Magach 7A: The Composite M60

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Magach 7A: the first Magach to feature composite armour


After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the IDF turned its attention to the protection and survival of the tank and its crew. The first major solution implemented by the IDF in this regard was the Blazer ERA (known as “Baltan” by the IDF). Blazer proved very effective against shaped-charge munitions of that era, but it provided no protection against kinetic threats.
In the following years a new type of add-on armour was developed, based on passive ballistic protection, which is effective against kinetic threats and, to a lesser degree, against chemical warheads. This type of armour would be later used to create the add-on armour for the Magach 7A/7C, Gal Batash, Merkava Mk.2 and 3, the Achzarit APC and other AFV.

The first design of the Magach 7 was developed by IMI Taas, which consisted of an add-on armour package to be mounted over the Magach 6M. A sheet metal mock-up was built to showcase the configuration of the armour. The design was finally approved for production in 1986.


Sheet metal mock-up.

Entry into service of this model began in 1986 and ended in 1988. The service of the Magach 7A started in the 500th Brigade. The crews operating this tank quickly noticed some problems with this new machine. The new armour suite blocked the view of the crew while inside the tank (especially the commander). Another major problem was the poor power to weight ratio given by the added armour and the usage of the old engine and transmission. These problems would be later fixed with the “Gimel”, or C, version of the Magach 7.


Magach 7A out of the factory, ready to be delivered.

The Magach 7A mostly saw use in routine security duties, although it took part in the operation “Defensive Shield” in 2002.




The new armour package is the main new feature of the Magach 7A.
As mentioned in the history paragraph, the tank uses a new type of passive (or composite) armour, which envelopes the areas of the tank where the crew is located and is most vulnerable.
The new armour uses a flat approach, attaching the new composite panels onto the round shapes of the M60 cast turret and wedge hull thanks to special mounting points. Also, 2 composite panels sections have been added to the front of the side skirts, while leaving the remaining sections of RHA panels. The rear turret bustle rack has been changed and enlarged.
The thickness of the new armour modules is quite impressive and is made even more effective on the front arch by creating a big air gap between the composite armour and the steel armour of the front of the turret and mantlet. The following photos provide a clear view of the modules.


Using these photos I have also estimated the thickness of some of the most important parts of the armour. Keep in mind that this is a simple visual estimate and it is used just to give an idea of the armour values.
The UFP module should be around 110mm thick and the LFP module should be at least 100mm thick.
The actual thickness of the turret front plate is hidden by the side panels, but should not be thinner than 100-150mm. Another important aspect is that this module leaves at least 500mm of air between the add-on armour and the steel turret face, an important fact to protect against shaped-charge munitions.


For this image I used the M60 road wheel as reference. I removed 1 inch of rubber to account for its worn out state, considering how old it is, and estimated the thickness of the UFP and LFP add-on modules.

In this second image I used the known size of the IS-10 smoke launchers to estimate the length of the front armour module. I then used this measured length to also estimate the depth of this module.

Firepower and fire control ststem (FCS):

The Magach 7A uses the Nachal Oz FCS, an Israeli made system that enables semi-automatic firing corrections and tracing of the target. The optical rangefinder is replaced by a laser rangefinder (located in the right housing of the old optical system), the gunner receives a Tank Thermal Sight and a crosswind sensor is installed on the top of the turret. In its original configuration, the Magach 7A did not receive a laser warning system (LWS).
The gun, the Israeli licensed copy of the American M68 105mm cannon known as “Sharir”, is fully stabilised on 2 axis and is fitted with an Israeli made thermal sleeve.
On the roof there are mounting places for 2x 7,62 MGs (commander and loader) and 1x .50cal MG on the front.
The gun is capable of firing all 105mm NATO and Israeli rounds and the ammunition storage capacity and layout is the same as in a base M60.

The tank is also fitted with 2 IS-10 CL-3030 smoke launchers, for a total of 20 smoke grenades ready to be deployed in front of the tank.
An IMI 60mm mortar is also located outside the tank, on top of the turret, to the right of the commader’s cupola.


Gunner’s position.

Commader’s position.

Rear turret ammunition storage racks.



The Magach 7A uses the 750HP AVDS1790-2AG engine coupled with the CD850-6A transmission.
The original T97 tracks have been replaced by Merkava 1/2 tracks.
The tanks weight is between 54 and 55 tonnes, making it very heavy and giving it a very poor power-to-weight-ration. This is one of the main complaints that the crew had regarding this tank, which would be later fixed on the 7C version with increased engine power.



Specs sheet

Mass: 54-55t
Length: 6,9m (hull), 9,3m (with gun forward)
Width: 3,6m
Height: 3,2m
Crew: 4
Armour: Cast steel and add-on composite panels
Armament: 105 Sharir (M68) cannon, 3x 7,62MG, 1x .50cal MG, 2x IS-10 smoke launchers, IMI 60mm mortar
FCS: Nachal Oz
Engine: 750HP AVDS1790-2AG
Power/weight ratio: 13,63hp/t
Transmission: CD850-6A
Suspensions: Torsion bar

Additional photos






Might as well complete the Magach collection.

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Anything for Israel. I’m desperate Gaijin.

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Yikes, heavier magach with the 750hp engine

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Gotta grind 'em all

I just hope that it’s at a low enough BR that its armor actually matters

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Gaijin may as well add the last few Magach variants, perhaps this and the 7C could get M428 or something.

Yes, indeed.
It is inferior to the 7C both in armour and mobility.

The 7C is at 9.3 currently, the 7A would go well at 9.0

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I feel like even 9.0 might be too high because of the horrible mobility

I hadn’t started my Israel tech tree, is there any Magach has the mobility equivalent to M48 Super? That reverse speed has drastically improve its overall survivability.

I don’t know if there is any MBT with thermals below 9.0, unfortunately I think that is the minimum BR you can get.

Unfortunately, no. All Magachs have 8-9 km/h reverse.

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I think AMX-30B2 has it, and it’s 8.7.

Kind of a weird decision tbh, especially since gen 1 thermals dont offer a huge advantage