|Merkava MK. VIII Heavy Tank|
|Mission||Main Battle Tank|
|Engine||Vlar 300 Fusion Engine|
The Merkava ("Chariot", in Hebrew) was the main heavy tank of the Terran Alliance and later the Terran Hegemony, with variants of the venerable design in service continually from the late twenty-third century until the end of the twenty-sixth century.
The Merkava is an ancient heavy battle tank design that started its service life with the Terran Alliance when the Mk. I first deployed in 2294; after the formation of the Terran Hegemony in the early twenty-fourth century, the Merkava Mk. II became a key component of the Hegemony Armed Forces armored units from it's introduction in 2384. The Merkava, produced by Leopard Armor of Terra, was deployed as a front line battle tank throughout the Age of War. The tank gained a kind of symbolic status during its service in the Terran Hegemony and had seen multiple revisions of its basic design over the course of the three centuries it was in service, with the last version produced by the Hegemony - the Mk VIII - finally ending production after being declared obsolete by the end of the Reunification War in 2597. By the time it was declared obsolete the Mk. VIII had been in service for over a century, having first been added to the HAF inventory in 2465.
Perhaps the most important part the Merkava played in history was serving as the opposing force for the first BattleMech, the Mackie's live-fire combat trial. Four remote-controlled Merkava Mk VIs were destroyed in such a fashion as to shock the observers, sealing the BattleMech's rise to the position of king of the battlefield.
The tank was produced by the Terran Alliance and Terran Hegemony until just before the formation of the Star League. It was retired from front-line service to the Hegemony militias and the surviving vehicles were finally cannibalized for parts - particularly the fusion engine - during the Succession Wars.
After the discovery of the Hegemony Memory Core, the tank was revised during the first half of the Jihad due to its simple construction. Earthwerks Incorporated, in the Principality of Regulus, created makeshift factories to produce a new version of the tank , the Mk. IX, on Tiber. The Regulan government had begun to deploy the Mk. IX to the Regulan Hussars in large numbers by 3073.
 Armaments & Capacities
All of the Merkava's main weaponry is mounted in its turret. The tank's long-range weaponry includes a 15-tube Long Range Missile Launcher with with 16 volleys of fire. The tank's main gun is a Class 5 Autocannon, which was given 20 rounds to feed it. For short-range defense, it has a single 4-tubed Short Range Missile Launcher with 25 reloads. Finally, for anti-infantry work, the tank sports paired machine guns, one mounted on the turret, while the other is located in the front of the tank. One hundred rounds are placed with the rest of the ammunition in the main body of the tank.
The VIII variant mounts a 300 Rated Fusion Engine (w/10 heat sinks), giving the tank the respective speed of 64 kph for its time period. Protecting the tank's hull is 10 tons of standard armor which is evenly spread out around the tank, with an added few tons on the turret.
- Merkava Mk. VI - The Mark VI was the last of the Merkava's Internal Combustion Engine variants. Moving at a top speed of 54 km/h, it used an LRM-10 with a ton of reloads for long range fire support, but the rest of the weapons remained the same. The biggest problem was the armor protection: The Mk. VI only carried four and a half tons of BAR 7 armor. This led to the tank's rapid destruction after the invention of the Large Laser. Several Mk. VI's had their LRM launchers removed to produce a remote-control version of the tank which were used to test the prototype Mackie BattleMech in combat. BV (2.0) = 477
- Merkava Mk. VII - Introduced in 2435, the Mark VII mounts a Primitive Fusion Engine, which gave the tank a top speed of 54 kph. It was also protected by primitive armor. The tank slightly differs from the Mark VIII version by having LRM 10 and SRM 2 launchers. BV (2.0) = 636
- Merkava Mk. IX - The Mark IX is the Principality of Regulus's modern version of the Merkava. The Tank mounts a Light Fusion Engine that allows for the installation of a Light Gauss Rifle in the turret, giving it 32 rounds of ammo. The tank's SRM 4 is upgraded to a Streak, while it retains the speed and armor protection of the VIII. BV (2.0) = 1,038
- The version IX of the tank only appears in the Unabridged Record Sheet book for 3075.
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged, p. 147
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War, p. 54
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 1, p. 13, "Merkava Mk. VI Heavy Tank"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Technical Readout: 3075, p. 174, "Merkava Mk. VIII Heavy Tank"
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged Age of War, p. 53
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War, p. 53
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged, p. 148
- ↑ Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War, p. 55