Home > Armored Vehicles > Ofek


Heavy armored personnel carrier


The Ofek is converted from the out-dated Merkava Mk.2 tank

Country of origin Israel
Entered service ?
Crew 2 men
Personnel ~ 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 60 t
Length ~ 7.45 m
Width ~ 3.7 m
Height ~ 2.7 m
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm
Engine Teledyne Continental AVDS-1790-6A diesel
Engine power 908 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench ~ 3 m
Fording ~ 1.4 m


   The Ofek is a new Israeli heavy armored personnel carrier. It is based on out-dated Merkava Mk.2 main battle tank chassis. Prototype of the Ofek was first tested in 2015.

   The Merkava Mk.2 is out-dated and no longer used. Israel has hundreds of these main battle tanks in storage. In 2015 the Israel Defense Forces had begun a plan to take these tanks out of storage and convert them into heavy armored personnel carriers. Such low cost conversion allows to provide more protection of the troops. It is planned that the Ofek will be used by specific support forces, such as medical, logistical and rescue units, while infantry use Namer and Achzarit heavy APCs.

   Israel is among a few countries in the world, that produce and operates heavy armored personnel carriers. Furthermore Israel is the only country to field such vehicles in large numbers. Heavy armored personnel carriers are typically based on main battle tank chassis. Their role of these heavily protected vehicles is to carry infantry under armor. Also such vehicles offer more protections for the crew and dismounts against insurgent attack.

   During conversion turret of the Merkava Mk.2 was removed. New superstructure was added in order to increase internal space. Otherwise the Ofek retains the same layout with the front-mounted engine of the Merkava Mk.2 tank.

   This heavy armored personnel carrier has a crew of 2 and can carry around 10 dismounts. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via original rear hatch of the Merkava Mk.2 tank. It is worth noting that the Merkava Mk.2 could carry up to 10 troops when the ammunition was unloaded. Also the Ofek has roof hatches.

   It is likely that the Ofek has similar level of protection as the Merkava Mk.2 main battle tank. The superstructure of the Ofek has a cage armor for protection against RPG rounds. Also it is likely that this armored vehicle is fitted with jamming equipment which blocks radio signals that are used to detonate roadside bombs.

   This heavy armored personnel carrier is armed with at lease one 7.62 mm machine gun, mounted on the roof.

   This armored vehicle is powered by a Teledyne Continental AVDS 1790-6A air-cooled diesel engine, developing 908 hp. It is mated to Ashot Ashkelon 4-speed automatic transmission. The front-mounted engine provides additional protection for the crew and troops.

   Some sources report that Israel is developing a whole family of new heavy armored personnel carrier on the Merkava Mk.2 chassis. These might include specialized vehicles, such as minefield breaching vehicle, surveillance vehicle and so on.




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