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Iranian Military Capability 2011

1. Ground Forces

Open Source Intelligence Project


Independent and objective analysis of current Iranian military capability using open-source non-
classified information. Assessments and views expressed represent those of the authors and are not
affiliated with any special interest group or political agenda.
V 1.0 March 2011
About the Project
The Open Source Intelligence Project 2011 is an attempt to draw together the most salient bits of currently
available Open Source material to piece together a broad and largely complete analysis of Iranian military
capability. Open Source refers to unclassified, public sources.

The co-authors and reviewers come from a wide range of backgrounds, including in some cases extensive
military intelligence experiences and/or relevant specialist knowledge. However, their primary connection is an
appreciation and active participation in the Open Source intelligence scene. All those involved have contributed
on an amateur/civilian basis. Some have requested to remain anonymous, for various reasons, which we must
respect.

The project was started in April 2010 and took months of writing, research, drafts and revisions to make it into
the form you are reading. We have attempted to provide a single text that will be easy to navigate and digest.
However, it is the work of multiple people and this may be apparent in different writing styles and minor
formatting differences. We apologize for this, but believe it is inevitable in this type of undertaking.

We hope that you find the document interesting and informative – we are hopeful that there is some
information and analysis which although open source in nature, is fresh and stimulating to even a highly
informed reader.

Authors (This Section)


· Galen Wright
Main Reviewer/Contributor (This Section, No Order)
· ‘TLAM Strike’
· Sean O’Connor
· Anonymous (1)
Additional Reviewing Pool (No Order)
· Anonymous (4)
· Eagle2009
· Dave Matteson
Acronyms
AAA – anti-aircraft artillery
AD – Armored Division
AFV – Armored Fighting Vehicle, hereafter usually in reference to a non-MBT platform
AP – Armor Piercing
APC – Armored personnel carrier
APFSDS – Armor piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot
AT – Anti-Tank
ATGM – Anti-Tank Guided Missile
AVLB - Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge
BDU – Battle Dress Uniform
CBW / CBRN – Chemical Biological Weapons / Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear
CB – Commando Brigade
CD – Commando Division
CEP – Circular Error Probability
CEV – Combat Engineering Vehicle
CT – Counter Terror
DCU – Dessert Camouflage Uniform
EO – Electro-Optical
ERA – Explosive Reactive Armor
FCS – Fire Control System
GCC – Gulf Cooperation Council. Alternately PGCC, or CCASG. Use of the term does not qualify as an endorsement of the
term “Arabian Gulf” or other term over “Persian Gulf”.
GOA – Government of Afghanistan
GOI – Government of Iraq
HE – High Explosive
HE-FRAG – High Explosive Fragmentation
HEAT – High Explosive Anti-Tank
HESH – High Explosive Squash Head
MANPADS – Man Portable Air Defense System
MCLOS – Manual Command Line of Sight
ID – Infantry Division
IEI – Iran Electronics Industry
IFV – Infantry Fighting Vehicle
IMINIT – Image Intelligence
IRIGF – Islamic Republic of Iran Ground Forces
IRIA – Islamic Republic of Iran Army
IRIAA – Islamic Republic of Iran Army Aviation
IRIP – Islamic Republic of Iran Police
IRGC – Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
IRGCGF – Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Ground Forces
ISAF – International Security Assistance Force
KE – Kinetic energy, usually in reference to KE penetrators uses as an anti-armor weapon
MANPATS – Man Portable Anti-Tank System
MBT – Main Battle Tank
MID – Mechanized Infantry Division
MLRS – Multiple Launch Rocket System
MG – Machine-gun
NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization
RAP – Rocket Assisted Projectile
RHA – Rolled Homogenous Armor
SAR – Search and Rescue
SACLOS – Semi Automatic Command Line of Sight
SIGINT – Signals Intelligence
TBM – Tactical Ballistic Missile
TEL – Transporter Erector Launcher
TO&E – Table of Organization and Equipment
1.1 –Overview
The backbone of the Iranian military is the Islamic Republic of Iran Ground Forces (IRIGF) and is
composed of the regular army as well as the IRGC ground forces.

Islamic Republic of Iran Army


The IRIA is made up of 350,000 active-duty troops organized into roughly 4
armored divisions, 6 infantry divisions, 2 commando divisions as well as numerous
independent brigades scattered throughout the country. Another 350,000 are
available as reserve troops. The IRIA exists as a conventional army designed to fight
3rd generation wars against state powers, though retaining some asymmetric capability.

Following the disaster of the Iran-Iraq war where the IRIA lost up to 50% of its assets, it has
rebuilt a small amount of its inventory through domestic projects and modest procurements from
Russia and China. Today it suffers continued disfavor due to the overall favoring of the IRGC and the
preference for asymmetric warfare rather then conventional forces.

The IRIA remains largely modeled on the post-WWII western force structure, maintaining a
large amount of antiquated western equipment such as Patton tanks, and the M113 APC in place of
what is required for a modern army. However they do maintain a modest asymmetric capability.

Iran continues to suffer from the usual ills of a conscript army including low retention and a
low amount of intensive training programs for the majority of its troops.

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Ground Forces


The IRGCGF, as well as its sub-entity, the Basij militia exists as a parallel
army to the IRIA and is tasked primarily with internal security as well as
maintaining the Islamic Revolution. In recent years, it has radically transformed
its identity and has become possibly the worlds first 4th generation state army.

They maintain 100,000 active-duty soldiers along with 90,000 active Basij. These are organized
into provincial "corps" optimized for an asymmetric defensive doctrine.

Originally founded following the revolution as a police force to prevent counter-revolutions, it


evolved during the Iran-Iraq war into a full-sized parallel army.

Their internal security role means that they, along with the police, are the primary force
combating groups like Jundallah and Kurdish separatist groups. Many perceive them as the vanguard
of the neo-hardliners like Ahmadinejad.

But more important is their asymmetric capability. Instead of maintaining a regular army like
the IRIA, the IRGCGF has developed into a very sophisticated force whose capabilities ranges from
cyber- deterrence to guerrilla warfare.

Soldiers in the IRGC are usually well equipped and extremely motivated with a strong sense of
support for the Islamic Republic. Despite this, unit reliability still varies due to varied training and a
degree of political cronyism.
A sub-set within the IRGC, The Basij militia is designed to act as a mobilization for local
resistance against any enemy force. It is estimated there are around 4 million Basij who are at least
somewhat ready for callup at any given time. These are organized into battalions within the regular
IRGC provincial corps.

The Basij are primarily light infantry, though some units are comparable to the regular IRGCGF,
complete with paratroopers, artillery battalions and AT weapons. However, these are few and far
between. Like the IRGC, the Basij membership usually comes from the poor, ultra-religious classes who
have a strong interest in maintaining a conservative Islamic Republic government.

The Basij have an important internal-security role which is not explored in this document.
1.2 – Islamic Republic of Iran Ground Force Military Capability

Conventional Warfighting Overview


The IRIGF's conventional war-fighting capability has steadily degraded since the overthrow of
the Shah though in recent years they have attempted to rebuild their forces including a modest
procurement strategy in the 1990's with Russian and Chinese equipment. However this would only
account for 50-65% of what was required to re-equip the IRIGF.

To fix this, Iran turned inward, in some areas this campaign has been remarkably successful;
Iran has one of the most credible ballistic missile programs outside the former cold-war powers and
their indigenous anti-armor and small arms capabilities are strong. However, major systems like
domestic AFVs and artillery, the core of any modern army, remains conspicuously lacking in
widespread service.

This leaves the IRIGF's conventional forces in poor shape, with an inventory composed mainly
of antiquated US designs as well as Soviet and Russian weapons that have long since passed their
heyday. Meanwhile, their Arab neighbors have procured large amounts of Western technology like the
Abrams tank and the Bradley AFV.

However, Iran still holds one advantage, and that is training and motivation. While this might
not be a positive factor when imagining a ground war between Iran and the US it is when considering
a war between Iran and any of its Arab neighbors. Saudi Arabia displayed during its brief intervention
in Yemen that technological superiority can't function if the soldiers fall back to the same old
strategies they've known for tens of years. The Saudis were unable to effectively use air supremacy or
successfully gain the initiative through superior maneuver tactics.

Iran on the other hand, has historically always had an extremely motivated military cadre.
While their equipment still limits their potential, military units participate in large, combined arms
exercises with numerous smaller ones between them. This is in addition to a strong sense of
nationalism as well as religious fervor, which Iran has managed to combine into a very unique ideology
that cannot be discounted as a strategic tool.
Unconventional Warfighting Overview
Because the disparity between Iran and the US and their Arab allies is so great the IRIGF has
been forced to search elsewhere for a strategy to both defend itself and boost its regional power. The
result is what has become a service-wide effort to adopt a defensive asymmetric warfare strategy that
focuses on several overall goals such as deterrence with conventional arms, winning battles through
superior small-scale defensive tactics, and using political pressure to win the war.

The principle of deterrence within the IRIGF begins with generating a fear of a ground war with
Iran. It's no surprise that much of the recent training in Iran has focused around guerrilla warfare and
defensive strategies. The aim, much like Switzerland, is to create a country that bogs down any
invader. Another key element of deterrence is through the use of tactical ballistic missiles like the
Nazeat and Zelzal as a stand-in for air-power which gives the Iranians the power of having a strike
capability against US bases or Gulf Arab oil assets.

A powerful element to this strategy is cyber-deterrence, a battle strategy that focuses on


presenting the image of a deterrent, directly shaping perceptions to replicate a conventional
deterrent. In Iran we see it through the broadcasting of exercises, and the announcement of every
new military weapon; the Iranians are participating in an active information-war with the US over the
representations of what a shooting war would look like. While the Pentagon paints a scenario of clean,
surgical action, the Iranians are creating fear over the activation of infiltrator elements within Iraq and
Afghanistan, the risk of ballistic missile strikes against oil facilities, and so on and so forth. At this
point, the Iranians seem to be winning, the fact that the media frequently abounds with stories of
rumored Iranian 'super-weapons' prove that they are having at least some effect on the world psyche.

But what if the strategy of deterrence fails? Should war break out, how would Iran fight it? All
evidence points to their response being disproportionately asymmetrical. The Iranian military,
particularly the IRGC, is moving toward a more network-centric combat force modeled somewhat
after Hezbollah. Divisions and brigades are replaced with lightweight, mobile infantry units equipped
with weaponry such as MANPATS/MANPADSs that serve as foils to counter or deflect an enemies
strengths without challenging them on their own level. These units would fight on the defensive,
alternately pulsing and swarming around an invading army, aiming to bleed them out not through
decisive engagements but through consistent, omnipresent attrition reducing their enemy’s ability to
wage war.

A key part of this 'Mosaic Doctrine' as it is called is the focus on autonomy. What this boils
down to is the replacement of traditional military hierarchies with a looser network-centric
organization in which the different units, whether they are a 4-man squad, or a full-sized battalion
aren't linked via a top-down control structure, but operate as individual nodes that are largely
independent from another. The abolishment of hierarchies within military organizations have been
consistently demonstrated to increase tactical initiative, and in turn, allow the network to respond
more fluidly to an attack, an important tactic considering the US’s concept of a neo-blitzkrieg relies on
disrupting the enemies chain of command, and by doing so, preventing them from being able to take
any action.

Thanks to the politically favorable position of officials such Generals Jafari, Safavi, Salami and
Abbasi who are the greatest promoters of this strategy, asymmetrical deterrence and war-fighting has
made tremendous leaps and bounds in recent years, receiving nearly unlimited funding compared to
other branches as well as directing arms procurement strategies.

It should be heavily emphasized that the successful execution of these plans requires total
focus on strategic goals and it would be entirely viable for a scenario to unfold where the IRIA
attempts to fight an enemy in a head-on battle and loses horribly, and by doing so, compromises any
gains an asymmetric strategy could attain. Also, because so many of the weapons, like TBMs, focus on
the deterrent value, their value plummets if they ever have to be used in anger.

Note that this strategy of information warfare has many different targets. Iran has cast itself
throughout the developing world as a champion of anti-colonialist struggles everywhere, from
Venezuela to Hezbollah as well as internally. Any war would seek to preserve this image, and in
keeping with the notion, the mere act of fighting the US/Israel, of resisting, might be enough to secure
the image, internally and externally.
1.3 – The War with Iran
A ground war involving Iran could break out in a number of different ways, fortunately for
those involved, none are very likely at this point in time.
For instance, the Arab states in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could decide that they fear
the regional ambitions of Iran so much that it warrants a pre-emptive strike by the combined armies of
the main Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, this remains unlikely as the Gulf
Arabs are more then content to let the US military in the region act as their sword and shield. After all,
why risk your military, especially with all its expensive toys when there's someone else willing to do
the fighting? No less important is Iran's deterrence credibility. With hundreds of anti-ship missiles
lining the Persian Gulf coast, fleets of small boats ready to lay naval mines, and even more rockets and
missiles aimed at Arab oil facilities, any state would be loathe to risk a war that would endanger the
only thing holding their country together. Due to this, any short term conflict involving aggression on
the part of the GCC is extremely unlikely due to the acute danger it poses to their economic lifeline –
however 15-20 years down the line when their oil is beginning to run out, they might get desperate,
and then it's anyone's game.
On Iran's eastern borders they face Afghanistan, a failed nation that will be unable to field an
army competent enough to police its own territory let alone attack Iran for quite sometime. Iran is
also making strategic inroads into western Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always existed in the Iranian
sphere of influence since the first days of the Persian Empire but more recently Iran has funded
development of the greater-Herat area and are attempting to play GOA (Government of Afghanistan
against anti-GOA forces and visa versa. However, it is worth noting that instability continues to spill
over into Iran as smuggling, both of drugs and other materials, wrecks havoc on eastern Iran and
armed clashes often erupt on the border region between IRIP or IRGC forces and well-armed
smugglers. Also, unlike in Iraq or other Arab countries, Iran has been unable to find a faction willing to
fight under the Iranian banner, however they have been making inroads to some groups, reportedly
attempting to win over and coopt certain elements of the Taliban and other anti-GOA) forces.

Pakistan's focus on the other hand is still directed toward India in the east and to a limited
degree, inward on its own problems with militant Islam. However Pakistan is an increasingly fragile
country held together by nothing more then it’s military; because of this it is possible that in the
future years a collapsed Pakistan might spill-over into Iran's Baluchistan region, exacerbating existing
separatist conflicts. Smuggling and other criminal activity is as much a problem with Pakistan as with
Afghanistan.

To the north, Iran maintains positive relations with Turkmenistan, Turkey and Armenia making
armed conflict unlikely. Iran's relations with Azerbaijan, although not perfect, show no sign of breaking
into war any time soon.

The most likely scenario for any ground war involving Iran would undoubtedly involve the US.
However, the US is functionally incapable of waging a full-scale war against Iran, while it might
technically be possible, the US after all has the worlds preeminent armed forces, the simple fact of the
matter is that the US doesn't have the political will or desire to. After two wars spanning almost the
whole decade, the US population is war-weary, combine a struggling economy, a towering national
debt, a divided government and a military that is bogged down fighting a strengthening insurgency in
Afghanistan. Taking this all into account, it is very unlikely that a full-scale ground war will ever erupt
between the US and Iran for the foreseeable future.

However, there are several scenarios on how armed conflict could break out. They would most
likely center around a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, whether it was by the US themselves, or after
becoming drawn in after an Israeli strike.

The first scenario involves a limited-war featuring a short push into Iranian territory in order to
preempt any Iranian response to a nuclear strike. This is the less likely scenario, but it's the most
illustrative of Iran's capability vs a technologically superior enemy in a conventional war. The second
scenario focuses around small skirmishes and battles as part of retaliation for strikes on their nuclear
facilities.

In either scenario, Iran's primary strategic goals would remain the same. Iran knows that they
no longer need to win battles to win the war, such a mythos has been built up around the might of the
US military that anything less then complete and total victory becomes viewed as a loss and when the
war in question doesn't decisively end in a capture of the enemies capital as it once did, the
representations and perception of the war is what really counts. This explains why Iran's war-fighting
strategy likely centers around two main principles – 1) maintain overall military and civilian
infrastructure survivability, and 2) giving the US a bloody nose.

Maintaining survivability serves a very real purpose, since any war with the US is unlikely to be
decisive, there is no incentive to expend large amounts of equipment and manpower because no
matter how much is spent, the threat isn't going away, and the US always has the ability to attack
again. For instance, during the Iran-Iraq war, Iran could justify total war because, at least in theory, the
war was going to end either with the collapse of the Islamic Republic or the collapse of Baathist Iraq.
In this case, the US has no intention of conventionally overthrowing the Islamic Republic by sheer
military might, and likewise, Iran simply doesn't have the ability to destroy the US. It should also go
without saying that survivability of military targets is important as it allows them to keep fighting.
Protecting civilian infrastructure on the other hand has a far more long-term goal. Iran knows how
devastating a war can be, they're still recovering socially and economically from the damage inflicted
in the 1980's, and they have no desire to repeat the process. Both of these factors also are key to
winning the representations of the conflict because any conventional battles would likely be judged by
the same standards of the 1st and 2nd US wars with Iraq – if the US military can't achieve total victory,
even if just because Iran refuses to engage in conventional battles, the US suddenly finds itself in a
much less advantageous position when arguing why it won the war.

Giving the US a bloody nose also serves both a practical and perceptual purpose. Because of
the mythos of invulnerability, if Iran was able to deal a deadly blow, even if in the grand scheme of
things it is largely inconsequential, Iran could emerge victorious. This could take many forms, for
instance it could be as simple as being able to destroy a number of tanks, or as complex as being able
to execute extensive airborne assault operations in Iraq. While it is unlikely to the point of
impossibility that Iran would ever be able to launch an offensive operation that would uproot the US
presence in Afghanistan and the Gulf, on the defensive they aim to create a defensive net, a mix of
conventional and unconventional warfare that would attempt to repel or at least bog down and injure
an invader.
One of the major questions associated with Iran's favoring of asymmetrical warfare strategies is
whether or not they would even attempt to field a conventional army with the foreknowledge that the
US would, in all likelihood, destroy it. This is entirely up in the air, in a scenario where the US physically
invades and attempts to capture and hold land, deployment of conventional assets like armored
divisions in a defensive role would be likely, but in a retaliatory situation their use in an offensive
would be unlikely because perceptually it elevates the conflict from skirmishes and low-level action to
a full-scale war which would evoke a much different response from the US military. Rather, some sort
of hybrid would evolve – we could see IRIA artillery, TBMs and rotary-wing aircraft acting in a
conventional role to support the IRGC's unconventional warfare. Of course this is not an exact
prediction on how the IRIA and IRGC will cooperate, but it is one possible way and illustrates the
hybridization that could evolve.
It must be remembered that Iran's strategy revolves around winning the virtual battle-grounds,
every move they make is made with this principle in mind. Whoever wins the discourse, wins the war.

Conventional Limited War


In this model, the US would seek to quickly enter and temporarily occupy Iranian territory in
order to pre-empt any Iranian retaliation for a strike on their nuclear facilities. This would be
accomplished by armored spearheads driving into the country, designed to break Iran's force cohesion
and disrupt their organization, with infantry following behind to mop up resistance and secure the
flanks. This would be combined with heavy use of air support for strike operations and close air
support.

It bears repeating that this is not meant to predict how a war will unfurl down to the last
brigade but merely present an illustration of the kind of war Iran would be fighting – namely against a
foe that relies on technological and doctrinal superiority to win battles combined with a reliance on air
power and ground-force mechanization. It's also important to note that many of the features of both
scenarios will overlap, for instance, in event of a limited-war, TBMs and infiltration missions would
also occur, even though they're only specifically mentioned in the second scenario.

It is important to consider
geography when considering how a war
would unfold. Because the US strategy
would center on blitzkrieg-like armor
tactics, any hypothetical invasion route is
actually fairly easy to envision. Because
the US depends on heavy and light
armor, strong roads are a must for
maximum speed for both the AFV's and
their supply columns. Combined with
mountainous terrain, the potential
avenues of attack are anything if not
predictable.
Because of this, the value of the
Mosaic doctrine, which emphasizes unit

An illustration of Iran's major highways – the likely invasion route of


any attack against Iran
autonomy, becomes apparent. Because the blitzkrieg relies in crushing an enemy’s cohesion with the
first rapid punch through, any force that survives with an intact decision-making process instantly
becomes a danger to the rear forces as soon as the first wave has passed through.
This presents quite a few complications for an invading army as well as granting an advantage
to the defenders. For instance, Iran no longer needs to engage in strategic wars of maneuver because
the highways and mountains funnel attackers into predestined locations. In this sense, conventional
troops can be organized into defensive formations operating in urban or mountainous terrain. This
narrows the playing-field at least somewhat as Iran's inferiority in this sense is less important when
they only have to defend certain choke-points. One tactic Iran might use in this scenario is to “bury”
their armor in underground ramps that would enable them to hide from optical surveillance and wait
until the opportune moment to launch their attack on a passing enemy; this tactic has been observed
being performed by IRGC or IRIA T-72's on the western border with Iraq. Extensive bunker
fortifications and supply depots are also a likely feature that would serve to slow any invader.
But the real advantage in Iran's terrain goes to the light infantry that form the bulk of Iran's
armies. In Iraq, Coalition AFVs with their electronic sights and long-ranged guns dominated the
battlefields, being able to look out and deliver fire as far as they could see across the flat desert. But in
the mountains of western Iran, they would face a much different environment. The valleys and
mountains obstruct long-range field of views and fire, while roads restrict vehicle mobility and offer
tempting points of ambush. Iran on the other hand appears well-adjusted for mountain warfare. One
interesting, though non-scientific measurement of this fact is that the mountain warfare badge,
jokingly called the 'Rambo patch' by some IRIGF soldiers, is one of the most frequently seen patch on
soldiers on parade or exercise. Infantry units are well equipped with heavy use of man-portable
artillery, anti-tank weapons, and an emphasis on high-mobility vehicles like motor-bikes and light
Jeeps and trucks. Moreover, the territory is perfectly suited for defense. Artillery can be situated in
valleys and pre-sighted and is largely protected from counter-battery fire as the mountains make
discerning the location difficult. Infantry equipped with light-weight direct fire weapons like ATGMs
and recoilless rifles can be situated within concealed bunkers inside the hill-sides, a tactic which
photos of war-games show us is in use. In this case, both the IRIA and IRGCGF would both be operating
in this function, in a zone somewhere between maneuver and guerrilla warfare, emphasizing just how
much they've made unconventional, conventional.
However, this doesn't apply to one area in Iran – the south-west of the country in the
Khuzestan province. Mostly flatland's and covered in light desert, Khuzestan is perfectly suited for the
US style of warfare, with no where to hide, US air-power and armor would reign supreme. In fact,
many Iranian analysts consider it a given assumption that an invading power would occupy Khuzestan
in the opening salvo. Iran is caught between a rock and a hard-place when it comes to defending this
region. Committing a tactical retreat into more favorable terrain risks losing a very important symbol,
however rushing to defend it could also invite a disastrous result. If they were to fall back to the cities
for their defenses, initiating a 'Battle for Khorramshahr version 2', it would evoke a very powerful
patriotic response, though the long term risks of the potential damage to their infrastructure would be
great. Perhaps Iran has one more then one trick up their sleeve and it would be presumptuous to
instantly write off this portion of the country as ready to be invaded. Saddam did and he spent the
better part of a decade fighting over it.

