Recently, it was reported that Magach tanks being stored in military warehouses in the Negev desert will be recommissioned by the Israel Defense Forces to compensate for the damage of the Merkava IV line.
Damage to Israel’s Merkava tanks is at an “unprecedented” level in the recent conflict with Hamas forces. The Israeli army, even before it began conducting active ground operations, lost more than 30 Merkava heavy tanks. The Israeli army will face an even more complex battle ahead in the maze of Gaza City, with attacks from high-rise buildings as well as from underground tunnels. In a situation where the war is expected to remain tense and possibly prolong and expand with the involvement of the armed group Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel needs to add a powerful tank force.
Recently, it was reported that Magach tanks being stored in military warehouses in the Negev desert will be recommissioned by the Israel Defense Forces to compensate for the damage of the Merkava IV line. Although the Magach tank is old, in the current war situation, if called back into service, it will still be a valuable addition to the Israeli Army.
Magach is the name of the M48 and M60 main battle tanks transferred to the Israeli Army by the US and West Germany. Early versions of the Magach tank were almost identical to the American version. After upgrading the system to higher Magach versions, Israel’s M48 and M60 tanks are completely identical from appearance to features.
The Magach tank has many diverse variations, the most notable of which are the Magach 7A and Magach 7C with angular turret. Compared to the original M60, Magach 7 has significantly improved mobility, firepower, especially its armor protection has been greatly improved. Magach 7 was supplemented with thick passive armor plates, providing better protection, and features side-skirts. The first two sections of the skirts feature ballistic material and are hinged for easy access to the running gear. The rear skirts are made of steel. All the skirts are fitted to heavy-duty springs to prevent them being ripped-off while maneuvering.
Magach 7 is equipped with an improved engine of the previous Continental AVDS-1790-2C with a capacity of 908 horsepower. The transmission is automatic and sourced from the Merkava Mk.1. Suspension and hydraulics have also been improved, giving the Magach 7 a much improved cross-country performance over the M60 Patton. As a result weapon stability was enhanced.
In terms of armament, the Magach 7 retains the 105 mm L7/M68 rifle as fitted to the previous M60s but now has an additional bolt-on thermal sleeve for improved accuracy. It is fully compatible with 105 mm NATO ammunition. The M73 machine gun has been replaced by an FN machine gun. A 12.7 mm M2HB can be fitted to the roof. This MBT is fitted with new fire control system with a laser rangefinder.
Magach 7 has a weight of about 55 tons, a length of 9.43 m, a width of 3.63 m, and a height of 3.25 m. Its 4-man crew includes: Driver, gunner, Commander, and loader. Currently, Magach tanks have been completely retired by the Israeli Army and stored in the Negev desert to focus on using the domestic Merkava line with an optimal design for the Middle East battlefield.
Some Magach chassis were converted into Pereh anti-tank missile carriers, the turret still has a 105 mm gun but only serves as camouflage. Although more outdated than the Merkava or some modern MBTs, high-end Magach tanks (like the Magach 7 version) are still considered useful on the battlefield. The fact that Israel has not yet dismantled these tanks (partly due to the high cost) makes them a valuable additional source in the current situation.