IMI to display tank round first used in Gaza conflict
M339 shell has become the principal munition for Merkava tanks.
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Israel Military Industries (IMI) is to display this week a tank shell that was first used operationally during last summer’s Gaza conflict, and which has been selected by a number of international military forces for urban operations.During the Ground Forces Conference, organized by Israel Defense magazine and set to begin in Latrun on Monday, IMI intends to display the M339 tank shell – currently the principal round for the IDF Armored Corps’ Merkava Mk. 3 and Mk. 4 tanks.The M339 round was first used operationally during Operation Protective Edge last summer in Gaza. According to IMI, it enables “main battle tanks to participate in urban warfare without causing excessive collateral damage.”A member of the High Explosive, Multi-Purpose Tracer (HE-MP-T) family, the shell was designed jointly with the Defense Ministry’s Merkava Development Administration and the IDF Ground Forces.It is “highly effective against enemy targets within buildings, particularly in built-up areas,” IMI said.The shell is fired with high precision and even a single shot can neutralize an enemy cell hiding inside buildings, while “significantly decreasing the harm of noncombatants,” said IMI.The defense company said the weapon is the “primary tank gun shell for use in urban and complex terrain. The new projectile address operational gaps realized during combat operations in 2006 and 2012.”Advertisement“Fitted with a smart, tri-modal fuse, the M-339 can explode on impact, or pass through a wall and detonate inside the target, thus maximizing lethality within the target area while minimizing collateral damage outside. It can also use delayed detonation,” said the company.