The Basij would play an interesting role in a defensive war. There is an estimated 10 battalions
of “battle-ready” Basij per province, battalions which due to being light infantry, are probably fairly
large. The role of the Basij, excepting certain elite units, would be to form an organic defense matrix
throughout the embattled areas. In this manner, they wouldn't likely pose that much of a threat to the
first enemy spearhead breaking through, but as a partisan force they would be valuable in slowing an
enemy’s advance and bolstering regular troops and disrupting the supply line needed to keep a
modern mechanized western army running. They would seek to pulse around an attacker, focusing
swarming efforts around a passing enemy that would dissolve back into the country side and the city
when the threat has passed.
Retaliatory Attack
Iran in this scenario is the tactical aggressor, retaliating against US forces in Iraq and
Afghanistan for an attack on their nuclear program. They would likely be attempting to walk a very
thin line, deal enough damage to the US that perceptually their reputation is sustained, but they
would also not want to escalate the conflict too much and risk full-out war with the US, something
they could not afford.

One element of this would likely involve attacks with TBMs and long range artillery. While the
mechanics of a TBM strategy are discussed in its own section, what will be investigated here is the
actual battlefield application. Iran's targets in Iraq are becoming scarcer as the US winds its troop
presence down. In Afghanistan, the deployment of ISAF/NATO troops means that relatively few US
troops are actually in range of Iranian TBMs and those that are, share facilities with other foreign
soldiers and civilian entities, which means that they would be unlikely targets if Iran wished to avoid
escalation.

One such potential target might be Balad air base in Iraq, while the US is officially withdrawing
all combat troops (which is a loose definition by itself), in event of a war with Iran, the US would
undoubtedly use the country as a base for it’s troops as with Saudi Arabia in 1991. This alone would
have a whole host of potential political ramifications that is beyond the scope of this piece. However,
assuming the US was using Balad to base fighters out of, it would be a tempting target for Iranian
TBMs. The question is whether they stand a good chance of hitting the base without significantly
endangering Iraqis, and if so, what damage could they do?

The available launching zones are actually fairly limited because the minimum ranges of several
of the rockets means there is actually a very small track of land where the missiles can be fired from.
The only two rockets that don’t fit this pattern are the guided Tondar-69 and Fateh-110.
One advantage the Iranians would have going for them however is that Balad is such a large
static target, which means they would have ample time to set up and prepare launching zones that
are pre-sighted for quick launches.

One of the more common missiles in the Iranian inventory is the Zelzal-3 which is often seen
on exercise fired in large salvos. Iran has also demonstrated against Kurdish militias that they have
both the proclivity and the ability to sustain these large salvos. The missiles are often seen being
launched in battalion or larger formations
This map shows the circular error probability (CEP) of two missiles in Iran’s inventory, the
Fateh-110 and the Zelzal-3. A missiles CEP roughly translates to 50% of all missiles fired landing in a
circle with a radius that large.

With accuracies this poor, they would be restricted to area bombardment rather then precise
strikes, such as in an attempt to destroy the runway. That’s why bases like Balad are really the only
viable targets for TBMs. One way to increase the lethality would be to use submuniton bomblets, a
tactic Iran has already announced they are pursuing as a way to disable aircraft carriers.
Lethal zone of HE submunitions vs the lethal zone of a unitary warhead of the Fateh 110.

Lethal zone of HE submunition warhead of the Zelzal-3. Unitary warhead unknown.

The slight difference of submunition weights is attributed to following the “RAND Model” elaborated
on within the TBM section (used on the Fateh-110), and the calculated weight of submunitions carried
by the Shahab-3 (used on the Zelzal-3). Ultimately, the increased lethal-radii balance out the reduced
number of bomblets and there is no more then 1-2 m difference between the two models.

As one can see, when combined with cluster-warheads, there is potential for damage, even if it
is just light shrapnel which would only harm exposed personnel or thin-skinned aircraft. However this
assumes that full volley of rockets can be coordinated between multiple, relatively large assets, a risky
gamble so close to the border.

Another threat comes from the IRGCGF infiltration abilities. It's reasonable to suspect that
Iran has already prepared for the eventuality of a war and already has a substantial amount of sleeper
cells residing within Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone the rest of the world. Given Iran's cultural
connections with both of these countries, soldiers and weapons could easily be smuggled behind US
lines by concealing them as Shia pilgrims traveling to Najaf and Karbala, or blending in with the
multitude of merchants that do business across the border daily. Indeed, Iran is already being accused
of using these avenues to smuggle weapons to their proxies in these countries. The IRGC also
maintains thousands of independent squad-sized teams with the goal of harassing and infiltrating any
invaders rear. The IRGC already conducts regular infiltration operations in and around Iraqi Kurdistan;
it is likely that they already have plans in place for the de facto “occupying” of Iraqi Kurdistan, an area
the US and Baghdad have little control over as it is. For instance, the 3 hikers that are currently being
held in Iran on charges of spying are believed to have been captured by Iranian forces in Iraq and
journalists who have ventured close to the border report that Iran, not Iraq, approves or forbids travel
in the region.

Though somewhat more conventional, Iran also maintains a substantial army aviation
contingent that has always shown an extreme affinity for airborne and airborne assault operations.
With these assets, the IRIAA or IRIGCAF could be used to carry troops for infiltration or flanking
attacks, particularly in remote areas where helicopters are the only mode of transportation such as in
Northern Iraq or Afghanistan. However it is questionable whether they would survive long enough in a
war to still carry out effective operations, the US after all has veritably made it their specialty to
destroy aircraft on the ground, and airbases make irresistible targets to an enemy with air supremacy.
This question ultimately depends on how the war actually unfolds, if Iran is aware of the military
buildup that would likely precede any strike on their nuclear facilities, they might choose to disperse
their fleet in order to increase survivability, though this would almost necessarily degrade combat
effectiveness. But if it was a surprise US attack, it is entirely conceivable that the majority of the IRIAA
would be caught unprepared.

This is to say nothing of the possibilities of using their proxies for retaliation. However, as it
deals more with politics and less with Iran's ground forces, it has purposefully been omitted.

In the end, just as with the cold-war between the US and the USSR, any scenario for a large
ground war with Iran in the near future is unlikely. Iran's enemies are either embroiled with their own
struggles, or have been successfully deterred. Just as important however, is the fact that Iran has no
interest in conquering territory with their military. Rather, they're content with expanding their soft-
power, letting their proxies do the fighting and achieving the dream of empire by political means, or at
the very least, with someone else pulling the triggers on the guns.
1.4 – Organization and Order of Battle - IRIA

Note: Unless otherwise specified, the term corps refers to the general forces rather then the specific organization, in other
words, "armored corps" refers to armored units rather then a corps-sized armored force. Also, when referring to brigades,
they are referred to as ‘first’, ‘second’ and ‘third’ – these designations should not be taken to represent actual unit names,
but as placeholders for when the actual designation is unknown, which is currently the case for every brigade excepting
independent ones.

The IRIA is currently composed of around four armored divisions, six infantry divisions and a
number of independent brigades located throughout the country. These are made up by 350,000
soldiers, and of these, 220,000 are conscripts serving their 16 months as required by law. In addition
to this, there are 350,000 first-tier reservists.

All soldiers who complete their 16 months of required conscription (or however long their
voluntary time lasts) are obligated for roughly 28 years of service, perhaps best comparable to how
the Finnish reserve system works. The 28 years are divided into 4 periods which can be translated into
the 'cautionary period', lasting 8 years, the 'first storage period', lasting 10 years and the 'second
storage period' with each period logically indicating the readiness level. Reservists do not receive
additional training after their initial military service, meaning that any reservists more then 1 or 2
years out of active duty would only have nominal capability.

Recruits go through a two-month long basic training camp where they receive general military
training. Then they depart to a more intensive service training course across the country, such as the
infantry training center in Shiraz, the armored center, also in Shiraz, or the artillery center, in Isfahan.
Exemptions can be obtained from disabilities while deferments and reduced terms are granted for
various academic reasons or various socio-economic requirements.

They still maintain a heavily western TO&E, though by how much they've integrated ex-Soviet
and Chinese influences as they've switched weapons remains unknown.

Soldiers with the IRIA, with few exceptions, wear US pattern woodland BDU's and carry G3 or
AK-47 variant assault rifles. It is possible at this point, but still unconfirmed, that the safariflage pattern
usually associated with the 23rd commando division is becoming standard throughout the Army,
replacing woodland BDUs. Body armor, such as ballistic helmets and vests are still restricted to specific
units, a 'steel pot' helmet being far more common. Squad support weaponry includes the MG3 and
PKM machine-guns as well as the RPG-7. Deployed at a slightly higher level are recoilless rifles, light-
mortars and light rocket launchers supplemented heavily, compared to other countries, with ATGM's
and MANPADS's.

These soldiers, both in conventional light infantry units and mechanized infantry are organized
into companies averaging 85 - ~125 soldiers each.

Note that in addition to the specific units detailed below, there also exists large number of
garrisons and barracks across the country in different cities. Recent announcements indicate that all
Army bases located in cities will be moved in the future. This was known to be previously affecting
selected bases (mentioned below), but now apparently applies to most/all Artesh units.
The approximate location of all known major IRIA units. Note that only divisional headquarters are shown (with the
exception of the 16th AD which spans 3 provinces) - brigades are then located within the province. Exact location of 41st
Infantry Brigade is unknown.

Infantry Corps
The IRIA has six infantry divisions, at least three of them are mechanized with a number of
independent brigades throughout the country.

According to some sources, mechanized infantry divisions are made up of one armored
brigade, three mechanized infantry brigades, one reconnaissance battalion, one SPA battalion, one
towed artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, a supply battalion, a transport battalion as well as
containing an army aviation and air defense contingent. However this organization cannot be
confirmed by real-world observations. A regular infantry division would likely look the same, but
replacing mechanized and armored brigades with light infantry, and replacing the self-propelled
artillery battalion with another towed gun battalion. Also included is a commando battalion, though
this might be labeled as a secondary light-infantry unit.
Mechanized units are the primary users of APCs like BTR-60s and M113s, while regular infantry
units still rely primarily on light vehicles like Toyota trucks, Safir jeeps and 5-ton transport trucks.
Artillery battalions are composed of towed guns, mainly weapons like the M-46 and D-30.

The known infantry units are:

64th Infantry Division


Headquartered near Urmia in the West Azerbaijan province in north-western Iran. Currently,
the first brigade is located in Urmia, the second in Salmas, and the third in Piranshahr. Its composition
is unknown.

Up until recently, the headquarters was located directly within the city, however in April 2010,
the decision was made to move the base outside the city in order to alleviate urban congestion.

21st Infantry Division


Based out of Tabriz in the East Azerbaijan province in north-western Iran. The first brigade is in
Tabriz, the second in Maragheh and the third in Marand. A fourth brigade may exist but its existence
remains unlikely given the usual composition of divisions with three rather then four brigades.

They may use the both the D-30 and the M-46 towed guns, but the fact that the 2nd brigade
shares a compound with the 11th independent artillery group prevents knowing which unit the latter
belongs to.

30th Infantry Division


Based in the city of Gorgan, in the Golestan province in northern Iran. It also serves as a
training center for troops from all across Iran, graduating 1500-2000 troops monthly. It is unclear
exactly what training this is for.

Artillery support is provided at least in part by the M-46 towed gun.

40th Independent Infantry Brigade


The 40th independent infantry brigade is based out of the city of Ardabil in the Ardabil
province in north-western Iran.

41st Independent Brigade


Not necessarily, but presumed to be, an infantry brigade. Based somewhere in the West-
Azerbaijan province.

28th Mechanized Infantry Division


Based out of Sanandaj in the Kurdistan province in western Iran. 1st brigade is in Sanandaj, the
2nd might be in Baneh, but recent satellite imagery shows no build-up, compared to others who put
them at Saqqez and Marivan, where there are visible military facilities.

The division is most likely equipped with M-60A1 MBTs and M113//BTR-60/BMP-1 AFVs.
Artillery support is provided at least in part by the D-30 towed gun.
84th Mechanized Infantry Division
Based out of Khorramabad in the Lorestan province in western Iran. The 1st brigade is located
in Khorramabad, the 2nd is in a rural setting around 20 km west of Khorramabad.

It is plausible that the 84th uses the remaining Chieftains as part of their armored brigade.
Mechanization appears to be mainly BTR-60's rather then being split between them and M113's.
Artillery support is provided at least in part by the D-30 towed gun around 2 battalions of an unknown
gun, possibly the GHN-45. The 2nd brigade uses 2 battalions of D-30 towed guns.

77th Mechanized Infantry Division


Based out of Mashhad in the North Khoresan province in north-eastern Iran, on the border
with Afghanistan. They recently made the decision the move their base out of the city of Mashhad to
the surrounding country-side as better to relieve urban congestion. Brigade location is unknown,
however Neyshabur and Bojnurd are likely candidates.

As a mechanized division, it has one armored brigade in Mashhad equipped with M-47M and
more recently, T-72 tanks as well as M113 and BTR-60 APCs. BMP-type AFVs are likely as well.

55th Airborne Brigade


Based out of Shiraz, the 55th is notable for being a
primarily paratroop brigade in addition to being a more
general airborne unit. It is occasionally called a division.

They make heavy use of the ~10 IRIAF C-130's and


IRIAA fleet of transport helicopters, though are not heavily
mechanized otherwise.

The 55th airborne during Sacred Defense Week They are identifiable by their duck-hunter
2009 camouflage, black beret and unit insignia on the upper right
sleeve. More recently they have been seen wearing uniforms in the desert safariflage pattern.

65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade


Along with the 23rd commando division, the 65th
is one of the most adept units within the IRIA. The 65th is
headquartered in Tehran. They operate as a rapid-
deployment airborne light-infantry unit with counter-
terror abilities. They are a HALO-capable force.

They are identifiable by their green-dominant


safariflage camouflage, as well as a distinctive unit patch
of a green parachute canopy and a single bird-wing
swooped back. Instead of the usual G3, they are usually Members of the 65th brigade on a training exercise
in Spring 2010
seen with AK-47 variant rifles as well as MP5 and Uzi sub machine-guns. Recently they have been seen
wearing uniforms in a digital green and tan pattern.
Commando Corps
Commando units are a subset of infantry rather then
being an entirely separate branch. The most likely difference,
judging from what is available is that commandos are specialty
troops designed for light insertion in rough terrain with
emphasis on a variety of deployment such as motor-bikes,
trucks and aviation assets. They often function as rangers and it
is not uncommon to see soldiers with patches from ranger
school as well as mountain-warfare, desert-warfare and airborne
badges.

They are usually identifiable by their duck-hunter


camouflage and tan berets. Most units use AK-47 variant rifles
instead of the usual G3 found within the IRIA.

They operate both as independent divisions and brigades


as well as functioning as infantry battalions within larger IRIA
units. Brigades are split up into 3 infantry battalions, one
artillery battalion, 1 air defense battalion, and one instruction
Provisional illustration of an independent
battalion; divisions are likely just scaled up with 3 brigades. commando brigade's organization

58th Commando Division


Based out of Dezful. Named the "Zulfiqar" division.

23rd Commando Division


The 23rd commando division is one the most elite
units in Iran. Originally started as a brigade, but was
expanded to a full division with 4+ brigades during the war
with Iraq. Most sources put its number at 5,000, but this
number still dates from its days as a brigade. The unit is
reported to be made up entirely of volunteers and
consistently has top-notch equipment and what is likely the
best training available. They are identifiable by their desert-
dominant safariflage camouflage and their widespread use of Soldiers from the 23rd commando division on
body armor. parade

25th Independent Commando Brigade


Based out of Pasveh in West Azerbaijan south of Lake Urmia, on the western border with Iraq.

35th Independent Commando Brigade


Based out of Kermanshah on the western borer with Iran. They wear a black beret, compared to the
usual tan beret favored by commando units.

45th Independent Commando Brigade


Based out of Dezful, uses D-74 towed artillery pieces.
There are also rumored to be several other independent units including the 4th commando brigade
and the 99th air defense commando brigade, both based out of Tehran. But these cannot be
independently verified.

Armored Corps

The IRIA has 4 armored divisions, as well as


several independent brigades. Armored divisions have
been cited has having around 12,000 soldiers,
compared to an average of 10,000-15,000 for other
nations. This puts it on the low end of things, though
not nearly as low as some have asserted. Each division
is made up of 3 brigades. Armored brigades probably
have 1+ tank battalions, while mechanized have 1 each.
Tank battalions have 34 tanks in 3 companies, assuming
100% strength. Each brigade is then allotted at least two
artillery battalions, one self-propelled unit usually
consisting of M109s, and another of towed guns usually
the M-46 or the D-30. Infantry mechanization is
provided by BMPs organized into battalions of 27 with 9
AFVs per company and M113s or BTR-60s organized into
battalions of 33 with 11 AFVs per company.
Mechanization is not always homogenous in that
battalions may be made up of both M113s and BTR-60
companies.
Provisional illustration of a very generic organization
At first glance it would appear that the current for an armored brigade
order of battle for IRIA armored brigades is lighter then
that for a mechanized brigade! However it’s important to remember that the mechanized OOB is at
maximum theoretical strength, while the estimates on armored strength comes from observable
assets on satellite imagery, with the best imagery coming from what is perhaps Iran’s lightest armored
division (the 88th AD in Baluchistan), it would only be safe to assume that this would present the lower
end of the scale in terms of assets.

92nd Armored Division


Purportedly the most formidable of Iran's armored units. The 92nd is based out of the
Khuzestan province in south-western Iran on the border with Iraq near Basra. They have three,
possibly four brigades, based out Ahvaz, Dezful and Susengard.

They use the T-72 MBT, most recently painted in a two-tone brown camouflage; infantry
mechanization is provided by M113s, BTR-60s and BMP-2s. Artillery support is provided by M109 and
M-46 battalions. Appears to be fairly robust compared to, say, the 88th.

81st Armored Division


Based in Kermanshah in the Kermanshah province in western Iran on the border with Iraq. The
location of the brigades are unknown though the 2nd or 3rd brigade likely resides in Eslamabad Gharb
and Pol Zohab.

The 81st likely uses the M-60A1 MBT as well as BMP-1 IFVs, and possibly BMP-2's. Artillery
support is much the same as with the 92nd, with M109's and M-46's.
16th Armored Division
Based out of Qazvin in the province by the same name, the 16th AD has brigades in Qazvin,
Zanjan, and Hamadan.

The 16th uses Chieftain MBTs. They wear a few different camouflages, including a pattern with
a light-sand base and odd brown splotches, while others wear the same pattern as the 92nd, but with
a lighter sand color. Their APCs, including the M113, also wear this unique camouflage. M109 SPGs.
M-46 towed guns and possibly other towed guns provide artillery support. Appears to be fairly robust
compared to, say, the 88th.

88th Armored Division


Based out of Zahedan in the Baluchistan province in south-eastern Iran on the border with
Pakistan. The brigades are located in Zahedan, Khash and Zabol.

They are distinguished by green and sand splotch camoflage pattern applied to their armor.
Due to their non-central, non-critical basing, they are on the low end of the procurement totem pole,
as such they rely on older equipment such as early-model Patton tanks.

Provisional Organization of the 88th AD – based on assets visible on Google Earth

37th Armored Brigade


Based out of Isfahan. Armor is possibly the T-72.

71st Armored Brigade


Based out of Ilam on the border with Iraq. Armor is the Safir-74. Rumored to be equipped with the
Zulfiqar, however this is unlikely and may be in a reference to which unit the prototypes were assigned
to for testing.

