Killertomato wrote:...and yet the M60 is still more similar to the Leopard 1 or the AMX-30 than it is to the Merkava.
How? You keep saying this, but outside of being steel tanks armed with a 105 they share literally nothing.
Saying the Merkava 1 is the same as a M60 is the same as saying the Leopard 1 and M60 is the same. Which they are not(but they are more identical than say, M60 and Merkava 1). They are entirely different in several areas. The thought pattern that some equipment and parts are similar = same vehicle isnt a feasible conclusion, and im having a hard time understanding how one ends up at that conclusion.
I don't like to keep going off topic on this thread, but I still feel I should clear some things up.
The Merkava program originated after the Israelis were blocked by the Brits from buying the chieftain, a vehicle Israel had actually done much of the design effort on with an aim to co-producing them. The new Merkava hull and turret were based on their work on the Chieftain (which you will notice with the angles), but almost all mechanical parts were taken from the M60. The domestic Matador FCS, and the Centurion derived running gear are about the only two exceptions. They chose the Centurion running gear because it was a fully externally sprung system, which greatly simplified maintenance at the expense of some performance loss. Claiming the early Merkava is totally separate from the M60 is like claiming that the Sherman Easy Eight isn't a Sherman because they modified the running gear and used a new turret and hull design compared to the early Shermans. The modern M60T shares less parts with the M60A1 than the Merkava I does and nobody counts it as not being an M60.
As an aside, the "M68 is just a US L7" is a common myth. The M68 in fact only shares the gun tube, and can fire the same ammo. The rest of the gun is entirely different. You will note that the M68 has a round breech, and its breechblock moves vertically. The L7's breechblock is horizontal and the breech is squared off, which in fact was why the Leo 1's L7A3 was made: to chamfer the edge of the breech to maximize depression in the low turret.