Israel is in talks to sell used Merkava tanks to two undisclosed countries, including one in Europe, in what would be the first such export of the main battle tank.
Yair Kulas, head of the Israeli Defence Ministry export coordination department SIBAT, said record demand for Israeli products was due in part to countries wanting to replenish their arsenals after providing Ukraine with weapons for its war with Russia.
Kulas stated that Israel was exporting surplus systems it had not previously sold abroad, including earlier-generation Merkavas.
“There are two prospective countries with which we are in advanced negotiations (on a tank sale),” Kulas said. “I am barred from naming them, but one is on the European continent.”
The Merkava is a main battle tank that was developed and manufactured by Israel since the 1970s. It is designed to provide high survivability, firepower and mobility in various combat scenarios.
The Merkava has four variants, with the latest one being the Merkava IV, which entered service in 2004. Israel has about 1,600 Merkava tanks in its inventory, some of which are older models that are no longer in active use.
According to Israeli media reports, Israel is negotiating with potential buyers from Africa, Asia and Europe to sell them some of these surplus tanks. The exact number and price of the tanks are not disclosed, but it is estimated that each tank could cost around $1 million.