38th Armored Brigade


Based out of Torbat Jam near the border of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
Artillery Corps
Independent artillery units within the Iranian military are organized by "groups" rather then
the traditional brigade structure. Groups have 3 artillery battalions each. It is likely that they function
as artillery brigades in other armies, that is, they are intended to function as supplementary units to
be attached to larger divisions rather then function independantly as maneuver brigades.

The central training hub is located in Isfahan.

The independent artillery groups include the:


33rd - Tehran, Tehran Province
11th - Maragheh, East-Azerbaijan province
44th and 55th - Isfahan, Isfahan province
22nd - Shahreza, Isfahan province
1.5 – Organization and Order of Battle - IRGC

The IRGCGF has 100,000 active duty soldiers, with another ~800,000 - 4 million Basij who are
slowly being integrated into the main ground forces. There are an unknown number of IRGC reserves.

Up until very recently they were organized into conventional divisional and brigade elements,
including 3 infantry, 3 armored and 2 special forces divisions, and at least 7 other divisions of
unverified type. There were also numerous independent brigades and battalions, up to 15 by some
estimates. The majorities of these were light, with divisions the size of brigades, and brigades the size
of battalions.

However, following the appointment of Gen. Jafari to head of the Revolutionary Guards, in
2007 the service was swept with major reforms reorganizing the IRGC in line with the Mosaic Doctrine
of defensive warfare. First was the abolishing of traditional system of brigades and divisions and
replacing them with provincial "corps", 31 in total, one for each province with an extra one in Tehran.
Within the corps, they have also shifted toward battalions rather then brigades forming the backbone
of independent maneuver units with an emphasis on mobility, autonomy and defensive foil weapons
like ATGM’s or MANPADS’s. In addition to the maneuver battalions, Iran also maintains thousands of
squads that operate without parent units and are designed to roam the battlefield autonomously.

The 2nd major organizational change associated with Jafaris reform was to combine the Basij
militia and the regular IRGCGF. Instead of being an entirely separate force, the Basij is now part of
specific IRGCGF units. This has the advantage of streamlining command-and-control line and allowing
for a standardized training, logistics and organization. However it should be emphasized that the Basij
are really remaining the same – they will remain primarily a light, geographically localized first-
responder militia force tied to their local communities.

Specifically, 10 battalions of Basij are now assigned to each provincial corps. It is unclear if this
number includes only active-duty, or incorporates the reserves as well. These battalions rely on Basij
organizations networked across cities and neighborhoods. Quite literally, they have redeployed the
Hezbollah concept of the part-time guerrilla who lives in his village, practices in occasional drills and
keeps a modest stock of weaponry, but for the most part remains a citizen and only rises to fight when
the threat arrives and who blends in with the local civilian populace because for all intents and
purposes, he or she is part of the local civilian populace

Within the Basij organization, Dr. Saeid Golkar asserts that there are three tiers of troops. First
are the ‘regular Basij’ which comprise the vast majority of the corps at 3 million men strong. They are
loosely connected to the military having only passed the most basic of training. 800,000 2nd tier
troops, or ‘active Basij’, receive supplementary training and coordinate with the IRGC on active duty.
200,000 first tier troops are designated as ‘special Basij’ and are considered honorary Pasdars in the
IRGC.

However, it appears that the IRGC still retains designated heavy “corps” with conventional AFV
and artillery support. Also, since the Mosaic Doctrine calls for autonomy and self-reliance, support
units such as artillery groups which are only designed to act in support of other larger formations
rather then accomplish objectives are fading from use. Also, because of this, battalions would likely
retain a greater range of equipment within their organization in order to facilitate greater autonomy
from their parent units.

Since these programs were undertaken relatively recently, no information exists on them yet,
and since it is a continuing project, it becomes impossible to know for sure which units have fully
transitioned to this new model. Fortunately, most units have retained their general orientation, for
instance, the Ashura Corps in East Azerbaijan is made up of the former 31st AD which was based out
of Tabriz and can be assumed to still be a “heavy” division.

The following are the existing provincial corps as is currently known. Note that most are
brigade sized elements, though this is not an absolute and sizes may vary. The term "commander" is
used when actual rank is unknown.

IRGC Provincial Corps


IRGCGF infantry varies widely in terms of quality of both training and equipment. Some are ill-
trained and armed with nothing more then olive-drab, whereas others are armed with the latest
individual weaponry available including night-vision, body armor, and new uniforms.

The basic equipment of IRGCGF troops includes AK-47 variants, though SF and airborne units
have adopted the Sayyad 5.56 rifle, like with the rest of the armed forces, they maintain a high
dispersion rate of anti-tank weapons as well.

Mechanization is provided by the Safir-74 and T-72 tanks supported by BMP-1/2 IFV's . With
some use of the M113, the Boragh being more common, though with overall mechanization still
lacking. The Type-63 APC is also used, but at what rate is unknown.

Self-propelled artillery appears to remain limited to 2S1s and the few M-1978 remaining in service,
though at least 2 battalions of Raad-2s are likely. HM 41s, M-46s and D-30s are common when it
comes to towed systems. The IRGC also operates rocket artillery.
Imam Sadegh Corps
Bushehr
Col Fath-Allah Jamiri

Qamar Bani Hashem Corps


Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province
Commander Raza Mohammad-Soleymani

Ashura Corps
East Azerbaijan Province
Commander Mohammad Taqi Osanlu

Fajr Corps
Fars Province
Commander Gholam-Hossein Gheib-Parvar

Qods Corps
Gilan Province
Commander Hamun Mohammadi

Neynava Corps
Golestan Province
Brig General Naser Razaghian

Ansar Al-Hossein Corps


Hamedan Province
Commander Abdolreda Azadi

Imam Sajjad Corps


Hormozgan Province

Amir al-Emenin Corps


Ilam Province
Brig General Seyyed Sadeq Kaki

Saheb al-Zaman Corps


Isfahan Province
Commander Gholamreza Soleymani

Sarallah Corps
Kerman Province
Commander: Ruhollah Nuri
Deputy Commander Gholam-Ali Abu Hamzeh

Kermanshah Province Corps


Commander: Mohammad Nazar Azimi
Vali-ye Asr Corps
Khuzestan Province
Commander Mohammad Kazemeyni

Beit al-Moghaddas Corps


Kordestan Prov
Commander Allah-Nour Nour Allahi

Fath Corps
Kohkiluyeh & Boyer Ahmadi Province
Commander Shahabifar

Abol-Fazl al Abbas Corps


Lorestan Prov
Commander Shahrok

Rouh-Allah Corps
Markazi Prov
Commander Mohammad Taghi Shah-Cheraghi

Karbala Corps
Mazandaran Prov
Brig general Ali Shalikar

Javad al-A’emeh Corps


North Khorasan Province
Commander Ali Mirza-Pour

Saheb al-Amr Corps


Qazvin Province
Commander Salar Abnush

Ali Ibn-e Abi-Taleb Corps


Qom Prov
Brig Gen Salar Abnoush

Imam al-Reza Corps


Razavi Khorasan Province
Commander Ghodrat-Allah Mansouril

Hazrat-e Gham’em al-Mohammad / Neynava Corps


Semnan Prov
Col. Mohammad Hossein Babayi
Salman Corps
Sistan-Baluchistan

Ansar al-Reza Corps


South Khorasan Prov
Brig General Gholam-Reza Ahmadi

Seyyed al-Shohada Corps


Tehran Province
Commander Ali Fazli

Mohammad Rasulollah Corps


Greater Tehran
Commander: Abdollah Aqaqi

Shohada Corps
West Azerbaijan
Brig General Mehdi Mo’ini

Al Ghadir Corps
Yazd
Brig General Mohammad-Ali Allab Dadi

Ansar al-Madhi Corps


Zanjan Prov
Commander Seyyed Mehdi Mousavi

Hazrat-e Abbas Corps


Ardebil
Col. Jalil Baba-Zadeh
1.6.1 – Inventory - Armor - Main Battle Tanks

Zulfiqar
Named after the legendary sword of the Shia leader Ali, the Zulfiqar is an indigenous Iranian MBT
derived from the M-48/60 and T-72 tanks and consists of three known versions.

Zulfiqar-1 Zulfiqar-2 Zulfiqar-3


Crew: 4 3-4 3-4
Weight: ~36 tonne NA NA
Length: * 6.7 m 7.6 m 7.6 m
Width:* 3.6 m NA NA
Height: * 2.4 m 2.4m 2.4m
Engine: 750 hp AVDS-1790 750 hp AVDS-1790 750 hp AVDS-1790
Max Speed: NA NA NA
Range: NA NA NA
Armor: NA NA NA
Primary Weapon: 125 mm 2A46(M) 125 mm 2A46(M) 125 mm 2A46(M)
Secondary 12.7 mm MG 7.62 mm Coaxial 7.62 mm Coaxial
Weapon: MG, 12.7 mm MG MG, 12.7 mm MG
FCS/Optics: Zrak FCS-T-72, NA NA
DNNS-1/2
NA = Unknown

Zulfiqar-1
First revealed in 1994, and rumored to be in production since 1996, the Zulfiqar-1 is based off
the Patton series tanks with T-72 influences. It features a conventional layout with a driver sitting
center of hull with three daylight periscopes. The commanders hatch on the right, and loaders on the
left of the turret. Some confusion surrounding its weight can be traced to lack of clarification
regarding “tons” vs. “tonnes”

Its hull bears similarities to both the M-48A5 and M-


60, the overall length and internal parts resembling the M-
48A5, while the front glacis resembles the M-60A1.
Meanwhile, as evident in the picture to the right, the track
and running gear come from the M-48A5.

The turret is short and boxlike, likely made from


homogeneous welded steel; it has obvious similarities to the
Patton, particularly on the inside.

Zulfiqar-1
The Zulfiqar-1 carries the 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore cannon from the T-72. This is
accompanied by the either the DNNS-2 gunners sight manufactured by Zrak, the same system used on
the M-84 tank. The DNNS-2 features a day and 2nd generation night sight, with a laser range finder
and 5.5 x magnifications that is effective out to 1,300 meters. This is supplemented by a 12.7 mm
machine-gun mounted on the loaders hatch. It does not, as some say, have a 7.62 mm coaxial gun.
Smoke dischargers are also equipped. The Zulfiqar-1 is not equipped with an auto-loader; in fact, the
ammunition storage in the turret is still configured for the 105 mm ammunition for the M68 gun.

One model has been shown with the 105 mm M68 gun from the M-60A1, though this has been
scrapped in favor of the 125 mm 2A46. It also has a slightly different shaped turret indicating at least
some degree of variability between the different prototypes.

Most sources point to the 780 hp V-12 or V-46 engine. Yet the exhaust in the rear of the tank
points to the Continental AVDS-1790 engine, the same from the M-48A5 and M-60A1.

The reported mass production cannot be verified with only two prototypes confirmed, and 6
more 'semi-industrial' reported to exist. This can be traced to the lack of funds existing for serial
production.

Should it actually be deployed, the Zulfiqar-1 remains a mediocre system, because, at its heart
it's an upgraded M-48A5. While it might serve well as a life extension upgrade, it doesn't currently fill
the role of a front-line main battle tank.

The official statements on the capability of the Zulfiqar-1 are very different then the
capabilities of the models the public have been shown, including a new 1,000 hp engine among other
things. While this can be chalked up to propaganda, another possible explanation is that the semi-
industrial prototype is radically different then the original prototype that's been publicly displayed,
which in turn would force the reexamination of the basic assumptions about the tank.

Zulfiqar-2 / Zulfiqar-3
The Zulfiqar-2 and Zulfiqar-3 are developments of the same tank, the former serving as a test
bed for the latter. The prototypes attributed to both designations appear to be the same tanks with
direct upgrades.

The Zulfiqar-2/3 design shifted radically from the Zulfiqar-1.


While it maintained the overall Patton-inspired hull design, it
was lengthened, now carrying seven road-wheels instead of the
original 6. The hull now has a distinctive "stepping" pattern
that gives it a superficial similarity to an M1 Abrams tank. Side
skirts are now standard on the Zulfiqar-3.

Zulfiqar-2/3
The turret looks even more like it was inspired by the M1 design. It now features a large bustle
as well as a steeply sloped front profile, all while providing a much lower silhouette then it's
predecessor. Three stowage racks are visible, two boxes on the side, one basket in rear. Smoke
discharger's derived from the Chieftain are mounted on the sides. A coaxial machine-gun as well as a
gunners auxiliary sight are mounted on the gun mantlet.

It maintains the original Continental AVDS-1790 engine. Intuitively this would present
problems with the power when combined with the much heavier platform compared to the earlier
generations of the tank. It's presence in the prototypes/mockups may only be as placeholders, or Iran
may have found some way to upgrade the AVDS, possibly to the rumored 1,000 hp figure frequently
mentioned.

As with the Zulfiqar-1, it is not yet in service. Some have even called it a mock-up. However,
given that the hull shows exhausts marks, we know that it is at least somewhat of a functioning
prototype. The turret is another story, lack of any primary optics or apparent functionality of the
commanders hatch point to it being a mock-up, or at least, an early development prototype. It is
entirely likely the third incarnation, like the second, is just a prototype for a later generation.

The combat efficiency of the Zulfiqar-3 is questionable and given the unknowns in the
equation, it's frankly impossible at this point to make a judgment about the capabilities of this tank.

Iran was set to unveil a new generation of Zulfiqar tanks in June 2010, however this never
materialized.
Chieftain

Chieftain
Crew: 4
Weight: 56 tonne
Length: 7.51 m
Width: 3.50 m
Height: 2.89 m
Engine: 750 hp L60
Max Speed: 48 km/h
Max Range: 400-500 km
Armor:** Glacis: 388 mm, Turret: 390 mm
Primary 120 mm L11A5
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm coaxial MG Chieftain MBT, in the paint scheme of the 16th AD, during a
Weapon: news segment from PressTV

FCS: Barr and Stroud TLS


** = RHA equivalent, not necessarily actual thickness

Delivered to the Imperial Army in the 1970's, the Chieftain was one of the best tanks of its day,
being heavily armed and armored; even today it promises to remain dangerous. It continues service
with the IRIA 16th armored division headquartered in Qazvin

The Chieftain features a heavily sloped design, enabling a better armor efficiency and low
profile. Both the turret and the hull are made from a combination of rolled and cast steel.

It is armed with a 120 mm L11A5 rifled cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine-gun. Smoke
discharger's are also equipped.

Independent of the Mobarez program below, Chieftains can also being upgraded with the
EFCS-3 fire-control system.

Mobarez
While the Chieftain is theoretically one of Iran's more powerful tanks, it's reputation is far from
perfect, particularly with regard to the power pack. The engine is notoriously underpowered and has a
tendency to overheat in the hot desert air.

These issues were addressed in the Mobarez upgrade program. While specifics are not known,
its features include a newer, more robust fuel tank, new gearbox, upgraded suspension, a new engine
and increased armor. Upgrades to the 120 mm gun include night-vision and a laser range finder,
complete with an electrical generator power supply.
Assessing these claims verifies most of them; the engine compartment is noticeably larger,
though the armor appears to be largely unchanged, with a slightly redesigned hull due to the larger
engine compartment. There is also a new laser range-finger located on the right hand side of the
turret above the smoke discharger's.

Ultimately the viability of Iran's remaining Chieftains depends on the type and widespread use
of upgrade programs like the Mobarez. The Chieftain design gave us the British Challenger tank after
all so it is possible for the tank to remain a valuable asset, but not in it's current state.

Purportedly, Iran still has enough Chieftains to outfit one full division (the 16th) as well as an
unspecified brigade.
T-54/55 and T-72Z/Safir-74
An ancient tank, Iran's inventory of T-54/55s consists of captured Iraqi vehicles, and a litany of
variants purchased from around the world. Currently they are receiving credible upgrades that
promise to extend its service life.

Both turret and hull are cast steel. The T-55 is armed with a 100 mm rifled gun, 12.7 mm
machine-gun mounted on the loaders hatch, and coaxial 7.62 mm machine-gun. The hull and the
turret are cast steel.

T-72Z/Safir-74

T-72Z / Safir-74
Crew: 4
Weight: 36 tonne
Length: 6.45 m
Width: 3.37 m
Height: 2.40 m
Engine: 780 hp V-46-6 V-12
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Max Range: NA
Armor:** 450-480 mm RHA vs KE, 700-900
mm RHA vs HEAT + ERA A
Safir-74, with either the Seyyed al-Shohada or Mohammad
Primary 105 mm M68 Rasulollah Corps in Tehran province - May 2009
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
Weapon:
FCS: Fontana EFCS-3
** = RHA equivalent, not necessarily actual thickness

The T-72Z/Safir-74 is a set of domestic Iranian upgrades for T-54/55 type-tanks. The T-72Z is the
name for upgraded Type-59's, while Safir-74 refers to upgraded T-54's. However, since they are
brought to the same standard, and to avoid confusion, they will both hereafter be referred to by the
name 'Safir-74'. They are far more common within the IRGC, though do exist in some degree within
the IRIA.

The upgrade program consists of a new modular power pack with a 780 hp V-46 diesel engine
and associated gear box, brakes, hydraulics, steering and cooling system. This compares to the original
581 hp engine on the T-54/55.
The tank was also up-gunned with the HM-49L, a copy the 105 mm M68, the same gun used
on the M-60A1. It has been coupled with the Fotana EFCS-3-55 fire control system. Kontakt-3 ERA
supplements the original armor. But it lacks any direct smoke discharger's.

The Safir-74 program has substantially increased the lethality of the T-54/55 platform, the M68
gun is accurate out to longer ranges and when paired with a modern FCS, is still deadly. However, you
can only upgrade a platform so much and such is the case with the T-54/55, it's too obsolete, and small
to compete effectively against modern MBT's.

Iran purchased roughly 200 V-46 engines for the upgrade program, and since this is the limiting
factor in this case, so we can assume the total number of Safir-74's in service is around 200, with the
remaining T-54/55's being phased out of service. However, this assumes that Iran hasn't attempted to
reverse engineer the engines, something well within their capability.
T-62
T-62
Crew: 4
Weight: 40 tonne
Length: 6.63 m
Width: 3.30 m
Height: 2.39 m
Engine: 581 hp V-55
Max Speed: 50 km/h
Max Range: 450 km
Armor:** Turret: 153-242 mm, glacis: 102
mm, upper hull: 79 mm
Primary 115 mm 2A20
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
Weapon:
FCS: Volna
**=actual thickness, RHA equivalent unknown

Ordered from Syria and Libya during the early days of the Iran-Iraq war, Iran also received the
North-Korean version known as the Chonma-ho. Exact designations are likely the T-62M and T-62K.

The T-62 is designed like other Soviet tanks, featuring a larger, more sloped turret then the T-
54/55 but with the same overall layout. It carries a 115 mm smooth bore gun, a 12.7 mm machine-gun
mounted on the loaders hatch, and a 7.62 mm machine-gun mounted coaxially.

Details about it’s current use are unknown, but one was present at a border fort during a
skirmish with US and Iraqi forces several years ago.
T-72
T-72S
Crew: 3
Weight: 46.5 tonne
Length: 6.95 m
Width: 3.59 m
Height: 2.28 m
Engine: 840 hp V-84
Max Speed: 60 km/h
Max Range: 480 km
Armor: 520 mm steel and ceramic on turret face +
ERA (950 mm RHA equivalent vs HEAT)
Primary Weapon: 125 mm 2A46M
Secondary Weapon: 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
FCS: 1A40

Iran purchased T-72M1s and T-72Ss during the 1990's to rebuild their armored inventory
depleted during the war. The T-72 is in service with IRGCGF and IRIA armored units across the country.

The hull is all welded steel design with the driver sitting center of the glacis. The turret
however is cast and features the commander to the right and the gunner to the left.

Armor is a composite mixture of high-


strength steel, tungsten, and ceramic balls.
Combined with the shape of the turret, the T-72
is theoretically well armored, despite this; the
tank has a tendency to catastrophically cook-off
when hit due to the shape of the ammunition
carousel. Kontakt-3 ERA is standard.

Its armament is the 125 mm 2A46 (2A46


for early-model T-72M1's and 2A46M for later
model T-72S's) smooth-bore cannon with 1A40
FCS which is paired with gun stabilization and a A
laser range-finder, though lacks an automatic fire T-72 from the 92nd AD on an exercise in June 2009
solution computer. Some have been replaced by the EFCS-3.
There are several minor upgrade programs, first is the
'Khorramshahr' tank, a T-72 with ERA that is visually similar to
Kontakt-5. The second is called the ‘Rakhsh’ and consists of
adding slat armor over ERA. This upgrade was seen in 2004 and
then nothing until the Sacred Defense Week 2010 parade where it
was again. While these are the only changes visible, it is
important to keep in mind that no more information on the two is
available. Neither upgrade has been observed with any active
units.

The T-72 is Iran's most credible threat from their armored


units. This is because the T-72 is far more numerous then any
other type, while IRIA tanks like the Mobarez and Zulfiqar may
have successful prototypes, they largely never progress beyond
that point and tanks like the M-60A1 and Chieftain remain largely
as they did when they were delivered to the Shah. Meanwhile,
the IRIGF acquired the more modern T-72Ss.

Most sources quote the number of T-72s in service as


being around 422. However this only takes into account the
number purchased from Russia. Adding in the tanks from Poland Kontakt-5 style ERA on a T-72 rolling out of
what is likely the T-72 assembly plant in Dorud
and Belarus brings the number to around 563. Reports indicate
that, as of 2005, Iran is now locally producing, not just assembling, additional T-72Ss at a factory in
Esfahan; the previous impediment to mass-production, inability to work the thick steel on an
industrial level, being overcome.
M-47 Patton

M-47M
Crew: 4
Weight: 46 tonnes
Length: 6.36 m
Width: 3.51 m
Height: 3.35 m
Engine: 750 hp AVDS-1790
Max Speed: ~48 km/h
Max Range: 483 km One of the few M-47M's left, on parade with the 77th ID
in Mashhad
Armor: NA
Primary Weapon: 90 mm M36
Secondary .30 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
Weapon:
FCS: NA
NA = Unknown

The first of Iran's Patton tanks, the original M-47s were overhauled with 750 hp engine and fire
control from the M-60A1 as well as removing the 5th crewman.

