The Israeli army has relied on strong and powerful armored corps since its inception. This led to the service adopting a number of foreign tank types, which were eventually upgraded with local funding to become more effective battlefield performers better suited to the needs of the Israeli military.
This is the Sho't ("Whip") main battle tank, modernized in 1963 and officially launched in 1970. It had a rifled 105mm L7 main gun powered by a petrol-powered Rolls-Royce "Meteor" engine.
These tanks were originally purchased in 1959 and carry on the aging line of WWII-era M4 Sherman medium tanks and French-built AMX-13 MBTs.
Within a few years, the line was again locally upgraded to Sho't Kal standard with a Continental AVDS-1790-2A diesel engine and an Allison CD850-6 drivetrain (which led to the original Sho't tank Known as Sho't "Meteor"). Work ended in 1974, when all Sho't tanks were modernized to new standards. Other changes include the implementation of the Mk.
13 armor pack and the introduction of a 12.7mm trunnion-mounted heavy machine gun (HMG) for localized air defense. Sub-variants of the series became 1974 Kal "Alef" (new engine and gearbox modifications, improved cupola design), 1976 Kal "Bet" (improved armor protection), 1982 Kal "Gimel" (all new rotations Turret capabilities, updated Fire Control System (FCS), support for "Blazer" Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks and a new weapon stabilization system for improved "mobile" firing and the 1985 Kal "Dalet" (Laser Rangefinder, Thermal Master Sleeve on the gun unit).
It's projects like this that make the Centurion tank one of the most classic tanks of all time - flexibility, combat capability, reliability, and all the essentials of a high-quality design. Other countries have followed suit, creating their own plans to give the Centurion series a long and healthy lifespan around the world.
MBT Sho't's baptism of firepower came with the Six Day War of 1967, which pitted Israeli armor against an allied Arab army led by Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The war led to a decisive Israeli victory and the conquest of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
In one recorded operation, two damaged Sho't tanks managed to destroy or disable about 60 enemy tanks (mostly Soviet T-55 and T-62 MBT) - this is what the Israeli crews were capable of and the advantages of their battlefield machines. His next war commitment came in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which became another victory for Israel over its Arab neighbors.
However, the conflict demonstrated the value of man-portable anti-tank weapons like the Soviet RPG to the enemy, and the vulnerability of Israeli tanks to such forces - especially early in the war.
Sho't series, although modernized, has been replaced by the more powerful Merkava MBT series, which has introduced progressive variants. It also includes troop transport capabilities, allowing the vehicle to be used as a pseudo-infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) in support of infantry formations.
Additionally, occupant protection has been improved, and the 120mm smoothbore main gun has greater penetration.
The last operation of the Sho't tank took place during the 1982 Lebanon War, and the Sho't Gimel was provided in support of the Blazer ERA pack. Many frontline firing and related forms were later converted into the still useful Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) or Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV).
The final form of MBT was the Dalet, introduced in the mid-1980s.
At least 390 Israeli centurions are known to have adapted to the Sho't standard.
- Tank vs Tank
- Main Battle Tank (MBT)
116.14 ft (35.4 m)
63 tons (57,000 kg; 125,663 lb)
124 miles (200 km)
1 x 105mm L7 rifled main gun in the turret.
1 x 12.7mm turret mounted anti-aircraft (AA) heavy machine gun (HMG) on top of the turret.
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun in the turret.
Smoke grenade launcher.
1 x 7.62mm infantry machine gun.
Shot't - Base series name; at least 390 Centurion tanks are said to have been converted.
Sho't "Meteor" - Equipped with an original Rolls-Royce Meteor petrol engine.
Sho't "Kal" - with Continental diesel engine; Allison drivetrain; 0/50 cal anti-aircraft gun mounted on top of turret.
Sho't Kal "Alef" - 1974 sub-variant model; modified Commander cupola; revised engine and transmission fit.
Sho't Kal "Bet" - 1976 sub-variant model; improved armor protection
Sho't Kal "Gimel" - 1982 sub-variant model; Blazer ERA armor support; new targeting and Fire Control System (FCS); modified smoke grenade.
Sho't Kal "Dalet" - sub-variant; 1985 model; main gun thermowell; added new laser rangefinder.