetrating large swathes of the frontal turret and will only struggle somewhat against the left turret cheek (right from an attacker's perspective) due to the overlapping armour segments and extreme angles. The hull has a similar combination of decent chemical protection and poor kinetic protection. 120 mm or 125 mm APFSDS as commonly used by German and Soviet tanks will typically have no issues penetrating the Merkava anywhere.
The Merkava does better in terms of post-penetration survivability. It is hard to destroy the Merkava in a single shot since the tank is rather roomy inside and the crew members are spread out. No ammunition is stored in the turret, so frontal turret penetrations are usually not fatal. Penetrating shots to the hull can sometimes be absorbed by the engine and transmission, but not always. There are fuel tanks on the upper hull sides and spaced armour in the rear that offer some chemical protection, but not enough to stop any tank cannons at the Merkava Mk.3D's rank.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
A tip for grinding it:
Unlock parts first, horizontal drive, FPE, Adjustment of fire then M322. Everything after these can be unlocked after.
The M322 round offers up to 625 mm of penetration, it is able to penetrate most tanks at distance with ease allowing for other parts to be unlocked faster.
|120 mm IMI MG251||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
The stock M325 HEAT-FS is a High Explosive Anti Tank Fin Stabilised round, with a velocity of 1,078 m/s and a TNT equivalent of 2.36 kg. This round provides a maximum penetration of 480 mm at all ranges, which is the standard for 120 mm HEAT-FS. To get the best from this round, you must aim for weakly armoured places on the enemy tank, generally the weakest places are the sides and rear of the enemy tank. At rank seven, most MBTs are heavily armoured with ERA plates or composite armour which can defeat chemical munitions with ease. It works quite nicely against light targets such as SPAAs since the explosive content can cause overpressure damage.
The also stock M339 HE-TF round is a High Explosive Timed Fused round, with a velocity of 900 m/s and a TNT equivalent of 3.66 kg. It is unique among HE rounds for having a fuse delay of 1.5 meters instead of exploding on impact. This means it behaves more like a SAP or APHE round, being capable of penetrating a target and exploding inside. A successful penetration in this manner will almost invariably wipe out the target. The maximum penetration of the round is given as 65 mm, but this is the armour thickness the round itself is capable of penetrating. The penetration of the explosive shrapnel is around 37 mm, a less impressive figure. Setting the distance fuse is accomplished by using the rangefinder. It is technically possible to use this airburst feature against ground targets hiding behind cover, but this is unlikely to amount to much against vehicles with more than paper-thin armour. The HE-TF round is the most useful for either destroying lightly armoured vehicles or alternatively for attacking helicopters that stray too close to the battlefield using the airburst function. In an emergency M339 can sometimes be used to attack the side armour or turret/hull roof armour of an enemy MBT but this should not be a first choice, considering that its penetration on impact is on the level of a reserve tank and its explosive content is less than Soviet or Chinese tanks.
The unlockable M322 APFSDS round is a Tier 3 upgrade and functionally identical to the CL3143 round used by the Italian Ariete. It one of the best rounds in the game, providing up to 625 mm of flat penetration at point blank and 361 mm of penetration at 60 degrees. Only top-tier tanks like the Leopard 2A5 can resist it in specific areas or angles. Against other opponents, it is very simple to point and click at crew members or ammo racks. For such a powerful round, it also does not cost that much at only 190 SL per shot; the contemporary IPM1 has to pay 220 SL per shot of the inferior M833 APFSDS round. Once unlocked, M322 should be the round of choice for the Merkava Mk.3D for anti-tank duties.
|46||45 (+1)||43 (+3)||42 (+4)||6 (+40)||1 (+45)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- Rack n°5 is a ready rack containing 5 shells.
- This rack gets filled first when loading up the tank and is also emptied first.
- The depletion order at full capacity is: 5 - 1 - 2 up to 4.
- Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from racks 1 to 4 into rack 5. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready rack.
- The double rack n°4 depletes row by row from top to bottom (starting with the right rack).
