ALWACS - Soft-Kill Active Protection System Upgrade For Merks.

Should Israeli tanks mentioned below recive ALWACS as a modification?
  • Yes
  • Yes, but only specific ones (write which ones in comments)
  • No

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ALWACS

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In the mid to late 2010 number of photographs has been posted online, which shows Merkavas Mk.3D’s, Mk.2D’s and Mk.2C’s from reserve and active battalions featuring so called “ears” at convocations at escalations on the border with Gaza or conducting exercises. People have speculated about the purpose of the oddly shaped turret add-ons, suggesting that these might be part of a 360° close proximity surveillance system or radars for detecting the launch of rocket propelled grenades or anti-tank missiles.

The installation of this system on tanks just as other APS system called “DROID” was not publicly told, but unlike the unofficialy-known “DROID” , this system is less clasified, since it is designed and produced by private manufacturer Elbit Systems and it was also offered for export, for example to the Indian military as modification for Arjun Mk. 2.

In general

As I mentioned earlier, service in the IDF is somewhat classified, as it is not much talked about in public. But this system was seen in massive operational use in 2014 during Operation “Protective Edge” on all sorts of IDF eqipment ( Merkavas Mk.3D’s, 2D’s and 2C’s ) and then after the 2014 War it was also seen conductiong training exersizes with with both reserve and active battalions.

To put it simply, ALWACS is a soft-kill active protection system (APS) developed and produced by private company “Elbit Systems”, capable of disrupting and damaging the navigation and guidance systems and/or guided missiles (ATGMs) and other types of laser-guided munitions, It is also capable of hiding a tank with a multi-spectral smoke screen when the system detects that the tank has been lasered.

In IDF ALWACS was incorparated as two separate systems, “Ma’agal Eitan” and “Sharvit Zoher”. As the tanks were eqipped with eather one of these systems or both. ( example pictures in folder )

Spoiler

Merkava Mk.3D with only “Ma’agal Eitan” System installed.

In Development: Merkava Mk.3D Barak Zoher | Armored Warfare - Official Website

Merkava Mk.2C with only “Sharvit Zoher” System installed.

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The detection and warning part of ALWACS was taken up by “Ma’agal Eitan”, It looks like the pole above the tank with four Elbit’s E-LAWS laser waring resivers. It detects the direction and type of the threat and visually and audibly informs the commander.

The Jamming part was taken up by “Sharvit Zoher”, which itself is a Elbit’s VIRCM (Vehicle Infrared Counter-Measure System) module with comercial name being “Eo-Shield”. More details below.

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The ALWACS System offered on Indian Arjun Mk.2

The ALWACS kit consists of 5 main components:

  1. LWS (Laser Warning System) - Some tanks have this installed with IDF name “Ma’agal Eitan”, looks like the pole in the back section of the turret, on which above the tank four Elbit’s E-LAWS laser waring resivers are installed.

  2. VIRCM (Vehicle Infrared Counter-Measure System) - In IDF know as “Sharvit Zoher”, but its comercial name is “Eo-Shield” VIRCM, made by Elbit. It consists of four smaller infrared (IR) jammers, which are set at different angles and each one covers approximately more than 90° of azimuth, the coverage in elevation is limited to 23°. The IR jammers can confuse missiles that are utilizing IR signales for semi-automatic guidance along the line of sight (SACLOS). Merkavas have 2 modules installed at both sides of the turret in the way to cover 360 degrees, usualy on an addon that is mounted above the bustle rack, but on Mk.2C variant it is placed at the turret sides.

  3. Multi-Spectral Smoke System - Merkavas don’t feature any additional smoke grenade launchers, and it is not known if the smoke grenades used by the Merkava tanks are capable of blocking the most common IR and laser wavelengths.

  4. Threat System Management

  5. Advanced Missile Detection System


The VIRCIM “Eo-Shield” Tech Data:

Coverage: 360° horizontal, 23° vertical.

Dimensions (cm): 29x41x41 ( Height x Width x Length )

Weight: 35kg x 2


The Merkavas on which ALWACS was seen in use:

1. Merkava Mk.3D

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The System installation: 2x VIRCM “Eo-Shield” at the rear of the tank above Bustle Rack and pole above the turret with 4x E-LAWS placed in the way to cover 360 degrees.

There are actually more pictures of Mk.3D with this system then of Mk.2D’s and Mk.2C’s combined. It may well be that this system was installed on a more massive scale on Merkavas of Mk.3 variant than on Mk.2.

Most of modifications have both Ma’agal Eitan and Sharvit Zoher installed.

Imagery:

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Merkava Mk.3D with only Ma’agal Eitan

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Armorama’s tank model installtion.

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2. Mekava Mk.2D / 2D LIC

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The System installation: Similarly to Mk.3D, 2x VIRCM “Eo-Shield” at the rear of the tank above Bustle Rack and/or pole above the turret with 4x E-LAWS placed in the way to cover 360 degrees.

Most of the Mk.2D’s had only “Sharvit Zoher” ( Eo-Shield ) module Installed, but some also had “Ma’agal Eitan” ( Detection and warning ) module installed. ( pictures in imagery )

Mk.2D are both of regular models and LIC modified.

Imagery:

Spoiler

Merkava Mk.2D with only Sharvit Zoher

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Merkava Mk.2D with both Ma’agal Eitan and Sharvit Zoher

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The Mk.2D with both systems “naked” )))

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Merkava Mk.2D with only Ma’agal Eitan

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Armorama’s tank model installtion.

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3. Merkava Mk.2C

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The System installation: unlike other Merkavas, Mk.2C had this system installed in a somewhat different way, 2x VIRCM “Eo-Shield” were instaled on the mounts on the sides of the turret.

This model of merkava seems to not have “Ma’agal Eitan” system installed, but only “Sharvit Zoher”. The installation of both systems is possible.

I was able to find not so many pictures of this modification, it seems that this one is the rarest of the ones mentioned above.

Imagery:

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Armorama’s tank model installtion.

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Sources:

Spoiler

Main source 1 - Below The Turret Ring: Merkava with ears? It's ALWACS!

Main source 2 - https://www.fresh.co.il/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=560823

Photographs source 1 - Танки Израиля

Photographs source 2 - https://www.fresh.co.il/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=540104

Photographs source 3 - https://modelwork.pl/topic/46498-może-tym-razem-się-uda-czyli-merkava-mk-2d-takom-135/

Elbit’s Eo-Shield brochure - https://elbitsystems.com/media/EoShield.pdf

Elbit’s ALWACS brochure - https://elbitsystems.com/media/ALWACS.pdf

Elbit’s LWS brochure - https://elbitsystems.com/media/LWS_5_Web.pdf

6 Likes

For any vehicle not equipped with or set to be equipped with Trophy or Iron Fist this would be perfect. +1

4 Likes

Very interesting system, would love to see it in game +1

Soft-kill APS are a cool feature for lower BR tanks, would fit very well possibly on a future Merkava 2C.

Hopefully the devs will add this to make Israeli equipment more unique.

1 Like