Most have been retired from service, with some still in an armored brigade with the 77th
infantry division in Khoresan and possibly with the 88th armored division in Baluchistan. An exact
estimate of remaining tanks is unavailable.

Iran's M-47Ms, while horribly out of date and obsolete by nearly all standards, remain barely
sufficient for its duties. The geography in Eastern Iran is not conducive to armor battles, so any tanks
would serve a secondary role at best. Meanwhile, their enemies in the region don't present that much
of an armored threat, Afghanistan can't field an army, let alone tanks, while the ISAF and US forces in
the region don't maintain a large armored presence either, and Pakistan is focused on India and
internal battles.
M-48 Patton

M-48A5
Crew: 4
Weight: 48.98 tonnes
Length: 6.41 m
Width: 3.63 m
Height: 3m
Engine: 750 hp Continental AVDS-1790
Max Speed: 48.2 km/h
Max Range: 499 km
Armor:** Glacis: 110 mm, Hull Sides: 51-76 mm , Turret face:101-120 mm
Primary Weapon: 105 mm M68
Secondary Weapon: 7.62 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
FCS: NA
** = actual thickness, RHA equivalent unknown
NA=Unknown

The second of the Patton series, the M-48 features a completely redesigned body with boat
shaped hull and a larger turret, both made of cast steel. All Iranian M-48's have been upgraded to the
M-48A5 level with the 105 mm M68 gun as well as the Continental AVDS-1790 engine, raising it
roughly to the level of the M-60A1.

As with the M-47M the remaining number constitute the bulk of the 88th armored division in
Baluchistan. Also like the M-47M's, the M-48A5’s, while not ideal, remain sufficient for their role on
the Eastern border.
M-60 Patton

M-60A1
Crew: 4
Weight: 51 tonnes
Length: 6.94 m
Width: 3.6 m
Height: 3.2 m
Engine: 750 hp Continental AVDS-1790
Max Speed: 48 km/h
Max Range: 502 km
Armor:** Glacis: 93-143 mm, Hull sides: 35-74 mm, Turret face: 180 mm Turret sides: 76 mm

Primary Weapon: 105 mm M68


Secondary 7.62 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
Weapon:
FCS: NA
**=actual thickness, RHA equivalent unknown
NA = unknown

Most advanced of Iran's Patton series tanks, the


M-60A1 is a development of the M-48 series with
moderate overall changes including a redesigned turret,
and a reduction in the number of track return rollers,
though the M-60A1 compared to the M-48A5 are very
similar.

Both the turret and the hull are cast


homogeneous steel and the gun lacks modern fire
control systems found on other Iranian front-line tanks.
It also maintains a poor power-to-weight ratio at only
14.5 hp/ton. Despite this, no known comprehensive
indigenous upgrade program like the Mobarez exists for M-60A1 on exercise in western Iran.
Iran's M-60A1's which is surprising. However these
deficiencies have been remedied at least in part by upgrading them with night-vision periscopes for
the driver as well as an auto-stabilized sight and laser range-finder for the commander that is
independent of the turret. Also upgraded is the main gun which is now hydraulically and gyroscope
stabilized. Perhaps most importantly, an EFCS-3-55 fire-control computer has been added. Most
recently, M-60A1's have been seen with Kontakt-3 ERA protection. However neither programs appear
to be in mass service.

The not-all-together insignificant stock of M-60A1's which still exist serve with the 81st
armored division near Kermanshah as well as in an armored brigade within the 28th infantry division
in Sanandaj.

Inventory - Armor - Armored Fighting Vehicles

Boragh AFV

APC IFV AAA AMV AT AAC


Crew: 2+10 3+7 NA NA NA 2
Weight: 13 tonne NA 13 tonne NA NA 11 tonne
Length: 6.65 m 6.65 m 6.65 m 6.50 m 6.50 m 6.43 m
Width: 2.94 m 2.94 m 2.94 m 2.94 m 2.94 m 3.2 m
Height: 1.88 m * 2.28 m 1.88 m * 2.02 m* 2.02 m* 2.26 m*
Engine: See text See text See text See text See text See text

Max Speed: 65 km/h 65 km/h 65 km/h 65 km/h 65 km/h 75 km/h


Max Range: 500 km NA NA NA NA 430 km
Armor: NA NA NA NA NA NA
Primary 12.7 mm MG 30 mm 2A42 Zu-23-2 AAA 120 mm Toophan 12.7 mm MG
Weapon: cannon mortar ATGM
Secondary NA 7.62 mm MG, NA 12.7 mm MG NA NA
Weapon: AT-4
* = hull only
NA = unknown or not applicable

The Boragh family of armored fighting vehicles, based on refurbished BMP-1 chassis, includes
an APC, an IFV, a supply carrier, SAR, mortar carrier, and an anti-tank variant. It is in service with both
the IRIA and the IRGCGF throughout the country. The total number of Boraghs is at least 190, though
the number is likely higher by now. Sudan has imported and now operates an unknown number of
Boraghs.

The original BMP-1 engine has been replaced; one possible candidate is the German 320 hp
BF8L diesel engine which Iran ordered 190 of in 1996 (hence the minimum number of Boraghs). The
Raad-1(which uses the same hull as the Boragh) is described as having an “8-cylinder air-cooled
engine” by MODLEX which matches the BF8L. However there is a discrepancy between the power-to-
weight ratio of the Boragh(25.3 hp/t) and the capabilities of the BF8L, though one possible
explanation to this is that Iran found some way to modify the engine. However, the fact that this
discrepancy exists suggests some other unknown, possibly indigenous, engine could be used.

Iran also manufactures appliqué armor for the Boragh that takes the form of bolt on panels
that provide protection from up to 30 mm AP ammunition.
Overall, the Boragh has, for the short-term, the potential to fulfill Iran's light-armor needs,
providing a common, modular program that allows for a streamlined logistical system in an army that
is filled with a hodge-podge of different systems. Ultimately it depends how far the program will go
and whether older carriers are phased out in favor of this new universal system instead of buying or
developing something new. Basing it on the BMP-1 means there will always be inherent limitations in
the system however.

APC
The first variety is the most common. The 73 mm
cannon on the BMP-1 is removed and replaced with a 12.7 mm
machine-gun with protective cupola. This frees up the
originally cramped interior to carry 10 infantrymen. The
majority of firing ports have been removed, with only the most
forward remaining on either side. The original configuration of
the BMP-1 with the infantryman facing outwards has been
replaced with benches lining the outer wall facing inward, APC Variant
reminiscent of the M113. This begs the question on how the designers intend for the infantryman to
use the firing ports comfortably.

IFV
The infantry fighting vehicle version amounts to an
upgrade to BMP-2 level, replacing the original turret with the
turret of the BMP-2 with ATGM launcher and 30 mm cannon.
None have been observed in service although it is easy to
confuse them with regular BMP-2's.
IFV Variant

Air Defense
In this version, a Zu-23-2 is mounted on the APC body.
The gun can either be mounted to a rotating platform where
the 73 mm gun used to be, or the entire Zu-23-2 system, as it
would normally be set up is simply placed on top on the hull.
Notably, only the former variety has been observed in service.
Some versions of it have been rigged for automatic control,
though details are unknown about this specific aspect.

Also of note is the "Cobra" AFV which is largely the


same, a Zu-23-2 on BMP-1 chassis, except it had a much lower
clearance and was not directly a member of the Boragh family. AAA Variant
It is likely that the project was scrapped in favor of the newer, design of the Boragh.
Armored Mortar Vehicle (AMV)
The mortar carrier version features a
redesigned hull compared to the basic APC version
and serves as the basis for variants such as the AT
and supply carrier models as well as the Raad-1 SPG.
The passenger section of the hull has been replaced
with what is, essentially, a large box that is slightly
bigger then the equivalent APC compartment. It
holds a 120 mm mortar tube on a rotating base. Two
large swinging doors open on top allowing the
mortar to be fired. The rear doors have also been
AMV
replaced with a small access door as well as a larger,
downward folding ramp. The carrier has an internal
capacity for ~36 120 mm rounds. The commanders’ position has been given a 12.7 mm machine gun.
This version has seen widespread deployment with IRGC units.

Anti-Tank
The anti-tank version builds off the mortar carrier,
but instead of a mortar, it carries a Toophan/TOW missile
launcher mounted just rear of where the 73 mm cannon
would be mounted. It has not been seen deployed, or
even on parade.

Armored Ammunition Carrier (AAC)


A radical redesign of the BMP-1 chassis, featuring an
enlarged drivers cab with a machine-gun mount and a soft-shell
cargo area. It retains amphibious capability and can carry 4
tonnes of ammunition.
AAC Variant

Search And Rescue


Most likely operated by the IRIP or other non-military
forces. It has a large truck like cab placed above the engine
compartment and has an enlarged cargo area covered by a
soft shell, much like that on a transport truck.

SAR Variant
Command
Though not officially identified, the similarity to other
APC command variants betrays the likely identity of this
model. It features a large superstructure at the rear of the
hull.

Unidentified Variant
M-113

M-113A1 APC
Crew: 2+11
Weight: 12.3 tonnes
Length: 4.86 m
Width: 2.68 m
Height: 2.5 m
Engine: 275 hp 6V53T diesel
Max Speed: 67.6 km/h IRGC M-113 with appliqué armor - May 2009

Max Range: 480 km


Armor: 12-38 mm aluminum
Primary 12.7 mm MG,
Weapon: Toophan ATGM, Zu-
23-2
Secondary none
Weapon:

The distinctive box-shaped APC has long been a staple of the Iranian military, serving with large
number of IRGC and IRIA, armored and mechanized units. Iran uses the standard M-113A1 as well as
the Canadian Lynx and the M577 command vehicle. Iranian M-113's can be armed with 12.7 mm
machine-guns as well as Toophan ATGM launchers or Zu-23-2 AAA.

The original M-113A1 does however have shortcomings, prime among them being very thin
armor which has been somewhat addressed by several small upgrade projects. The first of these
upgrades involves several mm thick plates of perforated spaced armor applied some distance off the
main hull. It can also use the same appliqué armor the Boragh uses (pictured above).

The M-113 will continue to serve Iran as a primary battle-taxi but like the BTR-60, will remain a
dated system that does its job sufficiently, but only because there's nothing else stepping up to fully
replace it. Estimates put the total number in service at 200.
BMP-1

BMP-1
Crew: 3+8
Weight: 13.2 tonnes
Length: 6.7 m
Width: 2.94 m
Height: 2.1 m
Engine: 300 hp UTD-20
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Max Range: 600 km
Armor: 6-33 mm welded steel
Primary 73 mm 2A28 cannon
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm coaxial MG, AT-3 ATGM
Weapon:

The original Soviet IFV, Iran purchased a


large quantity from it's allies such as Syria, Libya
and China during the Iran-Iraq war, and still
maintains a considerable quantity, the only
estimate puts the number at around 210,
though the overall number has been reduced by
retirement and conversion to Borah AFV.
However, it still continues in front line service in
both IRGC and IRIA armored units.

(top and bottom) – IRGC BMP-1 on the western border with


Iraq
BMP-2

BMP-2
Crew: 3+7
Weight: 14.3 tonnes
Length: 6.7 m
Width: 3.1 m
Height: 2.4 m
Engine: 300 hp UTD-20
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Max Range: 600 km
IRGC BMP-2 on exercise - May 2009
Armor: 6-33 mm welded steel
Primary 30mm 2A42 autocannon
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm coaxialMG, AT-4 ATGM
Weapon:

Iran began purchasing and assembling BMP-2s in order to rebuild it mechanized forces in the
1990s following the Iran-Iraq war, but as is the case with the T-72 MBTs, as funds became scarcer and
exasperation with Russian reliability grew, the original 1500 ordered dropped to 413 of which, most
would be assembled in Iran.

The BMP-2 now serves across the country with both IRGC and IRIA units, often paired with M-
113 and BTR-60 APCs.

The BMP-2 may now be manufactured in Iran under the name BMT-2, though an accurate
number of total produced is unavailable. This project is distinct from the previous licensed assemblies
of kits.

The BMP-2 is Iran’s most potent light armor asset, despite maintaining some of the
vulnerabilities of the BMP-1 such as thin armor, it has improved somewhat in this regard and also
carries an effective cannon and credible anti-tank capability as well as having plenty of room for future
upgrades such as the appliqué armor applied to the Boragh and the M113. Iran's BMPs may have
night-fighting capability.

Like the T-72, the BMP-2 maintains a sizable presence and is also relatively easy to track.
Originally slated to purchase 1500, the number was reduced to 413 both directly sold and assembled
in Iran. This has been supplemented by an unknown number of Boraghs in IFV configuration, though it
is likely that number isn't that great as they haven't been seen on parade or exercise.
EE-9 Cascavel
The 4x4 wheeled EE-9 armored
car is made from welded steel and is
armed with a 90 mm cannon. It has little
in the way of fire-control, or battle-
management technology.

Exact numbers of the EE-9 in


service are unavailable and if it
continues to serve at all, it would likely
be as an armored recon asset.

Some of postulated that the EE-


9s 90 mm gun is used on the indigenous
A questionably operable (note the condition of the wheel closest to
camera) EE-9 on parade during Sacred Defense Week 2010 in Zahedan. Tosan light tank.

Type-63
A lightweight, Chinese APC similar to the many other
early APC designs features a welded steel hull, infantry
firing ports and a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machinegun.

Type-63 APC, probably IRGC


BTR-50
The BTR-50 is a tracked, amphibious APC that dates to procurements even before M-113s or
BMP-1s. Due to its antiquity, it is likely retired from service.

BTR-60
BTR-60PB
Crew: 3+14
Weight: 10.3 tonnes
Length: 7.56 m
Width: 2.82 m
Height: 2.31 m
Engine: See text
Max Speed: 80 km/h
Max Range: 500 km
Armor: 5-10 mm welded steel
Primary 14.5 mm MG
Weapon:
IRIA BTR-60PB with the 37th armored brigade in Isfahan
Secondary 7.62 mm coaxial MG
Weapon:

A wheeled, amphibious APC with an all-welded steel hull, the BTR-60PB is one of the primary
APCs in the Iranian Army. The earlier BTR-60P with an open top has been retired along with the BTR-
50. In Iranian service, they have been seen armed with the usual 14.5 mm machine-gun as well as the
12.7 mm DShK and are reported to carry the TOW ATGM. At least since 2004, Iranian BTR-60s have
sported a new, unknown engine, replacing the original twin 90 hp GAZ-40 they were fitted with.

Like the M-113, the BTR-60 is sufficient for its intended purpose, if nothing more.

Most sources list the number of BTR-60s in service as around 150, however, given the rate at
which they are deployed across the country, the number is likely much higher. To support this
scenario, it was announced by General Hossein Dadras in 2003 that mass-production of "BTR" vehicles
had started, though he doesn't specify more. In this manner it is easy to imagine that Iran's already
significant BTR-60 stocks have been enlarged.

Scorpion Light Tank and Sayyad AFV


Scorpion Sayyad AT Sayyad MLRS
Crew: 3 2-3 2-3
Weight: 8 tonnes NA NA
Length: 5.2 m 4.6 m 4.6 m
Width: 2.1 m 2.1 m 2.1 m
Height: 2.1 m 1.7 m* 1.7 m*
Engine: 190 hp Cummins BTA 190 hp Cummins BTA 190 hp Cummins BTA
Max Speed: 72.5 km/h NA NA
Max Range: 756 km NA NA
Armor: 12.7 mm welded aluminum NA NA
Primary 76mm L23A1 2x Toophan ATGM 2x 70 mm rocket pod
Weapon:
Secondary 7.62 mm coaxial MG none none
Weapon:
* = hull only

The Scorpion is a British light tank made from


welded aluminum, is armed with a 76 mm gun, and can
maintain a brisk 72.5 km/h, functioning more as a dedicated
reconnaissance vehicle then a modern tank.

The Scorpion is deployed as an armored recon asset


with armored and mechanized forces. Estimates put 80

The Scorpion light tank...


remaining in service.

Sayyad
The Scorpion also serves as the basis for the Sayyad
AFV family of vehicles which include an anti-tank and
artillery support version.

Based on the Scorpion hull, the overall length has


been shortened, from five road-wheels to 4, though the
engine remains the same. The Hull has been slightly
redesigned as well as removing the external storage
baskets. ...and the Sayyad

Most notably though, the turret has been removed and is replaced by either a single or double
Toofan/TOW ATGM launcher with six extra rounds carried on the outside of the tank,or two clusters of
23 77mm rockets each. These are probably intended as if they were used from a helicopter, in the
direct-LOS role.

The Sayyad concept represents an interesting fusion of conventional battle doctrine of lightly
armored reconnaissance AFVs with the more asymmetric notion of using tank-killers in light, mobile
packages like the Toofan-armed Sayyads. Depending on how they're used, they could be a game
changer, or if used conventionally, they could be restricted to being no more valuable then the scouts
they were designed to be.

The Sayyad does not appear to be in service due to its paint scheme indicating its status as a
development project.

Tosan Light Tank


The Tosan light tank is one of the more interesting cases in the Iranian military, it was designed
as a long-range, high endurance rapid reaction tank with a 90 mm gun and as with the Sayyad, it has
the potential to fulfill a very unique and potentially valuable role within the Iranian military.

The tank was first publicly referenced in 1997 with the promise that mass production would
soon follow, however in a move that is symptomatic of the army's larger procurement issues, it was
not until 2008 that the production line was officially inaugurated, assuming the most recent
announcement to be genuine and not another bluff.

However, the curious thing is that we have never seen or even heard a concrete description of
the Tosan. Many have tried to pass Scorpions or Sayyads off as Tosans, but they inevitably always lack
the 90 mm gun.

It is generally accepted that the Tosan is based off the Scorpion, but there is no real proof for
this beyond it being a logical progression. This path of reasoning began with a ‘Janes’ article which
suggested the Tosan may be based off the Scorpion, however, they never took a definitive stance on
this possibility. Another option is a reverse engineering and upgrading of the EE-9 Cascavel, whose
wheels rather then tracks would give it the long range and rapid response ability that is touted in the
media. Another option would be another version of the Boragh. Regardless, it is likely that the 90 mm
gun comes from the EE-9.

The Tosan is said to have an advanced firing and targeting system which is likely given the other
upgrades we have seen Iran produce for its armored vehicles.

The Tosan light tank, only just entering production, would only have a few assets available,
even assuming it's been deployed and isn't still in trials.
Rakhsh APC

Rakhsh
Crew: 2+8
Weight: 7.5 tonnes
Length: 6.06 m
Width: 2.40 m
Height: 2.43 m
Engine: 155 hp DO824LFL09
Max Speed: 80-95 km/h
Max Range: NA
Armor: welded steel w/ protection up to 7.62 mm.
Appliqué ceramic w/ protection up to 14.5 mm
Primary Weapon: 12.7 mm MG in cupola, or 14.5 mm MG in
turret, or Zu-23-2 AAA
Secondary Weapon: none

The Rakhsh APC is a lightweight 4x4 APC designed for


policing actions more then full-on combat. It is in service with
both the IRIP and IRGC. The APC is extremely similar to the
North Korean M-1992 APC.

The Rakhsh comes in two variants, an early


development model, which has apparently still been produced,
and the later, export model, that due to sanctions, ended up
being produced for domestic service as well.

The earlier model most commonly carries a 14.5 mm


machine gun in a turret while the later model has only been
seen with a 12.7 mm in a cupola. Though there is no reason
why one couldn't carry the other. In earlier models, the side-
A late model Rakhsh offered for export
doors consisted of two pieces, while the later model has single
piece side-doors. Some models have been shown with a Zu-23-2 AAA.

Other differences between the two are minor, mostly aesthetic likely reflecting a changed
manufacturing technique rather then any significant changes. The differences include a flattening of
the top of the engine compartment, elimination of certain angles and shifting air intakes.

The hull is welded steel with a very distinctive blocky, angled appearance. This offers protection
against 7.62 mm ammunition with an available spaced appliqué armor set at steep angles to the hull.
It can also use the bolt-on armor plates designed for other AFVs.
Other features include remote tire inflation-deflation, run-flat tires, a winch, air-conditioning,
optional smoke dischargers and NBC protection.

The APC can carry 8 passengers in addition to the 2 crewman. Each passenger has access to
firing and observation ports. They can dismount via a single rear door, two side doors, or via a roof
hatch.

It is powered by a MAN DO824LFL09 diesel engine taken from a heavy general purpose truck,
giving it a power to weight ratio of 20 hp/t and speed of 95 km/h

In addition to service with the IRIP and IRGC, the Rakhsh has been exported to Sudan.

The Rakhsh can't navigate overly-treacherous ground, destroy other armored vehicles, or
protect it's passengers from large caliber ammunition, but it's important to remember it's not meant
to do those things, it's not being slated to replace the Boragh or BMP-2 any time soon. In it's job as a
policing or light-duty APC it's acceptable, but not outside that zone.
Inventory – Armor – Armament

30 mm
Iran uses the 2A42 autocannon on its BMP-2s and Boraghs in IFV configuration. While they
don’t advertise it, if Iran is manufacturing turrets for the Boragh, it would stand to reason they are also
manufacturing the cannon. Recently the 2A42 has been seen mounted in a manually-controlled mount
attached to medium trucks in much the same way a DShK might be. (separate entry) It uses either HEI
or APT ammunition through a dual-feed setup.