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm FN MAG 60-40|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Commander's cupola||1,750 (200)||600||-5°/+50°||-60°/+120°|
|Loader's cupola||1,750 (200)||600||-5°/+50°||±120°|
Usage in battles
The best trait of the Merkava Mk.3D is its spectacular firepower. It has a far more powerful gun than the contemporary IPM1 or M1 Abrams but lags behind these tanks in terms of armour protection and mobility. As such, the Merkava is best used in a second line support or sniping role where it is less likely to attract enemy fire and can instead focus on sending enemies back to the hangar with the M322 APFSDS. Find good positions that allow the Merkava to spot enemies early and retreat into cover if necessary. If the situation gets hot, the Merkava can also rely on its huge arsenal of smoke grenades to create its own cover. It is possible to smoke up entire portions of the map, potentially saving yourself or your teammates from helicopters or snipers.
How to combat enemy helicopters
The Merkava Mk.3D has four machine guns, one 12.7 mm mounted on the cannon, with an additional 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on each of the Commander's & Loader's cupola's and finally a coaxial 7.62 mm. This allows the Merkava to unleash a respectable torrent of lead at nearby aircraft. The Merkava Mk.3D is able to handle airborne threats extremely well; with its LWS/LR system, it alerts you to when someone is locking on with a laser range finder, which are installed in most if not all high ranking helicopters. The M339 HE-VT round is also useful against helicopters. It does not have the high muzzle velocity or automatic proximity fuse of the M1A2 Abrams's M830A1 HEAT-FS, but 3.7 kilograms of TNT equivalent will still do a number on a helicopter if it explodes nearby. Against moving helicopters it is important to fire the round soon after setting the fuse with the laser rangefinder.
When a LWS notification pops up, switch to gunner sight and enable the thermal sight, and look around in the sky and you will see brightly lit dot - if it is flying away from you, ignore it. If it is coming closer, keep an eye on it and wait until it is close enough for you to engage it.
However, if it has fired its ATGMs, pop smoke and retreat behind an object until its missile detonates. Then locate the helicopter and start slinging bullets and cannon shells its way. The former will not be useful at long distances but the latter might if the helicopter is not moving quickly. Helicopters closing in for strafing runs with cannons and unguided rockets can be downed quickly with the machine guns and airburst HE shells. Try to stay in cover when focused on the sky since enemy tanks are likely to notice the large number of machine gun tracers coming from the Merkava's position.
Capitalising on the terrain and environments
Urban maps and environments
When engaged in combat on a map which features an urban close range environment, the Merkava Mk.3D provides great threat to any enemy tanker. The manoeuvrability, is one of the best in the game, it is able to pivot on the spot and change course. If that is due to a sudden appearance of enemy tank which has appeared or if the strategic interest has changed, the MK.3D is able to handle it. To get the best out of the Mk.3D, either flank around the urban parts of the map or stay & utilise the compact urban environment.
To utilise the compact urban environment, stay close to buildings, use the buildings to your advantage. Using the buildings will allow you to dominate the battle zone, it's 120mm cannon is able to destroy enemy tanks with ease, especially at close ranges. It is important not to stay in the middle the roads or open areas which offers no concealment. The Merkava Mk.3D, is a tall tank, it is taller than the M1 Abrams family of tanks This means, you can be seen and shot at by the enemy team, it is not a sleek low profile tank like the HSTV-L.
Rural maps and rural terrain
To capitalise on rural maps head into the forest, and stay in the forest it's important not to leave the forest or rural terrain like this. This type of terrain offers great protection and makes the Merkava Mk.3D almost invisible to the enemy. The thermal profile is reduced by the vegetation, which blocks the heat signature. It's very important to use the correct camouflage, which helps to make you harder to detect.
The Merkava Mk.3D 120 mm gun is able to snipe the enemy tanks from far and wide. to win do not keep firing from one spot, after every shot move to another location using the rural vegetation to make you stealthy and remain unseen. The MK.3D has a thermal sight, that allows you to find the enemy tanks in situations like this. The gunner sight also provides a zoom of 6 to 12x allowing for pin-point shots combined with the M322 round - makes for one of the most lethal tanks in the game.
