Bishop-1A7 MBT . The Bishop-1A7 is a next-gen MBT developed between Israel and Germany . The Bishop-1A7 MBT is of an unconventional design featuring an amalgam of features from some of the world's best 3rd generation MBTs. The Bishop has the suspension of the German Leopard 2, the front engine design of the Israeli Merkava series, the loading system of the French Leclerc and the heavy armor of the American M1 Abrams
The Bishop has a hydropneumatic suspension system similar to that of the Leopard 2 and can be adjusted on individual road-wheels. This enables the crew to raise or lower the tank's silhouette in order to present less of a target. The advanced suspension also provides a much smoother ride than MBTs with a torsion bar suspension. One perk of this suspension system is that computers, instruments and circuitry are less likely to be jostled out of place while going off-road at high speeds. Without the hydropneumatic suspension system, the Bishop's off-road speed would fall drastically.
The Bishop borrows from the Merkava series the unique placement of the engine in the front and a rear opening hatch for troop transport. This conserves space and also enhances crew survivability by placing a large mass of steel in front of them. The engine chosen for the Bishop is a Wolfrum Tech CVSS-17A V16 diesel engine with 2870 horsepower. This pseudo-jet engine allows for the Bishop to move silently without sacrificing power. Two winches on the front a directly powered by the engine providing extreme towing capacity. Together, the winches have a combined towing capacity of around 163 tons.
The Leclerc's loading system have also been adopted for increased firepower. The autoloader is a triple shot revolver system to speed up the loading process. However, the loader must still manually feed rounds into the autoloader's "magazine." The combination of revolver-type magazine and swift autoloader allows the Bishop to fire 3 successive aimed shots within 1.3 seconds of each previous round. The Bishop usually carries 82 rounds of HEAT or KEP for versatility in combat.
The rear of the Bishop was designed to maximize the effectiveness of the tank as a cover system for infantry and the boarding or disembarking of passengers. A hanging overhead protects infantry from shrapnel. Exhaust is vented up and away from the rear of the tank in order to ensure that infantry can stay in cover for extended periods. This was a problem for the M1 Abrams and other MBTs which had a more conventional exhaust system that ejected the gas to the rear. Soldiers were unable to use the rear of the tank as effective cover because of the superheated gases coming out of the engine. Like the Merkava, the Bishop has a rear hatch for infantry and passengers to enter or exit. However, unlike the Merkava, the passenger compartment and crew compartment are separate so quick-escape hatches are provided for the crew on the top of the turret.
The armor of the Bishop is highly classified but is thought to be a superalloy combination of rhenium, titanium and ceramics. The armor plating was developed through experimentation on the British Chobham armor developed in the 1960s. Although the construction details of the Chobham Common armor remain a secret, it has been described as being composed of ceramic tiles encased within a metal matrix and bonded to a backing plate and several elastic layers. Due to the extreme hardness of the ceramics used, they offer superior resistance against shaped charges such as HEAT rounds and they shatter kinetic energy penetrators.
The creation of the special Chobham armor on the Bishop is likewise kept secret and is closely guarded by the Israeli and German governments. However, certain sources approximate the armor having the equivalency of 1.4m of solid steel in the front. The Israeli and German governments have disclosed that the inside of the Bishop is covered with an experimental carbon nanotube coating. The nanotubing is the strongest and stiffest materials yet discovered in terms of tensile strength and elasticity. Reinforced with graphite, the nanotubing acts as a shield to catch splinters from spalling after direct hits on the tank's outside armor.
The main armament of the Bishop-1A7 is a L66 181mm rifled cannon, significantly larger than other MBTs. Despite the larger caliber, the gun maintains the same approximate weight as a 120mm gun by using lightweight composites and alloys. The L66 is produced by Rheinmetall in Germany and features a temperature control channel along the length of the barrel. This channel can be used to manually control the temperature of the barrel in periods of extended combat and firing.The 181mm gun of the Bishop is configured to have an angle of elevation of 28 degrees and an angle of depression of -15 degrees. In comparison, the M1 Abrams' gun can depress -10 degrees and elevate up to 20 degrees. The higher angle of elevation on the Bishop allows it to more effectively engage threats from above than other MBTs.
A 25mm autocannon turret is located on top of the primary turret controlled by the tank commander and can be used to engage light armor and low flying aircraft that the 7.62mm minigun might otherwise be ineffective against. The 25mm autocannon must be loaded manually from the rear with a 220 round belt of either APFSDS or high-explosive rounds.
The SPAAG Flakpanzer version of the Bishop has a quad 45mm autocannon system complete with a fire control radar and targeting system. The premise behind the SPAAG was that since the Bishop is much larger than most conventional SPAAG it is theoretically capable of hitting targets at farther distances and with greater accuracy because it is capable of carrying more scanning equipment and computers. The 25mm autocannon and 7.62mm minigun have been removed from this version to preserve mobility and reduce cost.
Note: unlike the MBT version, the SPAAG main gun can elevate to 78 degrees.
Crew - 4-8 (commander, driver, gunner, loader and 4x passengers)
Weight - 78.3 tons
Main armament - 1x Rheinmetall L66 181mm rifled cannon w/82 rounds
Secondary armament - 1x 25mm autocannon w/220 rounds, 1x 7.62mm minigun w/4,000 rounds
Range - 1178km
Speed - 85km/h on-road, 76km/h off-road
Engine - Wolfrum Tech CVSS-17A V16 diesel engine w/2870hp
Height min. - 3.4m
Length w/o barrel - 9.9m
Width - 5.2m
Armor - 350mm-800mm of Rh-Ti superalloy and ceramic composites
Turret weight - 29.5 tons
Hull weight - 37.2 tons
Side armor weight - 8.1 tons
Ammunition weight - 2 tons
Users - IDF, Bundeswehr