Courtesy of JNS. Photo credit: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office
A Merkava Mark V “Barak” main battle tank

(JNS) — The Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry on Tuesday revealed for the first time its new main battle tank, equipped with advanced sensors and artificial intelligence capabilities.

Nicknamed “Barak” (“Lightning” in Hebrew), the fifth-generation Merkava Mark V is operational and is being incorporated into the Armored Corps, with the first tanks having already been delivered to the 52nd “The Breachers” Battalion of the 401st “Iron Tracks” Brigade. It is expected to gradually replace the aging Merkava Mark IV tanks.

“The Barak tank is very innovative; it takes our maneuvering capabilities to another level, and it is a clear expression of our technological capabilities,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

According to the IDF and Defense Ministry’s joint statement, the commander of each tank will be equipped with a combat helmet developed by Elbit Systems similar to the helmets worn by fighter pilots. The system will allow for 360-degree scanning capabilities with the assistance of AI. The tanks are also equipped with the WindGuard advanced defense system manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to counter anti-tank missiles.

“For the past four decades, Merkava tanks have formed the backbone of the Armored Corps and ground combat. Today we are entering a new era in ground battlefield, the era of the Barak,” said Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir, director general of the Defense Ministry.

“The Barak tank is the most advanced combat machine of its kind in the world, which will bring to the IDF, the Israeli Ground Forces and the soldiers of the Armored Corps fire capabilities, AI, intelligence, connectivity between tools and active defense, a breakthrough on the modern battlefield,” he said.