Jerusalem College of Technology seeks to significantly expand the cadre of advanced students currently working on designing and upgrading the IDF’s Merkava tank. In addition, JCT will encourage more of its students to get involved in research and development projects surrounding the Merkava program.
The announcement follows a tour of the IDF’s Merkava tank project this past Sunday attended by JCT President Professor Haim Sukenik and Director Shai Gilboa. The JCT officials were accompanied by IDF Lt.-Col. Ilan and Lt.-Col. Michael, both JCT graduates.
“The faculty, students, and graduates of JCT have always been happy to give of their skills and knowledge for the defense of the state and its citizens. We hope that we will be able to continue this tradition with the Merkava project,” said Professor Sukenik during the tour.
Currently the IDF’s main battle tank, the Merkava, entered official service in the IDF Armored Corps in 1979, with four variants having subsequently been deployed. The tank was designed with Israeli innovations in reactive and heavy armor, enhanced crew protection, and efficient and simple maintenance and repair procedures.
Following Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon in 2006, questions were raised about the Merkava’s effectiveness in battle, and the media reported that the Merkava line would be discontinued within four years. However, later that year it was reported that an Israeli General Staff assessment determined that the Merkava Mark IV could provide its crew with better protection than in the past if properly deployed, and the decision on discontinuing the line was deferred.
In August 2013, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon announced the decision to resume production of the Merkava for the Israel Defense Force Armored Corps. JCT students are now heavily involved in moving the project forward.
“We want to thank the heads of the IDF’s Merkava tank project for giving us the opportunity to see firsthand the important work they have undertaken. As always, we at JCT will continue to do our share to improve the quality of the country’s defense and security systems,” added Stuart Hershkowitz, senior advisor to the President of JCT. v