2A42 HEI APT


Caliber: 30 mm Caliber: 30 mm 30 mm
Weight: 115 kg Weight: .83 kg .85 kg
Length: 3.0 m Length: .14 m .14 m
ROF: 300-600 r/m Muzzle Velocity: 960 m/s 970 m/s
Effective Range: 1,500-3000 m 1,500-3000 m
Max Range: NA NA
NA = unknown or not applicable

76 mm
The 2A28 low-pressure, smoothbore cannon is used on Iran’s BMP-1s. It fires the same PG-9
ammunition as the SPG-9 recoilless rifle. The round is manufactured under the name “Zafar”

2A28 HEAT
Caliber: 76 mm Caliber: 76 mm
Weight: 115 kg Weight: 4.3 kg
Length: NA Length: 1.11 m
ROF: 6-8 r/m Muzzle Velocity: 715 m/s
Effective Range: 1,500 m
Max Range: NA
Penetration: 350 mm RHA
NA = unknown or not applicable

105 mm
The HM-49L is an Iranian copy of the US M68 rifled gun used on the M-60A1 MBT. It is used on
the Safir-74 as a replacement for the original 100 mm D-10T gun and possibly replacing some of the
original M68’s on Iran’s M-60A1s as the barrels become worn from use. There are a few differences
between the HM-49L and the M-68, but for all intents and purposes, they are the same gun. It is not
fitted with an autoloader. It fires either HEAT-T or HE shells.

HM-49L HEAT-T HE
Caliber: 105 mm Caliber: 105 mm 105 mm
Weight: 760 kg (barrel only) Weight: 22 kg 27 kg
Length: 5.3 m (barrel only) Length: .99 m 1.0 m
ROF: 10 r/m Muzzle Velocity: 1174 m/s 864 m/s
Effective Range: 2,000 m NA
Max Range: 7,000 m NA
Penetration: 356 mm RHA NA
NA = unknown or not applicable

120 mm
The rifled L11A5 is used solely by Iran’s Chieftain Tanks. Iran does not openly produce the gun,
and only just recently began producing 120 mm HESH ammunition. It is not fitted with an autoloader

L11A5 HESH
Caliber: 120 mm Caliber: 120 mm
Weight: 1,778 kg Weight: NA
Length: 6.85 m Length: NA
ROF: 10 r/m Muzzle Velocity: NA
Effective Range: NA
Max Range: NA
Penetration: NA
NA = unknown or not applicable

125 mm
The largest of all Iran’s tank guns, the smoothbore 2A46M is
produced in Iran under the name “HM-50”. It is used in Iran’s T-72Ss,
while the T-72M1s use the earlier 2A46, although the HM-50 may be
phasing out the 2A46’s as they are famed for having a low service life
and Iran has been using the T-72M1’s for close to 20 years. The gun can
be fitted with an autoloader (as it is in the T-72) or not (as in the
Zulfiqar prototypes) It can fire HE-FRAG (3VOF22 equivalent), HEAT
(3BK-18M equivalent), or APFSDS (no equivalent, but close to the 3BM-
26/29) rounds as well as the AT-11 ATGM. Unlike the 105 mm and 120
mm guns, the 2A46M’s ammunition comes in two parts, a projectile Iranian domestic APFSDS.
and a separate propellant charge.
HM-50 HE-FRAG HEAT APFSDS
Caliber: 125 mm Caliber: 125 mm 125 mm 125 mm
Weight: 2,500 kg Weight (projectile): 23 kg 19.3 kg 6.5 kg
Length: 6.6 m Length (projectile): .67 m .67 m .58 m
ROF: 8 r/m Muzzle Velocity: 850 m/s 905 m/s 1,715 m/s
Effective Range: NA NA NA
Max Range: 12.2 km 4,000 km NA
Penetration: NA 550 mm RHA 470 mm RHA
NA = unknown or not applicable
Inventory - Armor - Support Vehicles, Upgrades and Spare Parts

In addition to the main categories listed above, Iran also maintains, and manufactures several
other armored vehicles. Among the list of vehicles in Iran's inventory but not manufactured
indigenously is the Chieftain armored vehicle launched bridge (AVLB) as well as a the T-72 combat
engineering vehicle (CEV). Iran meanwhile manufactures the Taftan mine-clearing vehicle.

As the drive toward a domestic tank and AFV industry advanced so to did the need for a
domestic ammunition and spare parts supplier, AMIG(Ammunition and Metallurgy Industrial Group),
and VEIG(Vehicle and Equipment Industrial Group), both branch's of DIO (Defense Industries
Organization), stepped up and began producing ammunition and spare parts as early as the Iran-Iraq
war.

Today they produce ammunition for all their tanks as well as for export. This includes 100 mm
HEAT, 105 mm HEAT and HE, 120 mm HESH, 125 mm HE-FRAG, HEAT and APFSDS rounds. In addition
to conventional rounds Iran also produces the AT-11 Sniper ATGM under the name "Tondar" for the T-
72.

Iran also produces applique armor, including ERA (explosive


reactive armor) similar to Kontakt-3, though at least one tank has
been seen with Kontakt-5 type ERA. A third type of ERA has the same
length and width of Kontakt-3, but with close to twice the depth.
Iran also manufactures bolt-on armor for light AFV's that provides
protection up to 30 mm AP ammunition. These come in the form of
rectangular plates that range in size from only a few cm long that
protect from 7.62 mm bullets, up to larger plates that are
significantly larger. These can be applied to any AFV in Iranian
service, though are most commonly seen on M113 and BMP-style
AFV's.

Iran is also manufacturing accessories and spare parts for Applique armor packages for light
their armored vehicles including day/night periscopes, suspension, AFVs
power plants, auto-loaders, cannons, cooling and lubricant systems as well as the litany of small
mechanisms such as gears and sprockets required to operate and maintain armor systems.
Inventory - Armor - Analysis

Iran's armored forces might be making significant headway in their ability to produce advanced
prototypes, but how effective are they, do their armored divisions still retain any potency as their
equipment has aged without replacement. The answer is probably not, today, Iran's armored forces
are outmatched technically and numerically.

The first step in any analysis is determining what Iran actually has. Unfortunately, this is is
much harder then it should be. This complicates the matter of analysis significantly for obvious
reasons. While estimates vary, the number of medium/high quality MBTs is around 1,035 – 1,171,
ignoring tanks like the T-54/55, T-62 and M-47/48 tanks because they're simply too old to be relevant in
a modern tank battle, or are geographically non-relevant to most contemporary conflict estimates.
This number allows for the T-72s, Safir-74s and a moderate level of M-60's and Chieftains. To put this
in perspective, Saudi Arabia has around 833 tanks, mostly M-60A3s and M1A1/A2s. the UAE has 469
tanks, mostly Leclerc's. In this light, Iran has only a slight numerical advantage over the Gulf Arab
states, assuming some kind of cohesive cooperation between the states; however should conflict arise
with only one nation, the balance swings toward Iran.

MBT*** Quantity In Service APC/IFV Quantity In Service


Zulfiqar: 0 Boragh: >190
Chieftain: 136*-204*+ M113: (200)**
T-54/55/Safir-74: 200 BMP-1: (210)**
T-62: NA BMP-2: 413
T-72: 563 BTR-60: (150-300)**
M-47: ~68 Scorpion: (80)**
M-48: ~68 Rakhsh: NA
M-60: 136*-204*+
Total, High Quality: 1,035 – 1,171 Total: 1,243-1,393
* = Using combat battalion/brigade/divisional strength as a guide, assumes 100% unit strength with no reserves.
** = Parenthesis indicates default to conventional estimate when no other sources exist.
*** = Also note that, in conjunction with the first asterisk, that there are several more armored brigades with
unaccounted-for armor, the fact that they have to be equipped with something indicates the numbers are likely much
higher.
NA = Unknown

Iran's APC/IFV holdings largely follow the same mold, assuming a moderate estimate of
strength, Iran has around 1,393 non-MBT AFV's composed mainly of M-113s, BTR-60s and BMP-1/2s.
This compares to 4,370, 1,381 and 6,592 for Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey respectively. In this light,
Iran is lagging behind its neighbors at a significant rate, even without considering rate of use.

But even within the numbers-only game, it doesn't tell the whole story, a good indicator is not
just sheer numbers, but the rate of mechanization, what capabilities do units as a whole have to
mechanize themselves. For Iran, the situation isn't good. Given conservative assumptions about total
holdings, there is only one tank for every 434 active-duty infantrymen and a whopping 362
infantryman for every APC or IFV. Compare this to their nearest rivals, for Saudi Arabia, the rate is
1/180 and 1/34 respectively, and for the UAE, it's 1/93 and 1/31. These are telling numbers to say the
least. Speaking in conventional terms, the problem with this is that while they might have roughly the
same overall numbers, they're dispersed among a far larger force, leaving some units without
sufficient armored mechanization, and many with none at all.

Another problem is quality. The majority of Iran's holdings are a mix of Western or Eastern
technology creating a logistical nightmare, and the equipment they do have is aging faster then they
can be replaced, to say nothing of keeping pace with their neighbors’ oil-fueled procurement binges.
More then half of Iran's MBT's date from the Shahs era and have not seen meaningful upgrades, while
their more modern T-72's are still outclassed by the Saudis M1's and the UAE's Leclerc's. The same is
true with their APC's, BTR-60's and BMP-1's can't hold a candle to BMP-3's and Bradley's. While it is
possible that the domestic upgrade program will put Iran's MBT's on par with current generation
tanks, from the little can be have observed, these programs are not yet near widespread or developed
enough. Though emphasis must be placed on the fact that the amount of information we have access
to is infinitesimally small.

It should be mentioned that while a lot of Iran's MBT's like the M-47M and the M-48A5 are
obsolete, they're sufficient at what they do. For instance, the M-48A5's of the 88th AD in Sistan and
Baluchistan are ancient, but they don’t face any pressing armored or anti-armor threats.

That being said, Iran's armor on the western border with the Arab states is ridiculously
inadequate for a conventional battle, either with the US, or with the Arab states.

But it's important to remember, that's not Iran's strategy. Iran's geography is the farthest thing
from being conducive to armored warfare. Save for a small portion of low-lands in the south-west, Iran
is bordered on all sides by mountains; mountains which prove extremely taxing on armor compared to
the flat sand's of it's neighbor, Iraq. Within the context of a defensive war, it's easy to see how armor
isn't a core pillar of Iran's military strategy. This produces a force which is effective in a defensive
battle, but is only good at what it does, which is fight defensively; this has left Iran with an armored
corps that is obsolete in the short term.

This begs the question, what is the long term future of Iran's armored force. While the short
term strategy of focusing on defensive warfare and anti-armor technology is working for now, it does
have a long term flaw. As we are seeing now, Iran's armored forces are languishing, programs like the
Mobarez, KAT-72 and Zulfiqar exist, but never progress beyond small-scale technology demonstrators
for a want of funds, the money is just flowing elsewhere right now

This is why the real test is to see whether domestic industries can successfully emerge in the
next decade or two. The projects demonstrate feasibility, of that there is no question, but when we
finally see Zulfiqar-5's being rolled out of the factory, and equipping IRIA divisions can we declare
Iran's armored force satisfactory, up until that point, anything else is merely a stop-gap measure.
1.6.2 – Inventory - Soft-Skin Vehicles

Motorcycles
Motorcycles are omnipresent within the Iranian military, almost defining their preference for
fast, non-traditional tactics then for a conventional military. They function almost as modern-day
dragoons. Note that this section refers to both two-wheeled bikes as well as 4-wheeled ATV's, though
the former are far more common.

Motor-bikes are deployed throughout the ground forces, in the marines, IRGCGF, and the IRIA.
They are commonly deployed at the squad level in hunter-killer teams, such as with a team of 5+ bikes
of two men each carrying RPG's and assault rifles. Other organizations include mechanizing an entire
squad or platoon, complete with rifleman, support gunners, and anti-air/tank soldiers. It's also not
uncommon to see a "swarm" of motor-bikes with 10-20 RPG's and supporting rifleman. Sniper teams
are also a common sight on motorbikes.

The exact type of motor-bike varies,


though they are often commercial models, such
as Honda, converted for military use. One point
of note is that they are often unpainted and
appear in their bright-red factory finish. One
explanation for this might be that they just
haven't been painted yet or that it's just laziness;
another might be that it's just another
camouflage pattern. While this might seem
counterintuitive, by blending in with the rest of
the thousands of Iranian bikes on any major
street, they are better allowing themselves to
blend in with the environment they intend to
An RPG "hunter-killer" team from a commando unit attached
fight in, the urban battleground rather then to the 88th armored division
singling themselves out as a military target.
Some videos of exercises actually show Basij and IRGC conducting military drills on motorcycles in a
bustling cityscape, giving some indication on how they might be used in urban terrain.

In the war with Iraq, Iran used motorcycles in this manner to destroy Iraqi armor by running
circles around the cumbersome tanks with their slow-to-traverse turrets. These tactics depended on
the lack of infantry support for the armor, a situation that is unlikely to be the case with any ground
battles against US or even GCC Arab states.

This brings up questions of their effectiveness in combat. To get a good idea, we have only look
to Iran's neighbor Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have a long history of using Honda
motorcycles as transportation and to mount ambushes against ISAF/NATO and GOA forces. Even the
US has taken to deploying motorcycles. The advantage to this is the maneuverability; geography in
many parts of Iran, such as the Alborz and Zagros mountains, is similar to that in Afghanistan, and the
small mobile motorbikes can go places a tank, APC or even a truck can't, the same holds true on the
opposite type of terrain, within Iranian cities with their twisting alleyways and congested buildings.
Another advantage to these systems is that they're smaller, and by this virtue they attract less
attention and are easier to hide then any other vehicle.

Ultimately, as with so many other weapons, their effectiveness depends on their use. If used to
set up ambushes and carry hunter-killer teams across cities or mountains the Iranians might have a
deadly system, but if used to launch a charge across flatlands they would likely be mowed down by
tanks or gunships.

Ranger and Samandar Tactical


Vehicles

The Ranger (literally


‘Ranger’/ ‫ رنجر‬rather then the
Persian word for ranger as one
might expect) as well as the
Samandar are light tactical vehicles
that are comparable to the US
DPV/FAV/LSV with the Samandar
being a veritable copy in terms of
configuration. Neither vehicle is
reported to have entered serial
production.

Both types are built on a


Samandar during Army Day 2010 – or at least one version of it. Slight light sand-rail frame and emphasize
differences between it and the model that was shown later in the year exist, off-road mobility and speed. Both
however these slight changes are consistent with Irans history of prototype have a crew of 3 and mount a
development
machinegun. This however remains
the only concrete details on the two
vehicles.

Ranger during Sacred Defense Week 2010 - note the presence of Akhgar
minigun
¼ Ton Tactical Vehicle
Safir
Crew: 1+5
Weight: 1.5 tonne
Length: 3.51 m
Width: 1.69 m
Height: 1.88 m
Engine: Nissan 105 hp Z24
Max Speed: 130 km/h
Max Range: 500 km IRGC Safir tactical vehicle
Weapons: 106 mm or 76 mm recoilless rifle or
12.7 mm MG, or mortar or Toophan
ATGM, or 107 mm MLRS
Capacity: .6-.75 tonne (1/4 ton)

¼ Ton tactical vehicles are among the most common vehicles in the IRIGF, serving as transports,
weapon platforms and multipurpose vehicles. Iran's stock centers around the ubiquitous “Jeep” design
and includes the M-38 and it's civilian counterpart, the CJ-5 named 'Shahbaz' in Iran, which has an M-
151 style front-grill, leading to some confusion over a vehicles actual ID. Also used is the later M-151
and rarely, a few other types such a land rover, or a Soviet Gaz, but these are rarely used.

Safir
The Safir is a ¼ ton tactical vehicle modeled after the
M-38 light utility vehicle. A new generation of 1 ¼ ton-
class Safir tactical vehicles is under development.
However, no hard data is available yet.

The Safir is a light, open topped utility vehicle


with optional soft cover. It's suspension is beam-axle,
which is one of the way's to tell it's based off the M-38
rather then the later M-151 also in Iran's inventory.
The Safir can be distinguished from the M-38 by its Prototype of the 1 ¼ ton Safir Photo Credit:
sharper angled body panels, hood and by its distinctive Internet/Military.ir/Mir Hossaini
grill.

The Safir features a new 105 hp Nissan Z24 engine. It can be outfitted in various forms, from a 4 seat
passenger model to carrying weapons such as 107 mm MLRS system, recoilless rifles or ATGM's.
Land Cruiser
Toyota Land Cruiser
Crew: 1+5-8
Weight: 3.2 tonnes
Length: ~4.9 m*
Width: ~1.8 m*
Weight: ~2.0 m*
Engine: 240 hp 1HZ Diesel
Max Speed: NA
Max Range: NA
Weapons: 12.7 mm MG, Zu-23-2, 81/82/120
mm mortar, 122 mm rocket
Capacity: NA
*specifications for the SUV version, the truck version is roughly
the same but might differ by a small degree

The Toyota 70 series pickup truck is another


common light troop transport in service all across
the services especially patrolling the rugged eastern
border region. Overall, the light truck is very much
like the Safir, intended to provide a light, fast all-
terrain capability but with a larger carrying capacity.

It can carry 5-8 troops in it's bed, or it can


have a number of weapons systems installed, such
as the Zu-23-2, 12.7 mm machine-gun or an
81/82/120 mm mortar. One interesting version Land Cruiser with the 30th Infantry Division in Gorgan
replaces the bed of the truck with an 8 round 122
mm MLRS.

Land Cruiser with border police near Zahedan


3/4 ton Tactical Vehicles
Sepehr (2 door) Sepehr (4 door) Toofan Thistle
Crew: NA NA 1+7 NA
Weight: NA NA NA NA
Length: NA NA NA 4.6 m
Width: NA NA NA 1.9 m
Height: NA NA NA 2.2 m
Engine: Unknown 139 hp Unknown 139 hp NA NA
Max Range: NA NA NA 700 km
Max Speed: NA NA NA 120 km/h
Weapons: 12.7 mm MG, Zu- none 30 mm 2A42 NA
23-2, other autocannon,
other
Capacity: .68 tonne (3/4 .68 tonne (3/4 .68 tonne (3/4 .68 tonne (3/4
ton) ton) ton) ton)
NA=Unknown

Sepehr
Note: The name may either be "Sepher", meaning sky or "Sepehr"
meaning a journey or expedition.

The Sepehr is an entirely indigenous 3/4 ton tactical


vehicle. It comes in both a two-door and 4 door versions.
The production line for the vehicle was inaugurated in
February 2008.

It is powered by an unknown 139 hp engine and has a


rigid beam-axle suspension. Both versions feature almost
no armor.
Sepehr on parade

The two-door version externally resembles a light truck while the 4-door version more closely
resembles an early model Humvee with a passenger compartment rather then a truck bed. The roof
and walls are still composed of a soft-shell over a metal frame. Unlike the two door version, it cannot
be fitted with weapons. It also features a front-mounted winch.

In September 2010, the “Kaviran” vehicle was unveiled which is externally identical to the Sepehr.
Toofan

The Toofan is another incarnation of the


¾ ton design with several known styles and
development models.

What can be assumed to be the


production model of the Toofan is very similar to
the 2-door Sepehr, resembling an open topped
truck with a soft top passenger compartment
that has two rows of padded benches facing
inward which can carry at least six soldiers.

Toofan (pictured left) and an unknown 3/4 ton class vehicle


that has been recently seen with a 2A42 autocannon mounted
Source: Tuning Talks Forum

Thistle
The only official model for export, the “Thistle” is advertised by
Modlex but has not been seen in Iranian service of even at all
outside of the single front view used by the export catalogue.
1 ¼ Ton Tactical Vehicle

1.25 ton tactical vehicle


Crew: 1+1
Weight: 3.06 tonnes
Length: NA
Width: NA
Height: NA
Engine: Mercedes Benz OM364
Max Speed: 100 km/h
Max Range: NA
Weapons: none
Capacity: 1.13 tonne (1.25 ton)
NA = unknown

A relative mystery, this vehicle's name is


unknown. It is a short flatbed truck, with a large two-
door driver’s cab that can either be hard or soft-top.

The truck itself is intended to carry a variety of


modular cargo containers that appear to be custom
designed, at least in part, for the vehicle. This means
that the truck is the major carrier for Iran’s mobile EW
and networking assets and is often paired with radars
and other communication “pods”, such as the BSR-1
air-defense radar pictured right.

The truck relies on a Mercedes Benz OM364


engine with 120 liter fuel capacity and a combination
leaf-spring and telescopic shock absorber beam axle
suspension as well as a 5-gear transmission.
Inventory - Soft Skin Vehicles Analysis

Iran's stock of light, soft-skin vehicles, such as the Safir, Toofan and Toyota Land Cruiser, are the
most common vehicles within the Iranian military (in addition to the larger 5-ton class trucks which
are not mentioned here), they are used for mechanization, scouting, support, and for direct offensive
operations. They even have, to some extent, been used as a substitute for armor support and true
mechanization.

As with Iran's use of anti-tank and anti-ship missiles, the favoring of vehicles like motorcycles
and other light-weight tactical vehicles are another part of the choice by Iran to fight their otherwise
superior enemies by throwing up a foil rather then facing them directly, in what I am calling 'counter-
technology'.

