An Armored Corps brigade based in the North is set to do away with its aged tanks and begin receiving the IDF’s last word in tank warfare, the Merkava Mark IV, equipped with the Trophy antitank- missile shield.

Based in the Golan Heights, the 7th Armored Brigade has relied on Merkava Mark II tanks for more than 20 years. Some of the older tanks were manufactured in the late 1970s, but have since undergone a series of technological upgrades.

The 7th Armored Brigade’s tank crews have begun training with the new, hi-tech replacement at the Shizafon Advanced Armor Training Base in the Negev. New recruits to the brigade are now sent to train in the Merkava Mark IV, while battalions that worked the Mark II until now will this year take a two-month “conversion” course, enabling them to switch platforms. The first battalion to undergo a conversion course will begin using the Mark IV in August, according to the army.