Tank and APC Administration


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In 1970, Israel elected to eliminate its reliance on foreign tank suppliers and achieve independence in design and production. This decision led to the establishment of Israel's Tank and APC Directorate under the Ministry of Defense, and subsequently, its first tank project.

Nearly nine years following the establishment of the Tank and APC Directorate, Israel issued its first tank, the Merkava Mark I. Each new generation of the Merkava is more sophisticated and better protected, incorporating lessons learned and adapting to changing battlefields and combat scenarios. Today, the most updated Merkava model- Merkava Mark IV- is considered one of the most advanced tanks in the world.


Development of the Tank and APC Directorate:

The Tank and APC Directorate bears the overall responsibility for the design, development and production of Israel's tanks as well as the establishment and expansion of related industries. The program was first led by Maj. Gen. Israel Tal, two-time winner of Israel's Security Prize, also considered the "father of the Merkava".

At the early stages of the program, Tal and his team sought to develop a tank based primarily on existing systems. With this idea as a starting point, the team changed course and began developing an original, innovative tank. Existing infrastructure was used to limit costs and resources, with the IDF's tank rehabilitation and maintenance center used as the program's assembly line.  There, 200 employees would produce the thousands of parts and systems that make up the Merkava.

The facility which had once focused solely on rebuilding and repairing Israel's old tanks was  transformed into the assembly line for the country's first independent tank line, and eventually led to the creation of the Merkava factory.

The development of the Merkava Mark I represents the start of a true industrial revolution in Israel. It transformed the country into a global leader with a positive reputation in the industry and the ability to produce complex, modern tank systems with inter-industrial integration.  


Since its inception, the Merkava model has undergone a series of enhancements and improvements. Today, the Merkava Mark IV is considered to be one of the best tanks in the world. Owing to the Trophy Active Protection System, it is also considered one of the world's most armored tanks, providing maximum protection against a wide range of threats.

In the age of electronic/cyber warfare and advanced technology, tanks and maneuvering capabilities remain essential strategic assets. The superiority of ground forces and their maneuvering capabilities remain just as critical as aerial superiority and may only be achieved via advanced tanks and AFVs (such as the Merkava and Namer).

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