The Merkava (Chariot) is the main battle tank of the Israel Defense Forces. Since the early 1980s, four main versions have been deployed. The "Merkava" name was derived from the IDF's initial development program name.
It is optimized for crew survival and rapid repair of battle damage.
The Mark IV is the latest generation of the Merkava and has been in development since 1999. Its development was first announced in an October 1999 edition of the Bamachaneh (at The Camp) military publication.