The Sabra main battle tank originates from the M60A3 tank modernization program ordered by Turkey in 2002.

Israel is one of the countries with the strongest defense industry in the world today. The Israeli defense industry development strategy is based on two main points of view. First, autonomy, capable of producing all the necessary equipment for the army. Second, focus on procuring weapons and equipment from foreign suppliers, but still maintain the role of upgrading and maintaining the domestic defense industry. Sabra MBT is one such example.

The Sabra main battle tank originates from the M60A3 tank modernization program ordered by Turkey in 2002. In Turkey the Sabra is more widely known as the M60T. The first Sabra Mk II was delivered for Turkish trials in 2005 and passed qualifications in May, 2006. 170 were upgraded between 2007 and April, 2009.

Sabra MBT
Sabra MBT

Visually, the Sabra resembles the Merkava more than the American M60, with sharp edges and a more contoured look. Surfaces with a greater slope greatly improve the protection of the tank. Sabra has variants Sabra Mk I, Sabra Mk II, Sabra Mk III. The ballistic profile of the appliqué armor was improved and it incorporated the MG253 120 mm gun developed by IMI.

The Turkish tank weighs between 55 and 59 tons, depending on the version. It has a length of 6.95 m, a width of 3.63 m and a height of 3.27 m. The crew of 4 includes: commander, gunner, loader and driver. These tanks made their first combat debut in 2016 during a Turkish military operation in Syria against Kurdish fighters.

Although the basis remains the old and trusted M60 chassis, the turret is completely new, and the engine upgraded, in the IDF tradition of improving their US-supplied M48 and M60. The Sabra was at first tried wth the urdan turret, but the Mark II went to a more classic M85 cupola allowing peripheral vision and for the commander to fire its cal.50 HMG from a protected position, and a small hatch, rear opening above. The gunner’s hatch is somewhat large and also rear-opening.

The Sabra MBT is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun, which was developed in Israel and is similar to the Merkava Mk.3 gun. And is significantly superior to the original 105 mm gun on the M60. This gun is capable of firing all standard NATO 120 mm ammunition. A total of 42 rounds are carried.

Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, and two machine guns of the same caliber mounted on top of the roof. Alternatively a 5.45 mm machine gun can be used. The Sabra MBT is also fitted with a 60 mm mortar.


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