TEL AVIV (Oct. 5)
Advanced weaponry claimed public attention in Israel yesterday. A new improved model of the Israel-made Merkava tank — the Mark II – was unveiled at a public ceremony at Latrun, scene of a bitter battle during Israel’s war for independence. And Israel Television disclosed last night that an Israel-manned American Hawk missile downed a Soviet-built MIG-25 fighter over Beirut in August, 1982.
The original version of the Merkava (Chariot) tank proved itself in action in Lebanon according to Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Tal, the man most responsible for the design and production of the tank. He said the new model has a 30-50 percent improved capability over the old. It is more maneuverable, better protected and more accurate in its fire power, Tal said.
According to Israel Television, modifications and special tactics worked out by an Israeli technician manning the Hawk battery were responsible for the MIG-25 kill.