Centurion "Shot Kal" MBT in the IDF

טנק סנטוריון "שוט קל" בשרות חיל השריון צה"ל


 IDF Shot Kal near an Egyptian T62 captured during Yom Kippur War
Shot Kal in Sinai during the 70's
Shot Kal in Sinai during the 70's

Centurion in a parade during the 60's

6 days war


The Sh'ot-Kal tank is an Israeli MBT based on Centurion, but with a 105 millimeter gun barrel and an american diesel engine AVDS-1790 and added new transmission CD850 so that there is spares compatibility with other Israeli tanks like the M48 and M60 (Magach).

The vast majority of MBT on the Golan in 1973 were Shot-Kal (upgraded Centurion) as the IDF preferred them due to the harsh (lava) nature of the ground. The Patton series of tank were used in the south where the sandy terrain better suited torsion bar suspension and rubber block track. It was also recognised that any attack would be unidirectional (i.e. from Syria straight at the defensive lines rather than mobile attacks in the desert due to the terrain and minefields) which the frontal armour on Centurion was more likely to be resistant to than M48/M60. 109, M107, M50 howitzer Sherman, Soltam 160mm mortar, Centurion ARV, M113, CJ5 recce jeeps, ½ tracks.

The big difficulty with the Shot is that as it has been in service so long, none is currently in its original configuration. Later in their operational lives Sh'ot Kal were prepared for the installation of ERA but most never actually had it fitted. The Shot-Kal Mk. D [also named “Brak-Or” (‘lightning light’ in Hebrew)] is tank is equipped with a thermal ‘sleeve’ on the gun tube, IS-10 smoke discharges and full BLAZER reactive add-on armor suit.

By 2002 the Centurion tanks had been retired from the IDF, after this tanks were in reserve forces (in late 1980's) because the Magach and Merkava (Mk1, Mk2, Mk3) tanks replace them in the battle field. But with the entry of Merkava Mk4 tanks the Centurion tanks were retired from the IDf

Sh'ot [A41 Centurion]

The original A41 Centurion tanks were produced near the end of World War II by manufacturers in Great Britain. The first Centurions had a 17 pound main gun while later models had a 20 pound gun.

The British Centurion was named "Sh'ot" (Scourge) by the Israelis and upgraded to meet their demands in modern warfare. Many different variants were bought by Israel over the years from many different countries. Original Centurions had 20 pounder main guns, these were quickly upgunned to the British 105 mm L7. The base vehicles went through a number of both major and minor modifications culminating in the Sho't with blazer package seen in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and retired with honor duing the 90's. The biggest modifications were the upgrade of the engine, sights and blazer packages. Many components of this once thought to be 'to technical tank' would find their way into the Merkava.

In 1966 the British needed money in order to complete the development of their new tank of the future, the Chieftain, with its 120mm cannon. This tank was designed to be the strongest and most modern in the west. In view of their financial constraints they proposed a "package deal". According to this deal, Israel would buy hundreds of obsolete Centurion tanks. The UK would allow Israel to participate in the final stages of Chieftain development, would sell Israel Chieftains, and would help Israel build, in Israel, an assembly line for Chieftains. This was seen as an ideal solution to the unacceptable predictions regarding the Mid-Eastern armor balance from both quantitative and qualitative points of view. Israeli cooperation with the British lasted for about three years. Two prototypes of the Chieftain tank were delivered to Israel. Israel invested heavily in the improvement and final development of the Chieftain in close cooperation with British officers and engineers. However, Arab states intervened. They threatened Britain with sanctions, with pulling their monetary reserves out of British banks, and other actions. Demonstrations were held in Arab capitals and British embassies were attacked. In November 1969 Britain withdrew from its Chieftain deal with Israel.

The Sh'ot is is a modernized British Centurion tank, correcting many of the serious defects in the original Centurion. The engine has been changed to a more efficient diesel engine, fire control has been modernized, armor has been thickened, and an improved ammunition layout allows more to be carried. An improved fire extinguishing system, better electrical system and brakes, and an increased fuel capacity complete the modifications. The Sho’t can be distinguished from the Centurion by its raised rear deck, to accommodate the bigger engine.

Sh'ot are Israeli Centurion Mk 3 and Mk 5 re-gunned with an 105mm gun. They either have the original 7.62 mm calibre on the commanders cupola or have it replaced by a 12.7 mm calibre HMG and american radios are fitted. When the Six-day War (1967) broke out, the IDF had 293 Sh'ot tanks that were ready for combat of total 385 tanks. During the war Israel captured 30 Centurion tanks from Jordan, when Jordan had only 44 Centurion tanks

1968 IDF parade in jerusalem
A Shot Kal crew during the 60's

1968 IDF parade in Jerusalem



  1. Anonymous8/1/09

    Go on, Israel, the free world is with you! Also my heart is with all you!!

  2. Anonymous14/1/09

    excellent blog, informatios and photos,your blog is in my favorites

  3. Anonymous16/1/09

    Excellent Blog. You Dutch Friends wish you all the best !

  4. Dayana Dragich31/8/10

    GOD BLESS HOLY LAND! Hatikvah!

  5. Anonymous11/4/11

    Am Israel Chai! Long live Israel! As for the rest of the world just be sure you love Israel long time

  6. Anonymous22/6/11

    joe s.c. usa the freeworld can not survive without such men as these crews.may GOD always look over the solders of israel.

  7. Anonymous23/10/13

    Thank You! You have a really nice blog here sir! You also have a long line of family Tan'kim commanders! Many respects to you and your family, from North Carolina!


IDF Sherman platoon pre 1967

IDF Sherman platoon pre 1967

1967 arab propaganda

1967 arab propaganda
Israel must be strong