Vehicles like Jeep's and motorcycles enable Iran to maintain a mobile force with an all-terrain
capability, all while remaining relatively independent of the long supply chains that heavier vehicles
necessitate. The primary advantage would be in a large conflict with any of their more heavily
armored neighbors, the mountainous and varied Iranian terrain would be more conducive to light
transportation. However it should be mentioned that this advantage is entirely dependent on Iranian
tactics, this advantage would be lost should they allow themselves to be drawn out into open ground,
an unlikely, but not inconceivable situation.

Another often overlooked advantage lies in the status quo. Iran's current war against smugglers
and insurgents in the eastern border regions necessitates lightweight troop carriers like 4WD trucks to
navigate the treacherous canyons and mountains of Khoresan and Baluchistan.

They're also largely a substitute for armor in the infantry mechanization role when there just
aren't enough APC's and IFV's to go around - which is always. This is a move more of convenience then
anything else, they don't have enough AFV's, so they are forced to use trucks and Jeep's. It's literally a
choice of either use these vehicles in place of armor, or march on foot, which just isn't an option on
the modern battlefield. This is largely because soft-skin vehicles are cheaper and easier to produce.
This translates into an easy alternative to the pressing need by the army.

However this doesn't come without a cost, easily apparent in the very name of the class of
vehicles - "soft skinned". Cars and trucks like those used don't afford any protection to their
occupants. BMP’s may get a bad rap due to their vulnerabilities to weapons like RPG's, but compared
to a Land Cruiser, it's downright luxurious. Combine this with a battlefield where individual soldiers
has access to powerful, accurate weapons and the potential for mass casualties on the Iranian side is
apparent.

The gamble Iran is making is that the agility granted by these vehicles as well as the use of
concealment can overcome, at least somewhat, this lack of protection. As with most everything, and
as is specifically mentioned under the motorcycle section, it will entirely depend on how they're used.
1.6.3 – Inventory - Artillery

Iran's artillery force emerged from the Iran-Iraq war in relatively strong shape compared to the
rest of their forces; this was due in part to the tactics employed near the tail end of the war which
emphasized long-ranged attrition over maneuver combat.

However, because of this, a large portion of their stock consists of towed artillery while only a
small part consists of self-propelled guns. However, in recent years Iran has shifted toward focusing
production on lightweight mobile towed guns such as a domestic copy of the D-30 as well as
producing their own type of self-propelled guns, such as the advanced Raad-2 as well as investing in
credible upgrades for their MLRS's.

Artillery units exist, both as independent artillery "groups" which are composed of three
artillery battalions, and as integrated artillery battalions within regular divisions and brigades.

Self-propelled guns are usually deployed in battalion's with 3 batteries of 4 guns each. This
compares to the normal 16-gun battalions found elsewhere. Towed gun battalions on the other hand
have on average 3 batteries of 6 guns each, though this often varies widely. These are of course
supported by numerous towing trucks, repair facilities, personnel transports and other support
vehicles.

MLRS systems, at least the larger calibers (Fajr series), are organized into battalions of 16
launchers. The organization starts out as a "troop" with four launchers each, as well as a repair truck,
two transports, and two loading vehicles. Two troops make up a battery that has an added command
vehicle. Four batteries then make up a battalion.

One point of note is the chemical and biological capability of Iran's artillery. A good portion of
the available information about Iran's artillery makes a specific point of noting which rockets and
shells are capable of carrying CBW's, which is nearly all of them. While this isn't false, it also isn't the
whole truth. The explicit mention of this capability often becomes transformed into presenting Iran as
a country which is capable and willing to use CBW's, a situation which is an overblown legacy of the
mis-perceptions surrounding the Iranian use of chemicals during the Iran-Iraq war. At the end of the
day, while it is possible for Iran to use CBW's on rockets and artillery shells, it is very unlikely as they
have never expressed a proclivity for their use, and due to the fact they were on the receiving end of
chemical-warfare during their war with Iraq, it is exceptionally unlikely that they would ever be used.
Artillery - Mortars

60 mm
HM-12 Fateh HM-13 Narollah HM-14
Caliber: 60 mm 60 mm 60 mm
Barrel Length: 570.5 mm 570.5 mm 740.5 mm
Max Range: 1,050 m 800 m 2,550 m
Min Range: 100 m 200 m 150 m
Elevation: 45 - 85 45-85 45-85
Traverse: 360 360 360
HM12 HM13
ROF: 20 rd/min 20 rd/min 30 rd/min
Weight: 6.25 kg 8 kg 17.5 kg

The smallest mortar in Iranian service, there are three distinct kinds of the 60 mm "Hadid"
mortars. Each is man-portable and designed to be operated by an individual.

The first, the HM-12 Fateh, features a spade-type baseplate like that found on the British 51
mm mortar as well as a carrying handle and locking angle markers. It also has a carrying handle and a
cap that protects the mortar from the elements. The maximum range of
the system is 1,050 meters.

The HM-13 on the other hand is little more then a firing tube with
protective webbing and cap. The lack of a baseplate or any aiming
mechanism beyond an aiming line on the barrel reduces the effective
maximum range to 800 m.

The HM-14 features an adjustable bipod and a full-sized base plate


as well as a simple optical sight.

All three mortars fire fin-stabilized 1.80 kg HE or smoke rounds. Mortars


can accept either the AZ111-A2 impact fuse, or the M120 proximity fuse.

HM14
81 mm

HM-15 Hadid
Caliber: 81 mm
Barrel Length: 1.55 m
Max Range: 4,900 m
Min Range: 150 m
Elevation: 45-85
Traverse: NA
ROF: 20 rd/min
Weight: 50.5 kg
NA = unknown or not applicable 81 mm HM15

The 81 mm HM-15 features a 1.7 meter long tube on a bipod with locking angle markers and a
large base-plate. An ET-1 elbow telescope is used for sighting. It can also use the HM32 sight for
indirect sightings, which includes illumination for low-light and nighttime operation.

It is often mounted on vehicles such as the Safir or the Land Cruiser, or towed behind them,
but it can also be carried by dismounted infantry.

The HM-15 has a max range of 4.5 km and fires fin-stabilized 4.05 kg HE, 3.01 smoke and 4.5 kg
illumination rounds. Mortars can accept either the AZ111-A2 impact fuse, or the M120 proximity fuse
120 mm
HM-16 Razm
Caliber: 120 mm 120 mm
Barrel Length: 1.72 m NA
Max Range: 6 km (10.06 and 16 km w/ extended 6 km (10.06 and 16 km w/ extended
range shell) range shell)
Min Range: 250 m NA
Elevation: 45-85 NA
ROF: 10 rd/min NA
Weight: 138.5 kg NA

HM-16
The mortar is largely the same as the HM-15 with a large base-
plate and a bipod with locking angle markers and an ET-1 telescope. It
can also use the HM32 sight for indirect sightings, which includes
illumination for low-light operation.

The HM-15 has been adapted for use in the Boragh mortar
carrier. Instead of a base-plate, it is locked into an integrated rotating
base. In addition to these modes, it is still nominally man-portable.

It fires 13 kg HE and smoke rounds out to 6 km and 12 kg HM-15

illumination rounds out to 5.7 km. It also can fire the


16.7 kg extended range HE shell out to 10 km. Mortars
can accept either the AZ111-A2 impact fuse, or the
M120 proximity fuse. More recently, an extreme-long
range shell was unveiled alongside the Razm with a
range of 16 km. It is assumed to be backward
compatible with the HM-15.

Razm
The Razm is the 2nd generation of Iranian 120
mm mortar tube systems. It is composed of a 120 mm
mortar tube with an exceptionally large base plate. Razm mounted in a Kaviran tactical vehicle
Because of this, it is unlikely that it would be deployed
as a man-portable weapon like the HM-15. It was
displayed mounted in both the Toyota Land Cruiser
truck and the Kaviran tactical vehicle.

Extreme long range mortar bomb unveiled alongsize


the Razm
1.4.3.2 - Artillery - Towed Guns
M-101
M-101A1
Caliber: 105 mm
Barrel Length: 2.31 m
Weight: 2.26 tonnes
Length: 5.94 m
Width: 2.21 m
Height: 1.73 m
Max Range: 11.27 km
ROF: NA
M-101 on parade with the 23rd commando division on
Traverse: 46 Armed Forces day 2010

Elevation: -5 - 66
Ammunition: HE, illumination, smoke, chemical
Crew: NA
NA = unknown

The smallest of Iran's towed guns, the 105 mm howitzer is supported on a single-axle, split-trail
carriage. On top of this is a 105 mm M2A2 cannon with a hydro-pneumatic shock absorber which can
fire semi-fixed rounds of HE, illumination, or smoke shells out to 11.5 km.

Most estimates put around 200 out of the original 250 M-101's left in service. Shells can accept
the M203-A proximity fuse.
D-74 / Type-60
D-74 / Type-60
Caliber: 122 mm
Barrel Length: 6.45 m
Weight: 5.62 tonnes
Length: 9.87 m
Width: 2.35 m
Height: NA
Max Range: 24 km
ROF: 8-10 rd/min
Traverse: 45
Elevation: -5 - 45
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination, chemical
Crew: 7-9
NA = unknown

The D-74, as well its Chinese copy,


the Type 60, serve within IRGC artillery
battalions.

The gun shares the same type of


single-axle, split-trail carriage as the D-20.
This supports a 122 mm cannon with a
long 6.4 m barrel with a double-baffle
muzzle brake.

Exact ammunition is unknown,


though it is likely the same as the others,
semi-fixed HE, smoke and illumination
shells.
D-74 / Type-60 pictured left
100 were originally delivered
during the Iran-Iraq war with an unknown amount remaining, likely fairly close to the original number.
They remain in service, at the least, with IRGC artillery battalions within armored units.
HM-40 / D-30
HM-40 / D-30
Caliber: 122 mm
Barrel Length: 5.88 m
Weight: 3.21 tonnes
Length: 5.4 m (transport configuration)
Width: 1.9 m (transport configuration)
Height: 1.6 m (transport configuration)
Max Range: 15.4 km
ROF: 1-8 rd/min
Traverse: 360
Elevation: -7-70
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination HM-40 as advertised by Diomil
Crew: 7
NA = unknown

The D-30 is a primary medium-weight gun within artillery battalions. It is an effective design
intended to be mobile but still pack the punch of a larger gun against relatively un-entrenched units.
Iran domestically manufactures the D-30 under the name HM-40.

It features a distinctive tripod design which allows it a full 360 degree traverse range. However
this the gun from fully elevating when located directly in line with each leg. It's extremely low
depression allows it to be used in the direct fire role.

The 122 mm 2A18 cannon is the same used on the 2S1 self-propelled howitzer. The gun has a
very distinctive box-shaped cover on the recoil mechanism, making it easy to identify. It also features
either a double-baffle or cylindrical muzzle brake. It can fire a variety of semi-fixed ammunition
including HE, smoke, and illumination rounds. Shells can accept the M203-A proximity fuse.

In the late 90's, Russia delivered 100 D-30's directly to Iran. Iran has also produced an
unspecified number under the name HM-40. Given the ease of manufacture it is likely the number is
much higher, some estimates put the total number now at around 500.
M-46 / Type-59

M-46 / Type-59
Caliber: 130 mm
Barrel Length: NA
Weight: 7.69 tonnes
Length: 11.73 m
Width: 2.45 m
Height: NA
Max Range: 27.5 km (36 w/ BB. 42 km w/RAP)
ROF: 5-8 rd/min
Traverse: 50
Elevation: -2.5 - 45 M-46 on exercise with the IRIA in June 2009

Ammunition: HE,, HE-RAP, illumination, smoke,


chemical
Crew: 8
NA = unknown

The 130 mm M-46, or more usually, the Type-59 Chinese copy, is one of the most numerous
towed artillery pieces in Iranian inventory. This came on the tail end of Iran-Iraq war where the war
had devolved into a war of attrition featuring artillery duels where guns like the D-30 were too short
ranged and weak to effectively target well-entrenched positions and there was no need for its
mobility, this produced a situation that favored the long-ranged static fire of guns like the M-46.

Iranian M-46's fire standard HE, smoke rounds, HEAT sub-munitions as well as HE base-bleed
shells which boost the range from 27.5 km to 36 km, and more recently HE-RAP shells. Shells can
accept the M203-A proximity fuse.

Iran purchased 1,006 M-46/Type-59's, both from China as well as from North Korea during the Iran-
Iraq war. These remain service as the backbone as many of the artillery groups. Some estimates put
the remaining number in service as around 800. Iran is not domestically producing this gun meaning it
is likely slated for removal from front-line service in favor of larger calibers.

D-20
Little is known about the possible deployment of this weapon, if it is used at all.
HM-41 / M-114

HM-41
Caliber: 155 mm
Barrel Length: 6.03 m
Weight: 6.89 tonnes
Length: NA
Width: NA
Height: NA
Max Range: 30 km
ROF: 4 rd/min
Traverse: 25 - 23.5
Elevation: 0 - 66
Ammunition: HE, illumination, smoke, chemical,
HE base bleed
HM-41
Crew: ~11
NA = unknown

The 155 mm HM-41 is a domestic upgrade and production line of the M114 howitzer originally
delivered from the US in the 1960's. The gun is a medium battlefield howitzer and is experiencing an
increased presence in Iran's inventory following domestic production.

The gun features a conventional carriage with a single-axle split-trail design.

The original M-114 had a short barrel with no muzzle brake, while the HM-41's barrel has been
lengthened and features a double baffle muzzle brake.

Iran now manufactures a variety of semi-fixed ammunition for the new HM-41's, including HE,
smoke, illumination, HEAT sub-munitions and HE-base bleed shells. Shells can accept the M203-A
proximity fuse.

The original number of M-114's delivered, reduced during the Iran-Iraq war has now been
boosted by an unknown amount by indigenous production
of the HM-41.

Early in 2011, a variant of the HM-41 was unveiled that


mounted the gun on the rear of a MAN truck. The role of
such a system would be to provide a low cost, self-propelled
artillery support capability to units that would otherwise be
forced to rely on towed guns due to a shortage of
conventional self-propelled units.
GHN-45

GHN-45
Caliber: 155 mm
Barrel Length: NA
Weight: 11 tonnes
Length: 14 m
Width: NA
Height: 2m
Max Range: 39.6 km (w/ base bleed)
ROF: 2-5 rd/min GHN-45, pictured left, with a 122 MLRS system to the
right
Traverse: 534 - 711
Elevation: -89 - 1280
Ammunition: HE, illumination, smoke, chemical,
HE base bleed
Crew: NA
NA = unknown

Purchased illegally from Austria during the Iran-Iraq war, the 155 mm howitzer is another long-
ranged gun that was heavily favored during the Iran-Iraq war for its long range and power which was
deemed superior to the 130 mm M-46.

Unlike most towed guns in the Iranian inventory, the GHN-45 has a double-axle design for its
carriage, while maintaining the usual split-trails. The gun has a distinctive hydro-pneumatic recoil
system.

It fires 155 mm shells including HE, smoke, illumination, HEAT sub-munitions and HE-base
bleed. Shells can accept the M203-A proximity fuse.

300 were originally purchased from Austria, current estimates put the remaining number at
100. It still maintains a prominent role within Artesh units on the western border with Iraq.
M-115

M-115
Caliber: 203 mm
Barrel Length: 5.14 m
Weight: 14.51 tonnes
Length: 10.97 m
Width: NA
Height: NA M115 on parade

Effective Range:* 16.8 km


ROF: .5 - 1 rd/min
Traverse: 60
Elevation: -2 - 65
Ammunition: HE
Crew: 14
NA = unknown
* = maximum not available

The largest of Iranian towed artillery, the massive 203 mm M-115 is a super-heavy howitzer. It
features a double-axle design much like the GHN-45 and a large, short barrel with a hydro-pneumatic
recoil system. Out of the original 50 delivered, only handfuls remain in service with the army in
Isfahan; estimates put 30 still in service. Shells can accept the M203-A proximity fuse.
Artillery - Self-Propelled Guns
M-107 / M-110

M107 M110
Caliber: 175 mm 203 mm
Barrel NA NA
Length:
Weight: 28.3 tonnes 28.3 tonnes
Length: 6.46 m 5.72 m
Width: 3.15 m 3.15 m
Height: 3.47 m 3.47 m
Max Speed: 80 km/h 54.7 km/h
Engine: 450 hp GM 8-cylinder 405 hp GM 8-cylinder
Ammunition: HE HE
Max Range: 34 km 16.8 km
ROF: 1-2 rnd/min 1-2 rnd/min
Traverse: 360 NA
Elevation: -5 - 65 NA
Crew: 5 5
NA = unknown

The 175 mm M-107 along with its


bigger brother, the 203 mm M-110 are heavy
guns designed for the massive bombardments
needed to stop cold-war era formations.

The chassis is the same on both


models, a tracked body with five road-wheels
with the engine front and right and featuring a
hydraulic spade attached to the rear that could
be lowered for stabilization. The vehicle is
powered by a 450 hp GM 8-cylinder engine.
M110 (front) and an M107(behind) at an 2009 Armed Forces Day
The gun is what differentiates the M- show in Tehran
107 from the M-110; the M-107 features a longer 175 mm gun which is mounted in an unprotected
base at the rear of the hull. It has a power traverse operated by a hydraulic pump. This can fire a 66.6
kg HE shell up to 34 m. The M-110 on the other hand has a 203 mm howitzer gun designed for short,
lobbing shots of a 90.7 kg HE shell. Both guns have no muzzle brakes. Shells can accept the M203-A
proximity fuse.
It is unclear how many are left in service; while some are definitely still active, estimates put
the number at around 25 M-107's and 30 M-110's out of the 38 and 40 respectively, delivered.

M109

M-109A1
Caliber: 155 mm
Barrel Length: 6.03 m
Weight: 24.94 tonnes
Length: 6.11 m
Width: 3.1 m
Height: 3.3 m
Max Speed: 56 km/h
Engine: 450 hp diesel.
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination
M109A1 on exercise with the IRIA in western Iran
Max Range: 18.1 km
ROF: 1-4 rnd/min
Traverse: 360
Elevation: NA
Crew: 6
NA = unknown

The most common self-propelled gun in Iran's inventory, the M109 is a general-purpose SPG
and is a common feature in IRIA artillery battalions.

The hull is tracked and has 7 road-wheels with a forward engine compartment and a fully
enclosed turret to the rear.

The turret provides a semblance of armor, enough to protect against shrapnel and small arms,
but not against direct fire. The system was originally delivered with the 155 mm M126A1 cannon,
though they may now be replaced by the HM-44, a domestic Iranian copy of the M185. Sighting is
accomplished via direct, or indirect sights. They have been upgraded with fire-control systems that are
likely similar to the Raad-2 layout (see below).

The 155 mm cannon can fire HE, smoke, HEAT sub-munitions and illuminating rounds 18.1 km
and base-bleed shells out to 24 km. Shells can accept the M203-A proximity fuse.

The only estimates on the number in service put the number at 150-180.
2S1 Gvozdika

2S1 Gvozdika
Caliber: 122 mm
Barrel Length: 5.06 m
Weight: 14.51 tonnes
Length: 7.26 m
Width: 2.85 m
Height: 2.73 m
Max Speed: 60 km/h
Engine: NA
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination IRGC Gvozdika's near Tehran - May 2009
Max Range: 15.4 km
ROF: 4-5 rnd/min
Traverse: 360
Elevation: -7 - 70
Crew: 4
NA = unknown

The first attempt to repair the mobile artillery service following the Iran-Iraq war; the 122 mm
2S1 Gvozdika is a tracked, amphibious light howitzer.

The turret provides minimal protection as with the M-109 and houses a 122 mm 2A18 cannon,
the same used on the D-30 towed howitzer. The improved recoil mechanism within the turret
improves the stability of the platform compared to the towed gun; loading is assisted by an automatic
loader. The gun can fire HE, smoke or illumination rounds. Shells can accept the M203-A proximity
fuse.

Iran procured 60, maybe 80 Gvozdika's, enough to equip the few IRGCGF battalion's they are
deployed with.
Raad-1

Raad-1
Caliber: 122 mm
Barrel Length: 5.06 m
Weight: NA
Length: 6.5 m
Width: 2.67 m
Height: 2.14 m (to barrel center)
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Engine: See text
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination
Max Range: 15.4 km
ROF: 4-5 rnd/
Traverse: 360
Raad-1, clearly showing influences from both the 2S1 and the
Elevation: -7 - 70 Boragh
Crew: ~4
NA = unknown

The Raad-1 is the first in the family of indigenously manufactured self-propelled guns. It
combines major elements of the Boragh APC and the Russian 2S1 Gvozdika SPG.

The hull is based off the Boragh. It relies on the same 320 hp engine powering the Boragh (if
that is what the Boragh uses, see separate entry) as well as the same torsion bar suspension.
Amphibious ability has been retained as evidenced by the trim vane. The turret is mounted at the rear
of the hull, where the twin doors would be on the mortar-carrier Boragh. Maximum armor thickness is
17 mm, substantially less then the 2S1.

No noticeable external changes are apparent to the turret. However it has a new computerized
fire-control system as well as the addition of a night vision system. The Raad-1 can carry 35 rounds for
the gun.

