The IDF’s new advanced and AI-powered Barak tank is operational and being incorporated into the Armored Corps, starting with Battalion 52, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
The new tank has been in development and production for more than five years, it said. It was built in a joint endeavor by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, IDF Ground Forces, the Armored Corps, and the 401st Brigade.
With new targeting abilities, the tank is designed to monitor its surroundings and process and present the information to the soldiers in a simple and easy-to-use way. As part of this, the tank is programmed to zero in on and target enemy forces before they are able to attack the tank.
The tech integrated into the tank
The system also allows the drivers to focus on one environment at a time, allowing them to see their surroundings outside the tank with a push of a button, using the Elbit Systems IronVision helmet, which enables the tank’s crew to “see through the vehicle’s armor.”
This is meant to help solve complex navigation issues in different situations, especially in urban areas.
The Barak was designed with the soldiers in mind. As such, the operating system is able to adapt itself to their needs, allowing them to pick the optimal setting for their task.
While this is meant to lessen the workload for the soldiers, the teams will remain the same four people (commander, driver, gunner, and loader), but the tasks performed by the team members may change. Teams in Barak tanks will function differently than those of other tanks due to its unique abilities.
Among the new elements in the Barak are advanced targeting systems that combine data processing and independent scanning abilities, improved firing abilities that allow precise targeting in daylight and at night, improved cameras for driving at night, and radios. They were all developed by Elbit Systems, which also provides the guns, parts of the armored layers, air-conditioning system, and more.
The new tank’s system is designed to keep advancing as warfare and the battlefield develop. The machine-learning will adapt the system in such a way that soldiers will not have to constantly learn how to use new functions.
As part of the Merkava series (Mark 4 of the fifth generation), the Barak is technically a tank, but everything about its function, abilities, and design set it apart from the other models in the series. With time, the IDF intends to replace the older Mark 3 tanks with the Barak.
For now, the Barak tanks that have already joined the ranks of the Armored Corp will not be used in operations as the IDF focuses on training soldiers in this new system.
Gallant: Barak tank ushers Israel in new era
“On the occasion of marking 50 years since the Yom Kippur War, and the heroic battles fought by the Armored Corps defenders of our land, we receive further proof of the relevance and strength of the tank as a fundamental and decisive component of the ground forces,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
“The new era ushered in by the ‘Barak’ tank is an extraordinary leap and a clear expression of the technological capabilities that continually enhance and secure the qualitative advantage of the IDF, both in defense and offense,” he said. “I extend great appreciation to the engineers and professionals of MANTAK, the Ground Forces, and all those involved in this project.”
Sam Halpern contributed to this report.