Israel unveils IDF’s new AI-powered ‘Barak’ super tank


The IDF’s new advanced and AI-powered Barak tank is operational and beginning to join the ranks of the army’s tanks, starting with Armored Corp’s Batallion 52, the Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The new tank has been in development and production for over five years. It was developed in a joint effort by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, the IDF Ground Forces, the Armored Corps, and the 401st Brigade.

With new targeting abilities, the tank is designed to monitor its surroundings and process and present the information to the soldiers in a simple and easy-to-use way. As part of this, the tank is programmed to zero in on and target the enemy before they are able to attack the tank.

The tech integrated into the tank

The system also allows the driver to focus on one environment at a time, allowing them to see their surroundings outside the tank with a push of a button. This is meant to help solve complex navigation issues in different areas, especially urban.

The Barak was designed with the soldiers at the center. As such, the operating system is able to adapt itself to the rank and needs of the soldier using it with a choice within the platform that allows the soldier to pick the optimal setting for their task.

While this is meant to lessen the workload for the soldiers, the teams will remain the same four people (commander, driver, gunner, and loader), but the tasks performed by the team members may change. Teams in Barak tanks will function differently to those of other tanks due to its unique abilities.

The tank also includes an advanced AI, multi-touch 21″ screens, and helmets with binoculars similar to those used by fighter pilots. 

Israel’s new ”Barak” tank pictured by an Israeli flag. (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY, IDF)

The new tank’s system is designed to keep advancing as warfare and the battlefield develop. Machine learning will adapt the system in such a way that soldiers won’t have to constantly learn how to use new functions.

As part of the Merkava series (mark 4 of the fifth generation), the Barak is technically a tank, but everything about its function, abilities, and design set it apart from the other models in the series. With time, the IDF intends to replace the older Mark 3 tanks with the Barak.

For now, the Baraks that have already joined the ranks of the Armored Corp will not be used in real operations as the IDF focuses on training soldiers in this new system.

Gallant: Barak tank ushers Israel in new era

“On the occasion of marking fifty years since the Yom Kippur War, and the heroic battles fought by the Armored Corps defenders of our land, we receive further proof of the relevance and strength of the tank as a fundamental and decisive component of the ground forces,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

“The new era ushered in by the ‘Barak’ tank is an extraordinary leap and a clear expression of the technological capabilities that continually enhance and secure the qualitative advantage of the IDF, both in defense and offense. I extend great appreciation to the engineers and professionals of MANTAK, the Ground Forces, and all those involved in this project.”

Sam Halpern contributed to this report.