Do not expose the right hand side of the tank, due to the exhaust gas which will make it impossible for you to locate and knockout enemy tankers with the thermal sight. Instead, keep the left hand side of the tank exposed towards the enemy frontline. It's also as important keep an eye out for air threats such as Ka-52, Mi-28N, EC-665 Tiger UHT, AH-64D and other helicopters.
Pros and cons
- Has access to one of the best penetrating APFSDS round in the game.
- Has access to timed HE, which can be set to detonate at a very specific distance, for example just behind enemy ammunition panel or above a light tank completely hidden behind cover
- Timed HE round has a less sensitive detonator than normal HE-type shells, so it can overcome common obstacles such as bushes and fences.
- Great survivability, thanks to its internal layout.
- Ammo storage is wrapped in a fire proof container, preventing it from detonating in-case of a fire, inside of the tank.
- Great manoeuvrability, able to pivot and turn on a dime.
- Certain redundant parts of the turret can be used as extra protection against chemical ammunition, or to bait shots from impatient opponents.
- Turret armour can withstand direct hits from enemy tanks.
- Engine & external fuel tank is able to prevent APFSDS from penetrating and knocking the tank out if shot at the front, head on.
- Not very fast, substandard power-to-weight
- Only has first generation gunner & thermals optics.
- Hits to the upper half of the hull can bypass all the screens and modules and go straight for the ammo or crew as the engine is not tall enough to absorb the shot - attacks from high ground are particularly dangerous.
- Due to the placement of the external fuel tank, which is placed in front of the engine. It absorbs the kinetic force of the round - Thus gets set on fire and blocks gunner view from the front with thick smoke.
- Engine exhaust is placed on the right hand side of the tank, the exhaust gas limits the gunner view, since the gunner can only see exhaust gas when traveling.
- In night battles, exhaust gas blocks out the right hand side of the vehicle from the gunner view.
- Weak side and rear armour, well-placed shot here can knock the tank out.
- Tall profile compared to other tanks in this tier.
The Merkava Mk.3 was an improved model of the Merkava Mk.2 that was introduced in 1989 for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). It featured improvements in firepower, mobility, and electronics. It was in production from 1989 to 2003 and remains the most numerous tank in service with the IDF.
One of the most major changes was the change to the main armament. The 105 mm gun of the Mk.2 was replaced by a 120 mm gun produced by Israeli Military Industries (IMI) in Israel. The engine was also replaced by a more powerful 1,200 hp diesel engine. The turret was also heavily modified to allow target tracking independent of the hull's movements. Additionally, a two-way phone was added for communication between the tank crew and friendly infantry, the ammunition stowage was redesigned for more safety, and laser designators were added. The weight was increased to 65 tons, but the more powerful engine increased the maximum speed to 60 kph.
The Merkava Mk.3 Baz was an improved model that was introduced in 1995. It featured a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) protection system, an air-conditioning unit, and an upgraded fire control system (FCS).
The Merkava Mk.3D was a further improvement that added modular composite armour on both the chassis and turret, visually most notable on the turret.
Immediately after production of the Merkava Mk.2 began in 1983, Israeli engineers began working on the new Mk.3 version of the MBT. The Merkava Mk.3 introduced significant improvements over preceding variants in almost all aspects. Primarily however, the focus of the upgrades was centered around improving protection - by adding additional armour to the hull - as well as mounting the newly developed IMI MG251 120 mm smoothbore cannon, purpose-built for the new modification of the Merkava, in order to increase firepower.
Production of the Merkava Mk.3 began in the late 1980s, with the first vehicles reaching troops in December 1989. The Merkava Mk.3 remained in production until 2003 by which time around 650 vehicles were built. Thus, the Merkava Mk.3 belongs to the spearhead of Israel's armoured units in the present day.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|USA medium tanks|
|M3||M3 Lee · ▃Grant I|
|M4||M4 · Calliope · M4A1 · M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (76) W · M4A3 (105) · M4A5|
|M26||T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1|
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|XM-1 (Chrysler) · XM-1 (GM) · M1 Abrams · IPM1 · M1A1 Abrams · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams|
|Israeli||Magach 3 · Merkava Mk.1 · Merkava Mk.2B · Merkava Mk.3D|