The Jerusalem post is reporting that the IDF Armored Corps has officially started retiring the Merkava II tank from service in the conscripted brigades. All battlefield missions will be handled by Merkava III and IV tanks from here forward with the Merkava II only being used by reserve units for border patrol during times of war. As has been reported elsewhere, many of the Merkava II hulls will be converted into armored personal carriers and armored ambulances and transports. The article notes that by the end of 2016, the Seventh Armored Brigade, the last conscripted brigade to use the Merkava II, will switch to the Merkava IV.
“We have ended training for the Merkava II tank,” Lt.- Col. Dvir Edri, commander of the Armored Corps training school, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “From now on, draftees will be trained only on the newer tanks.”
Edri said his training center, located in the Shizafon military complex in the northern Negev, had spent many months preparing for the transition from the Mark II.
“This can only be good for us. From now on, we will train only using advanced tank technology,” he said.