The main question is whether or not Raad-1's are being produced. This also begs the question
if they are producing the 2S1 turrets or just reusing one from the original 2S1's, this obviously would
limit the number they could build. Also, where are the Boragh bodies coming from, are they from the
pool of 190 Boraghs, or are they separate BMP-1 conversions? Lastly, would they be co-produced
along with the Raad-2, or has it been entirely replaced by the later model? Many of these remain
unanswered, but it is that because we haven't seen any production plants, or any on parade compared
to the numerous sightings of the Raad-2, this leads one to believe the Raad-1 was just a prototype.
Raad-2
Raad-2 Raad-2M
Caliber: 155 mm 155 mm
Barrel Length: 6.03 m 6.03 m
Weight: 36 tonnes 36 tonnes
Length: 9.14 m (incl. barrel) 9.05 m
Width: 3.38 m 3.38 m
Height: 2.60 m 2.60 m
Max Speed: NA NA
Engine: 840 hp V-84MS 700 hp 5TDF
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination, BB HE, smoke, illumination, BB
Max Range: 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB
ROF: 1-4 rnd/min 1-4 rnd/min
Traverse: 360 360
Elevation: NA -3 - 75
Crew: 5 5
NA = unknown

The successor to the Raad-1


program, the Raad-2 exhibits a much
closer similarity to the 155 mm M-109
SPG with major influences from the
Russian "T-series" tanks. The Raad-2
program comprises two different models,
the Raad-2 and the Raad-2M.

The turret and gun is the same on


both models. It uses the 155 mm M185
cannon, the same as on the M109A2-A4.
This is odd considering how Iran was only
ever delivered the M109A1. However
there are multiple ways Iran could have Raad-2 on parade
got their hands on a later system,
including, purchase from the grey/black-market, or previously-available technical documentation. The
gun-control system has been retrofitted with an automatic turret-laying system, night-vision, GPS (it is
unclear if this is navigation only or for targeting as well) and a fire-control computer. The gun is fitted
with an auto-loading system, which would explain the reduction in crew size to 5. The turret also
features a "boxier" appearance compared to the original M109 with slab sides instead of a curved
profile. The platform carries 30 rounds internally.
The hull bears some similarity to the M-109, however this is only superficial, notably, the road
wheels, suspension and drive train are derived from the T-72.

Compared to the M-109, it weighs significantly more, at 36 tonnes. Although interestingly


enough, the weight doesn't come from the armor, which has been actually reduced by a 1 cm in the
heaviest areas (now with a maximum of 2 cm) when compared to the M-109.

The difference between the two models is


in the engines, the Raad-2 features a
powerful 840 hp V-84MS diesel engine.
The Raad-2M on the other hand has the
Ukrainian-made 700 hp 5TDF engine. The
Raad-2 is far more common then the Raad-
2M

Other features include an air-conditioning


system, automatic fire-extinguishing
system, digital communication, networked
displays, and NBC protection
Raad-2M: Note that Diomil mirrors their images, so the -2M actually
The number of Raad-2's, both -2 and -2M's
has the exhaust on the right side of the hull, not the left as it appears
here. Another dead giveaway to this mirroring technique is thein service is unknown. The most likely
position of the periscope on the turret. limiting factor with regard to production is
the engines. Unfortunately, no export records exist of the original number of engines purchased by
Iran, to say nothing of the possibility that they are now producing them. However, given that we have
seen them in the current camouflage of at least 3 unique units (2 IRGC and 1 IRIA) and because it is a
safe bet that the smallest deployed unit size is battalion, we can make the assumption that there, are
at the bare minimum, 36+ currently in service.

The Raad-2 is a solid improvement to Iran's artillery inventory. The improvements to the power
pack as well as the significant, if unverifiable, upgrades to the fire-control and targeting mechanism
could well make the Raad-2 equivalent to the newer (if not newest) generations of the M-109.
M-178 Koksan

M-1978
Caliber: 170 mm
Barrel Length: NA
Weight: NA
Length: 6.45 m (hull)
Width: 3.37 m (hull)
Height: NA
Max Speed: NA
Engine: NA
Ammunition: NA M-1978, pictured in front of the BMP-2 and behind the towed guns,
during a parade in Kerman
Max Range: 40 -60 km (RAP shell)
ROF: 1-2 rnd / 5 m
Traverse: NA
Elevation: NA
Crew: NA

The M-1978 Koksan is a massive North Korean artillery piece based on a turret-less Type-59
tank chassis with two stabilizing spades at the rear.

The gun is 170 mm, though of an indeterminate origin. It is mounted near the rear of the hull
without a superstructure, much like the US M107 also in Iran's inventory. It has no on board
ammunition supply.

Iran purchased at least 20-30 from North Korea during the tail-end of the Iran-Iraq war;
however several were captured by Iraqi forces during fighting. The remaining number, around a
battalion sized element, serves with the IRGC forces in the Kerman province. The small number
remaining indicates that this is likely the only unit they remain in service with.
1.4.3.4 - Artillery - Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
107 mm

Single Double 12 round - 12 round - RL-11 RL-19 Haseb Rocket


vehicle towed
Caliber: 107 mm 107 mm 107 mm 107 mm 107 mm 107 mm 107 mm
Weight: 12.5 kg 39 kg 430 kg 475 kg 280 kg 400 kg 19 kg
Length: 80 cm 80 cm 93 cm 280 cm 90 cm 90 cm 83.7 cm
(barrel ) (barrel ) (barrel ) (barrel)
Width NA NA 140 cm 235 cm NA NA NA
Height NA NA 81 cm 102 cm NA NA NA
Barrels: 1 2 12 12 11 19 NA
Max Range: 8.5 km 8.5 km 8.5 km 8.5 km 8.5 km 8.5 km 8.5 km
ROF: NA NA 12 / 6-10 s 12 / 6-10 s 11 / 7-9 s 19 / 19-20 s NA
Elevation: 0 - 45 0 - 50 0 - 60 0 - 60 5 - 45 5 - 45 NA
Traverse: -11 - 11 -10 - 10 -50 - 15 -50 - 15 -90 - 90 -90 - 90 NA
Warhead: NA NA NA NA NA NA 6.39 kg
NA = unknown or not applicable

The 107 mm rocket system is a short range support weapon designed to provide saturation fire
in a relatively mobile package. It can be used in both direct and indirect fire. Indirect fire sighting is
accomplished by optics similar to mortar sights. The rocket most commonly has a contact fuse, but
can also be equipped with a proximity fuse.

The single and double launchers are deployed in


man portable configuration officially intended for use by
irregular forces. This was displayed in Iraq when
insurgents used 107 mm rockets in scattered attacks
against US and GOI (government of Iraq) facilities.

The larger 12-round carriers can both be


mounted directly on vehicles like the Safir, or towed
behind trucks on a wheeled carriage, as well as being
moderately man-portable.
107 mm rockets mounted on a Safir Jeep
There is also a naval variation which features a bank of 11 or 19 rockets which are gyro
stabilized in an electrically controlled mount and with a rudimentary fire control. These are sometimes
referred to as RL.2’s and RL.4’s which may be a slightly different earlier version.

These systems fire the unguided 107 mm Haseb rocket which is spin stabilized and can be fitted
with an immediate or delayed impact fuse, and less commonly, a proximity fuse. It has an 8.5 m range
and it carries a 6.39 kg HE or HEI warhead. The lethal radius is 12.5 m. They are sometimes referred to
as the Fajr-1

122 mm

Launcher: HM-20 HM-21 HM-23 Rocket: Arash 1 Arash 2 Noor/Arash 3


Caliber: 122 mm 122 mm 122 Caliber 122 mm 122 mm 122 mm
mm
Weight: 13.15 90 kg 800 kg Weight: 65 kg 72 kg 45 kg
tonnes
Length: 3m 3 or 1.9 m 1.9 m Length: 2.81 m 3.2 m 2.05 m
Barrels: 40 1 8 or 16 Max Range: 21.5 km 30 km 18 km
ROF: 1/0.7 s - NA CEP: NA NA NA
Elevation: -1 - 55 5 - 50 -1 - 25 Warhead: 18.3 kg 18.3 kg 18.3 kg
Traverse: 72-102 -12 -12 360
NA = unknown

The 122 mm rocket systems are a step


up from the 107 mm, transitioning from
infantry support to full-size artillery designed
to provide a high volume of rapid indirect fire
against large area targets.

The HM-20-1 is actually closer to the


107 mm single and double launchers in terms
of doctrinal use. Its single-launch nature
means it's more ideally suited for irregular
troops or a guerrilla insurgency.

The HM-20 is four banks of 10 tubes in


two sections, which is one way to tell them apart from single large mass found on of the BM-11/21.
The system is mounted on a variety of 6x6 vehicles such as the MAN truck pictured above. It features a
hydraulic traversing and elevating system with electronic firing controls.

As with the 107 mm, a naval version also exists, the HM-23 which features an 8 or 16 barrel
launcher. The HM-23 has also been used on ground vehicles, in one instance replacing the bed on a
Land Cruiser truck.

In addition to this, Iran maintains sizable stocks of the original BM-11 and BM-21 MLRS launchers.

Some types use the same telescopic and panoramic sights as the BM-21 while others use an
unknown fire-control system.
Three rocket types exist, all unguided, the first, the Noor, sometimes called the Arash 3, is the
smallest and has the shortest range. The Arash 1 and Arash 2 provide a boost in the maximum range of
the system. All of them can be carried in racks which facilitate quick reloading. Iranian 122mm rockets
carry a basic HE warhead as well as AP and AT submunitions, while HE-FRAG, and fuel-air explosives
are suspected. It carries both an impact and 'M-112K' proximity fuse. The rockets are both spin and
fin stabilized.
Oghab
Oghab
Caliber: 230 mm
Weight: 360 kg
Length: 4.82 m
Barrels: 3
Max Range: 34-45 km
CEP: 500 m
Warhead: 70 kg
ROF: NA
Elevation: NA
Traverse: NA
NA = unknown or not applicable

An early product of Iran's foray into indigenous artillery systems, the Oghab had several early
setbacks, but eventually saw extensive use at the tail end of the Iran-Iraq war. It was heavily
influenced by the Chinese Type-83 MLRS.

The Oghab is fired from a three rail launcher mounted on the back of a Mercedes Benz 4x4, it's
static fins differentiating it from more traditional rocket artillery fired from tubes.

The rocket has a 45 km range and a 70 kg HE, HE-FRAG or chemical warhead and is spin and fin
stabilized.

Rumors surround its possible deployment as an air-to-ground weapon, but if there were ever
any truth to these rumors, it's unlikely to be deployed as such now.

The Oghab has likely been retired from service as it has largely been supplanted by newer
systems and hasn't been seen since the time of the Iran-Iraq war.
Falaq

Falaq-1 Falaq-2
Caliber: 240 mm 333 mm
Weight: 111 kg 225 kg
Length: 1.32 m 1.82 m
Max Range: 10 km 10.8 km
CEP: NA NA
Warhead: 50 kg 120 kg
A dated image of the 6-cell launcher for the Falaq-1
ROF: NA NA
Elevation: NA NA
Traverse: NA NA

NA = Unknown
Another short range weapon, the Falaq is similar to
the Soviet BM-24 system.

The rockets are launched from a six cell


launcher mounted on the back of a light tactical
vehicle like a pickup truck. It requires stabilizers to
be deployed before firing. Nothing is known about
the Falaq-2 launch differences, though it probably
remains the same with less total capacity due to
size constraints.

However, a single tube, man-portable


configuration is also possible and would then be
used as the same manner as described in the 107 Hezbollah Falaq-1
mm section, as a weapon primarily for irregular forces (pictured right).

Both rockets are short ranged, only being able to reach out 10-11 km, though they carry large
warheads.

The Falaq does not appear to be in widespread service.


Fajr-3

Fajr-3 Launcher
Caliber: 240 mm Length: 10.45 m
Weight: 407 kg Height: 3.34 m
Length: 5.2 m Width: 2.5 m
Max Range: 43 km Max Speed: 60 km/h
Warhead: 90 kg Barrels: 12
CEP: NA ROF: NA Fajr-3 on a Mercedes-Benz 2631
Elevation: 0 - 57
Traverse: 90 Left - 100
Right
NA = unknown

The Fajr-3 is a 240 mm self-propelled MLRS system originally derived from the North Korean M-
1985. Some sources say mass production began in 1990 while others say it was first tested in 1996.
This might be explained by the difference with producing a copy, and then later, testing a newer
generation of the weapon.

The weapons system was first mounted on the original 6x6 Izuzu used by the North Koreans
where the Mercedes-Benz 2631 has become the standard for newer generation models.

The MLRS itself consists of two banks of six tubes each. The rockets can be fired in a salvo, in
48-96 seconds, or individually. It is a safe bet that the same fire-control system used in the Fajr-5,
described below, is also used in the Fajr-3.

The 240 mm rockets have a 90 kg warhead, usually HE, HE-FRAG, but can likely carry
submunitions, incendiary, smoke and chemical payloads as well; they have a maximum range of 43
km. They are spin and fin stabilized, but unguided.

The inaccuracies inherent in an unguided rocket system combined with small number of
rockets that can be launched in a salvo prevent the Fajr-3 from being a truly effective system in the
tactical role.
Fajr-5
Fajr-5 Rocket Launcher
Caliber: 333 mm Length: 10.45 m
Weight: 915 kg Height: 2.34 m
Length: 6.48 m Width: 2.54 m
Max Range: 75 km Max Speed: 60 km/h
Warhead: 175 kg Barrels: 4
CEP: NA ROF: NA
Elevation: 0-57
Traverse: 45 Left - 45 Right
NA = unknown

The Fajr-5 uses the same mount as the Fajr-3, with


the newer generation using the Mercedes-Benz 2631
truck.

Also added is a networking system that enabled


data-links within and between batteries. Another
feature added is remote fire capability under which
the command vehicle can link all Fajr-5's within a 20
km range.

However, most interestingly is the reported


Fajr-5 during a Basij parade - November 2008 installation of a naval surface search radar which
indicates Iran might use the MLRS in an anti-shipping role. At the very least, they appear to be able to
link together with other anti-ship assets like the Noor or the Raad and share their targets.

The rockets have a 175 kg warhead, which can likely carry a variety of payloads including HE,
HE-FRAG, incendiary, smoke or sub-munitions. They are spin stabilized, but unguided.

The inaccuracies inherent in an unguided rocket system combined with small number of
rockets that can be launched in a salvo prevent the Fajr-5 from being a truly effective system.
Shahin

Shahin 1 Shahin 2
Caliber: 333 mm 333 mm
Weight: 498 kg 564 kg
Length: 3.9 m NA
Max Range: 20 km 30 km
CEP: NA NA
Warhead: 190 kg 190 kg Not an Iranian Shahin, but an export version in
service with Sudan. Note the triple-rail launch
ROF: 3 rnd/min 3 rnd/min configuration
Elevation: NA NA
Traverse: NA NA
NA = Unknown

Another legacy of the Iran-Iraq war, the Shahin 1


Shahin-1
and 2 are heavy, short-mid ranged weapons a step up
from the Falaq. The Shahin 2 is a slightly larger and longer ranged version of the Shahin 1. They are
both launched from rails reminiscent of the Nazeat or Oghab more then other MLRS's,.

The rockets carry HE, HE-FRAG warheads with impact fuses and are fin-stabilized.

A version of the Shahin, the Shahin-3 has been adapted to air-to-surface attack.

The Shahin does not appear to be in extensive service.


Artillery - Detection and Fire-Control Systems

Fire coordination is one area that has seen significant expansion in recent years Battery-wide
fire control systems are making an appearance, for instance, networking is being introduced allowing
batteries to share targeting data and even allowing the commander to control them remotely.

One example is the AFC (artillery fire-control) which appears to be a copy,


or at least, influenced by the Fotona ARTES-1000 system.

The ARTES-100 is composed of three parts an observers module that


designates the target, a gun module that calculates fire-solutions for the
gunners and a command module that networks data within the battery.
The observer’s module features laser range-finders, GPS receiver, possible
Artillery Fire Control (AFC) thermal imaging, as well as multiple types of data-links to the gun module.
It can either be used with a forward observer, or with the gun itself. The gun-module features graphic
displays and a ballistic computer and can be linked directly into a gun-laying system. All three modules
are made with solid-state electronics

Another system is the artillery fire control computer” (FCSS-85) which is manufactured by IEI
and is a smaller man portable system designed to be used with most of Iran’s towed guns and rocket
artillery.

Newer generation self propelled guns like the Raad-2 have night and all-weather sights
installed increasing their engagement potential. While these improvements are not revolutionary nore
represent a concerted advantage over their neighbors, they nonetheless are a step up for Iran’s
artillery groups.

Other tools for artillery coordination include the use of ground surveillance radars like the Basir
or GSR series and UAV's like the Mohajer for target spotting.
1.4.3.6 - Artillery - Analysis

As with armor, the first part of the analysis is determining what Iran actually has, which also, is
a great deal more troublesome then it should be.

Towed Quantity In Self- Quantity In MLRS Quantity in Service


Service Propelled Service
M-101: 200* 2S1: 60-80 Type 63 NA
D-74: 100* M-107: 25* BM-21/HM-20: NA
D-30/HM-40: 500 M-110: 30* Oghab: NA
M-46: >800 M-109: 140* Falaq: NA
M-114/HM-41: 100 Raad-1: 0 Fajr-3: ~100*
GHN-45: 100 Raad-2: >36 Fajr-5: ~100*
M-115: 30* M-1978: ~18
Total: 1800 Total: 329 Total: NA
NA = Unknown
* = Default to conventional estimates due to absence of evidence for alternative analysis

First is towed artillery, during the Iran-Iraq war, Iran built up a substantial number of guns that
favored the mass static bombardments that characterized the final stage of the war. Low-level
estimates put the total number still in service as around 1800 pieces, this is a very general number and
is composed mostly of 500 D-30 / HM-40 and around 800 M-46's, though the number could be much
higher depending on total production levels of the HM-40 and HM-41.

The trend emerging is a standardization of calibers, we are seeing a favoring of the lighter
Soviet 122 mm in guns like the HM-40 and the 155 mm as in the HM-41.

Holdings of self-propelled guns are much smaller; only 60-80 2S1 Gvozdika's have been
procured and few M-1978s ever existed. The large caliber M-107's, and M-110's, with an estimated 25
and 30 left, respectively, are approaching the end of their service-life and will slowly be phased out in
favor of the newer generation guns. M-109's on the other hand, sharing the same configuration as the
newer self-propelled guns will likely remain in service for far longer. Estimates on the number of
remaining M109's in service hover around 140. The newer generation SPG's being designed by Iran is
the Raad-1 and Raad-2 with the former likely never entering production. It seems, as the towed guns
are being standardized, the same has happened with the SPG's, with the 155 mm being the caliber of
choice.

The expansion of MLRS platforms compared to pre-revolution times also reflect the preferred
style of combat during the Iran-Iraq war, which was massed fire bombardments. Smaller caliber
weapons like the 107 mm Type-63 have been mass-produced and are omnipresent within the IRIGF.
That is why low-end estimates of around 100 being in service (despite more then 750 directly
delivered) are probably wrong. Combine 750 with the large amount being produced domestically and
it's probably greater then 1000 total. However it is important to remember that with this weapon,
they're often deployed as an integrated infantry support weapon, not necessarily with artillery groups
or battalions where it's short range would restrict it's usefulness anyway. Because of this, one might
not even consider them as an actual artillery asset, but rather, more as an infantry support weapon
like a recoilless rifle.

The majority of Iran's stock of 'true' rocket artillery is composed of 122 mm BM-21 and its
domestic equivalent, the HM-20, maintaining a stock of more then 200 pieces, though by how much
depends entirely on how far domestic production has progressed. Larger caliber pieces like the Fajr-3
are probably around 100 pieces assuming a low level of production. Estimates on the total numbers of
the larger Fajr-5 are totally absent, though they seem to be deployed at a rate similar to, or slightly
less then the Fajr-3, making "somewhere around 100" as close a guess as is possible at this point.

Mortars fit into much the same category as the 107 mm rockets - technically artillery, but
deployed in such a manner that they are integrated directly into infantry units making them more of
an infantry support weapon, then a direct artillery asset - the exception being the 120 mm mortars.
However, it is difficult to estimate the total numbers because they are smaller assets compared to
larger artillery and as they are heavily produced domestically, making them much harder to track

Iran's next largest rival when it came to artillery strength was Iraq, but following the 2003
invasion, this threat was eliminated. This leaves the GCC countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE,
countries with a relatively minor holding of artillery, instead preferring armor and mechanized
infantry. Both countries have less than 500 total pieces of artillery each, 468 for the KSA and 346 for
the UAE, both favoring self-propelled guns. Other GCC states have a relatively insignificant amount
compared to the main parties. Iran clearly has the numerical advantage in this case, even assuming an
Arab coalition.

But as with everything, numbers only tell half the story - what about quality?

As mentioned above, Iran's stocks of artillery tend heavily toward large caliber towed pieces as
a legacy from the war of attrition that characterized the last stages of the Iran-Iraq war. This manifests
itself in the large number of M-46 guns that make up Iran's inventory. We also see it in the use of tube
artillery like the 122 mm BM-21.

These guns often lacked any advanced fire-control systems, or battery coordination as well as
night-fighting capability. They were often literally just wheeled guns.

In an attempt to remedy this, Iran has followed the ‘North Korea example’ and mounted some
of its towed guns on self-propelled chassis. However, none of these types have ever been observed so
it’s questionable how far this program has progressed.

