The Magach [Merkavot Giborei Hamilchama -- Chariots of the War Heroes] - the IDF's name for the Patton (M-48/M-60) MBT is in service for over 30 years with the Israeli army. The first M-48A2 tanks were bought from West Germany during the '60s (a fact kept secret from the Israeli public who opposed connections with Germany). They were armed with a 90mm main gun and saw action during the 1967 Six Days War - mostly in the Sinai front against the Egyptian army (during that war Jordanian M-48s were captured and added to the IDF's inventory).
Shortly after that war these tanks were fitted with a 105mm gun (same as on the Centurion MBT), and more tanks were purchased from the US. The M-48s were used mainly in the Sinai and on the Suez Canal, against the Egyptians in the long War of Attrition that began in 1968.
During the 1973 Yom Kippur War the US sent Israel it's newest tank - the M-60. These were pressed to service during the fighting, replacing many of the M-48s lost in combat. In the 1970's the M-60 (A1 and A3 variants) became the mainstay of the IDF's armor corps. They were upgraded with the new reactive armor cells, improved fire control systems etc. These upgrades were tested in 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Since then, the Magach MBT continues it's service with the IDF. Many upgrades and improvements to it's systems, armor and weapons were added during the years, keeping it in the front line.
The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is planning extensive cuts to its ground forces. The IDF presented its amended work plan early in June 2003, which included cuts of 20% of Israel's ground forces over a five year period, the deepest cut in the past 15 years. The IDF would keep fewer old platforms [i.e. tanks] and more investment in new technology. The cuts include a gradual disposal of all the IDF's M 60 main battle tanks.
US-made M48A1 and M48A2 Patton tanks were modified by IDF's Ordnance Corps. This upgrade included 105mm L7 gun, M1/Sherman/Urdan cupola (later only Urdan cupola), AVDS 1790a diesel engine, CD-850-6 auto transmission and modern communications system. These tanks were the backbone of armored forces in the Six-day War (1967), Yom Kippur War (1973), and Peace for Galille Operation.
US M48A5 tanks, during the late 1970's Israel received 150 M48A5 tanks from US. Magach 3 and Mahach 5 tanks were fitted with Blazer armour (ERA).
Magach 6 (1970's)
Magach 6 is a name for M60, M60A1 and M60A3 in Israeli service. Fitted with the Israeli Urdan cupola. and Blazer armour (ERA).
Magach 6B (1980's)
Magach 6B is Magach 6 with RISE (reliability improvement of selected equipment) program featured a new engine configuration making among others, changing engines much easier. Added thernal sleeve for the 105mm gun, Merkava Mk 1 tracks. and in some tanks No.5 road wheel is made from steel when all other wheels made from aluminum.
Magach 6B Gal (1990's)
Magach 6B Gal is Magach 6B with new fire control system Gal. Added new turret stowage basket.
Magach 6B Gal Batash
Magach 6B Gal with fourth generation passive armor, additional armor plates on the chassis and the turret.
Magach 7A (1980's)
Magach 7 is upgraded Magach 6 tanks without the Blazer armour. This upgrade included thick slabs of passive armour added to the turret and hull front, armoured side skirts, new fire control, thermal sleeve for the 105mm gun (as on Magach 6B) and Merkava Mk 1 tracks as on (as on Magach 6B). The main difference between Magach 7and Magach 6B that the Magach 7 added passive armour and Magach 6B Blazer armour (when the passive armour on Magach 7 gives more protection to the tank than the Blazer armour).
Redesigned passive armour array.
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