This pattern is beginning to change however. First is the procurement strategy. We are seeing
emphasis placed on standardized artillery, as shown by the production of 122 mm and 155 mm guns
as well as on revamping their self-propelled artillery stock with the advanced Raad-2 as well as
upgrades for MLRS systems in the form of new HM-20's and the Fajr-family. If this pattern continues,
it will eventually remove the more antiquated systems from use, replacing them with more mobile
and logistically easier-to-manage equipment.
Next is the improvement in networking and battlefield awareness, while before, Iranian
artillery largely relied on radioed orders and within-visual-sight direct and indirect targeting, with the
range determined by how far forward observers could see. Now, artillery battalions have increasing
access to battlefield surveillance radars, UAV's and networked data from other batteries. This is
probably the most significant update as it allows precise fire rather then relying on sheer volume
alone to hit a target

However it would be foolish to assume that they are yet up to the same caliber as their more
advanced neighbors, let alone the United States, if only because of the level of technological disparity.
This has been ameliorated, at least somewhat, by the dispersion of artillery directly into the role of
infantry support. Instead of relying upon traditional communication lines to ensure that artillery
groups are able to provide rapid, pinpoint artillery support when requested, an easier solution has
been adopted. This solution is the dispersion of short range artillery systems directly into the infantry
units, specifically with weapons systems like 107 mm rockets and mortar systems that don't require
constant support by dedicated artillery units. They are simple and numerous enough that they are
able to be widely dispersed across all units. The failure to do this has been one problem the US
military has faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, critical time is lost calling in air or artillery support where a
small, short ranged system like an 81 mm mortar could easily do the job of a LGB or 155 mm shell.

Speaking from a doctrinal level, the preference for static fire might have seem perfect for Iran's
doctrine of a defensive warfare that isn't aimed at quick maneuver which would necessitate self-
propelled guns like the M-109, or at least light-weight towed guns like the D-30. However, it's also
important to note that Iran isn't focused on static defense, but rather favors small mobile forces that
operate within their own borders, so in this sense; large guns like the M-46 don't fit with Iran's
defensive doctrine.

This is why we are seeing the dispersion of small artillery to infantry units; it eliminated the
weak link and encourages autonomous self-reliance. Though of course, it should be emphasized that
it's not known just how much Iran has embraced this reorganization rather then it just being
propaganda being produced.

As with armor, the eventual effectiveness of Iran's conventional artillery strength depends
heavily on just how far the domestic industry can advance and actually produce weapons rather then
just prototypes, meanwhile, an effective, if somewhat add-hoc solution has been adopted as a stop-
gap measure for a very specific type of war Iran is intending to fight.
1.6.4 - Tactical Ballistic Missiles

Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM’s) or theater ballistic missiles fulfill a unique role between
conventional artillery and ballistic missiles. The weapons are designed to be used to support tactical
battlefield objectives by attacking strategic targets like military headquarters and other vital
structures.

Iran has taken this doctrine to heart using the Nazeat, Zelzal and other similar sized missiles for
this very role. Iran views these sorts of tactical ballistic missiles, both guided and unguided, as a
defacto "poor man's air force". They are being deployed, virtually with the assumption that air
supremacy has been lost and so air power cannot be used in the traditional role of attacking enemy
infrastructure such as the number of US bases in the region,.

It should have been no surprise when Khamenei's envoy to the IRGC publicly announced Iran's
ability to hit each "every one of the US's 32 bases in the region", in a not-so-subtle nod to Iran's large
stocks of TBM's (…in addition to their stock of larger BMs).

This specific threat was outlined in a 1999 RAND report which emphasized US airbase
vulnerability to attacks by cruise missile and TBM's. While the report itself is fairly dated, the
principles remain the same. Iran has and is gaining ever more accurate weapon systems and may have
the ability to produce advanced cruise missiles, with a variety of payloads including sub-munitions.
Meanwhile, targets, not just the airbases RAND chose to highlight, are abundant and relatively
vulnerable to attack by non-traditional aerial assault. Several scenarios are specifically outlined,
including missile attacks on 'tent cities' that form the backbone of the infrastructure supporting the US
bases in the Gulf. Other possibilities include attacking airfields and destroying planes on the runway as
a much easier alternative then trying to shoot them down in the air.

Much of Iran's early progress was thanks to Chinese assistance, though after the first few steps,
Iran quickly gained their stride and began producing indigenous designs.

Iran's TBM arsenal falls under the command of both the IRGC and IRIA. They tend to be
organized along what looks like similar lines to Soviet TBM organization; specifically, it appears that
there are 4 TEL's per battalion in addition to support vehicles.
Tactical Ballistic Missile Inventory

Nazeat
Nazeat-6H Nazeat-10H
Configuration: Single stage, solid fuel Single stage, solid fuel
Weight: 960 kg 1830 kg
Length: 6.29 m 8.02 m
Diameter: 356 mm 455 mm
Max Range: 100 km 130 km
Min Range 80 km 110 km
Warhead: 130 kg 230 kg
CEP:* <500 m <650 m
Guidance: none none
* = at maximum range

The Nazeat family of rockets was an attempt by


Iran to develop a FROG-7 equivalent during the 1980's
with considerable help from China. They are sometimes
called “Mushak”, which simply means missile.

The Nazeat system can be mounted on several


platforms, including the 6x6 Mercedes-Benz trucks that
also carry the Fajr-series rockets such as the 2631 series. Nazeat-10H

The rocket itself comes in two


variants, the Nazeat-6H and the Nazeat-
10H. Both are single-stage, solid-fueled
and carry HE warheads, though can be
equipped with a variety of warheads
including sub-munitions or even CBRN
payloads. They are unguided and fin-
stabilized by four rear fins.

One of the more non-standard TEL’s for the Nazeat series


Zelzal

Zelzal-1 Zelzal-1A Zelzal-2 Zelzal-3 Zelzal-3B


Configuration: Single stage, Single stage, Single stage, Single stage, Single stage,
solid fuel solid fuel solid fuel solid fuel solid fuel
Weight: ~2,950 kg ~2,950 kg ~3,450-3,545 kg 4,000 kg 3,600 kg
Length: ~8.3 m ~8.3 m ~8.3-8.46 m 9.58 m 9m
Diameter: ~601 mm ~601 mm ~601 m 616 mm 616 mm
Max Range: ~125-130 km ~160 km ~300 km 200 km 260 km
Min Range: NA NA NA 180 km 235 km
Warhead: ~600 kg ~500 kg ~210 - 600 kg 900-950 kg 600 kg
CEP:* NA NA NA <1000 m <1300 m
Guidance: none none none none none
~ = only information available, but the source is Global-Security which is very unreliable so it is best to take it with a very large grain of
salt
* = at maximum range

The Zelzal family of rockets is another development of the attempt to build a FROG-7
equivalent. It is a later development then the Nazeat and is considerably larger. The project was
started in the early nineties, though it is
unclear in exactly what year. They are
sometimes called “Mushak”, which simply
means missile.

The launch platform is the same as


the Nazeat, a 6x6 Mercedes-Benz truck with
elevating launch ramp. Though now, the
Mercedes 2631 trucks are becoming more
common (foreground, pictured right).
Though rarely used, the Zelzal is also able to
be launched from the ZIL 8x8 TEL used with
the FROG-7 system. Most recently,
Zelzals during an exercise, showing both kinds of launch vehicles
specifically, September 2009, a new used
configuration was tested, mounting three
missiles on a single static launch ramp. The fact that it is static is surprising given that mobility is often
seen as one of the key attributes of the system. One explanation for this is that the static launch is just
for testing, this is backed up by early pictures of the Fateh-110 (separate entry) being tested on a
similar static mount.

The rocket is considerably larger then the Nazeat and comes in several versions, the Zelzal-
1/1A/2/3/3B. The most commonly seen is the -3/3B with the earlier versions becoming harder to spot.
The Zelzal-1 is then shortest of all the variants, has a bullet shaped nose and lacks the distinctive spin
stabilization nozzles of the later models. The Zelzal-2 also has a bullet nose and appears extremely
similar to the Zelzal-1. However, it features the
spin stabilization nozzles just below the warhead.
The Zelzal-3 and -3B both have conical warheads,
the latter with a smaller warhead that begins to
taper off almost immediately after the
stabilization nozzles.

The Zelzal-2 is often seen in conjunction


with the Zelzal-3 TEL (which is labeled as such)
which has led to confusion over the identity of the
Zelzal-2 and 3. Pictured lower right.

All variants are single-stage, solid fueled, unguided


and fin stabilized by four rear non-moving fins.
They are also spin stabilized by jets just below the
warhead which fire at launch giving it a distinctive
profile. They are usually equipped with unitary HE
warheads, though can be equipped with sub-
munitions or CBRN payloads.

Supposedly, production halted or at least slowed


down in 2001. This may or may not be true, it is
also possible that it only referenced a specific
generation of Zelzal, for instance, phasing out the
Zelzal-2 in favor of the Zelzal-3, something that
appears to have happened. At any rate, if it was
true that the Zelzal program was at one time canceled, it appears to have been revived following the
renewed focus on asymmetrical deterrent
weapons like TBM's. Or maybe, the stocks are Zelzal-3 firing its spin-stabilization jets during wargames in Fall
just so large that, while production has in fact 2009.
stopped, they are still maintained as keystone
part of the strategy. The possibilities are near
endless with one guess nearly as good as
another at this point.

Some have claimed that the latest


versions of the Zelzal have inertial and
terminal guidance. The fin configuration
however rules this out. This may be a
reference to the Fateh-110.

The difficulty in identifying Zelzals - Note that the label on the


TEL says it's a Zelzal-3, but that is only in reference to the TEL,
the missile is actually a Zelzal-2. Source: Internet / Military.ir
Fateh-110

Fateh-110 Fateh-110A Fateh-110 block 3*


Configuration: Single stage, solid fuel NA Single stage, solid fuel
Weight: 3,620 kg NA NA**
Length: 8.76 m NA NA**
Diameter: 616 mm NA NA**
Max Range: 250 km NA 300 km
Min Range: 150 km NA NA
Warhead: 450 kg NA NA
CEP: 750 m NA NA
Guidance: INS + ?? NA INS+??
NA = Unknown or not applicable
* = actual designation unknown
** = Unknown, but can presumed to be equal to original model.

The Fateh-110 is a refined TBM, being a guided missile rather then a rocket like the Zelzal or
Nazeat. The system emerged in May 2001 with full-scale production beginning at the earliest in late-
2002 or 2003. There are three versions, the -110, and the -110A, and a yet unnamed third generation
that was unveiled in August 2010. The program is likely directly connected with the Zelzal program as
the basic dimensions between the two are nearly the same.

Some have asserted that it is a copy of the Chinese DF-11, but the dimensions of the two
missiles make this unlikely. While the two share battlefield roles and it is plausible that the China used
their experience with the DF-11 to lend assistance to Iran, there exists no concrete connection
between the two projects that is apparent.

The Fateh-110(A) is mounted on a 6x6 truck similar to the Zelzal and Nazeat, though the TEL
mechanism more closely resembles the SA-2 or Tondar-69 TBM (see below). Recently the missile was
shown mounted on the exact same TEL as that associated with the Zelzal (1st picture under the Zelzal
entry)

The missile is externally


very similar to the Zelzal, both are
single-stage solid-fueled designs of
the same size. Though there are
several differences. First is the
warhead, unlike the symmetrical
warheads on the Zelzal or Nazeat,
the Fateh-110(A)'s nose narrows
sharply at the top. The next major
difference is the configuration of
the fins. The Fateh-110(A) features

Close up of the guidance and control unit of the 3rd generation Fateh-110
during it's delivery to the IRGC in September 2010
a set of four movable control surfaces mounted on the guidance unit just below the warhead, in
addition to this there are four non-moving stabilizing fins at the rear of the missile with another set of
four smaller static fins located just fore of the
rear set.

The difference between the -110 and


the 110A is unknown, though if the pattern of
other TBM's is any indication, it relates to the
size of the warhead and the corresponding
range of the missile.

The third generation is also externally


identical to the -110 though, according to DM Gimballed gyro of the 3rd generation Fateh-110 shown in August
Vahidi, it features improved accuracy and the 2010
ability to perform evasive maneuvers against
ABM systems. This announcement was accompanied by a video of the impact from testing, a rarity
among Iranian missile announcements; this lends at least some credence to the claim of improved
accuracy. However this is by no means definitive. Video evidence suggests the missile uses a gimbaled
gyro, most likely mechanical, for the INS guidance. The third generation is in production, with the first
batch being delivered to the IRGC in time to coincide with Sacred Defense Week 2010. Later, during
the same week, Fars News announced that the missile had a range of 300 km.

Some sources have claimed a combination of inertial and GPS guidance, however this is
unconfirmed. Other sources have claimed EO terminal guidance, but this is not supported by the
missiles appearance. Its poor CEP is attributable to its small control surfaces; instead of having regular
jet vanes at the rear of the missile. The warhead may separate from the missile body in the terminal
phase.
Tondar-69

Tondar-69/CSS-8
Configuration: 2 stage, solid and/or liquid
fuel
Weight: 2,650 kg
Length: 10.8 m
Diameter: 1.00 m
Max Range: 150 km
Min Range: 50 km
Warhead: 190 or 250 kg unitary,
submunition warhead
CEP: Unknown
Tondar-69 on exercise - Fall 2009
Guidance: INS
NA = Unknown

The Tondar-69 is a conversion of the HQ-2 SAM to a guided surface-to-surface missile like the
Fateh-110. The missile is likely a domestic production of the Chinese CSS-8 which is an HQ-2 adapted
for the same role.

The system is mounted on a static launcher like the HY-2, though can probably be easily towed
and a self-propelled platform like a 6x6 truck is not out of the question given the mounting of missiles
like the Fateh-110. Some sources indicate that the liquid-fueled 2nd stage has been replaced with solid
fuel, but this is unconfirmed.

Some sources list the CEP as ranging from 50 m – 150 m, while this is possible, there is no
conclusive evidence. Moreover, such a small CEP is significantly better then that found on the Fateh-
110 which should be assumed to use a comparable system because they’re roughly of the same
generation and if the Tondar-69 carried a much more effective INS, it would logically find it’s way into
the Fateh-110.
Analysis

Iran's TBM's are among the first lines of defense against the US or even a hostile neighbor.
They are intended to provide long-range strike capability against strategic enemy bases primarily
within the Persian Gulf region. They would be used, both to degrade the operational capacity of any
enemy attacking them, as well as to inflict political wounds designed to win the conflict at a meta-level
rather then change the "facts on the ground". The ultimate success of both strategies depends on
several factors. First among them is the targeting capability and actual accuracy of the missiles, second
is the damage potential, what threat the missiles actually pose if they can hit their target. Third is their
capability to maintain a sustained campaign, and lastly we'll explore the deterrent value of such
systems compared to their actual combat capability and what the implications are for their use.

First is the accuracy and targeting capability of the TBM systems. TBMs, particularly those
modeled on eastern-bloc weapons like the FROG missiles, have a reputation for being notoriously
inaccurate, and to be fair, this reputation is well-deserved. Missiles like the Nazeat and Zelzal, which
are roughly comparable to the FROG, have a CEP of 500-1000 m. This means that, at their maximum
range, 50% of all rounds fired land within 500-1000 m of the intended target, not a great rate. The
chances are somewhat improved in this specific example however because the vast majority of the
targets (US bases, airfields, economic targets) are very large, so that even a near miss is often as good
as a hit. Also, because the targets are static and well known they have maximum time to properly
practice setting up and laying the TEL without having to do in-field calculations or adjustments. That
being said, with unguided rockets, they are subject to all sorts of climactic and environmental
influences that can be as minor as humidity and wind speed that can effect their path and cannot be
planned for up until the second one is ready to launch.

More modern, guided missiles like the Fateh-110 offer the improvement of being able to adjust
their course mid-flight. The current navigational system in use is a combination INS and possibly GPS
system that works by using accelerometers to determine the missiles location along a preplanned
route, the disadvantage to this compared to GPS is that it doesn't account for unpredictable changes in
flight, like the slight variances that happen with every batch of fuel, or the changing temperature on a
specific day, and because these changes build-up over the course of the flight, the overall accuracy is
inversely proportional to the distance traveled. Of course, even with the most advanced GPS guidance
system, it's still largely dependent on the actual manufacturing process and the tolerances of the
missiles which can degrade accuracy significantly.

The next major factor, should the missile be able to hit the target, is the kind of damage it
does. The unitary HE warheads that so often are used are inefficient. One easy way to remedy this
would be through the use of sub-munitions such as cluster bomblets released at a predetermined
height which can cover a much larger area. This begs the question, does Iran even use sub-munitions?
Iran is known to operate and manufacture a variety of sub-munitions for it's MLRS systems including
anti-personnel, anti-vehicle as well as dual-purpose munitions (DPICM's). Also, it is not altogether
unreasonable to assume that a robust defense industry such as Iran's, especially, one that has invested
so much in advancing the use of ballistic missiles wouldn't have substantial stocks of them. We have
also seen the use of sub-munitions with larger missiles such as on the latest versions of the Shahab-3.
So all-in-all, it is very likely that Iran would use sub-munition bomblets in any attack using TBM's,
though it would be unlikely it would to be the exclusion of unitary warheads.
The actual damage caused by the missiles assuming an even mix of unitary and cluster
warheads were used could be large. Many of the bases that make up the US presence in the Persian
Gulf are comprised of unarmored office buildings, barracks, even tent cities. Meanwhile, planes,
another potential target, are more often then not just parked on the tarmac, lacking hardened
shelters. Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of the buildings remain unprotected. Not only could
warheads deal massive damage to buildings, but the use of cluster munitions would be powerful area
denial weapons, unexploded ordinance, or even purposefully laid mine-bomblets could make cleanup
efforts slow and dangerous. Aircraft on a tarmac or taxiway could be damaged and rendered
inoperable by small bomblets or even shrapnel. Meanwhile, attacks on runways, while improbable
that they could ever fully destroy the runway could reduce the combat potential by littering them with
debris and craters that would require cleanup and repair.

But this begs the question, is Iran capable of keeping up a sustained campaign of attacks on
bases in the Gulf (and Afghanistan to a smaller degree)? The US's experience with the closest
analogue, SCUD hunting missions in Operation Desert Storm says no, US airpower proved incapable of
reliably destroying SCUDS and were only saved by the poor quality of Iraqi weapons and training. But
then again, US technology has advanced exponentially since 1991. For instance, the US now deploys
fleets of UAVs and IMINT/SIGINT resources whose sole purpose would be loitering above the
battleground to detect rocket launches. But to be fair, the Iranians today aren't comparable to the
Iraqis of 1991. The Iraqis relied on large, cumbersome, liquid-fueled SCUDs who were much harder to
hide, produced a larger firing signature, and had a much longer response time, compared to Irans TELs
which are barely distinguishable from normal trucks. Iranian geography is far more varied then the flat
Iraqi dessert, the prime launching zones for strikes against US Gulf bases are right smack dab in a
mountains and valleys where it is significantly easier to conceal a launch, to say nothing of the
increase in sheer size of the potential battle-area involved. The bottom line in this equation is that it's
simply to hard to tell at this juncture, there are too many unknowns and variables that could go either
way, it just depends on how each side conducts themselves in a war, it is entirely possible for the US to
use their superior technology to hunt down and destroy TELs effortlessly, but Iran could also make the
job much harder, or even downright impossible if they operate proficiently.

However, one of the most powerful impacts of these missiles has remained unmentioned –
deterrence power. These missiles exist not just as a warfighting weapon, but also as a powerful
deterrent because it holds the threat of the ability to inflict large casualties and monetary loss on a
military that hasn't felt large, single-incident casualties since the Vietnam War. Iran knows this; they
are well aware that this threat places pressure on US policymakers and top brass to not put their bases
in such a situation where this could happen. The USAF might be able to successfully hunt down all the
TBM TELs, or use their new missile-defense shields to protect themselves, but what if they can’t? Iran
is betting they won't take that risk.

This brings up an interesting problem - will Iran risk attacking US bases when they know a
misplaced missile (a real possibility given the CEPs of the missiles) in an Arab urban neighborhood
could turn the Arab-Muslim community, if not the entire world, against Iran, even drawing countries
into a war they would otherwise be spectators of. In this scenario it remains in Iran's best interests to
maintain the threat as a deterrent only, and not actually use it in battle.

A case study examining the potential real-world implications of this theory with regard to a
potential US-Iran conflict can be found early on in the “The war with Iran” section.

1.6.5 – Inventory – Arms and Equipment

1.6.5.1 – Inventory - Arms and Equipment – Small Arms

Small Arms - Pistols

PC-9
PC-9
Cartridge: 9x19 mm
Length: 196 mm
Weight: 845 g
Muzzle Velocity: 335 m/s
Effective Range: 50 m
Magazine: 15 round

Iran's main service pistol, the PC-9 is a copy of


the Sig Sauer P226. The gun competed with and
eventually lost out to Beretta to provide the US's main
service pistol. It has a reputation for accuracy, reliability
and ease of use. The pistol is in service with the IRIP
and all military branches.

Besides the PC-9, a small number of other


handguns are in service with special units. For instance,
bodyguards for high-level officials often use revolvers.
Small Arms - Submachine-guns

MPT-9 Uzi PM-12S


Cartridge: 9x19 mm 9x19 mm 9x19 mm
Length: MPT-9: 670 mm (500 mm 640 mm (470 mm 660mm (418 mm closed)
closed), MPT-9S: 690 mm, closed)
MPT-9K: 325 mm
Weight: MPT-9: 3.08 kg, MPT-9S: 2.54 3.5 kg 3.2 kg
kg, MPT-9K: 2.2 kg
Muzzle Velocity: MPT-9/9S: 400 m/s, MPT-9K: 390 m/s NA
375 m/s
Effective Range: MPT-9/9S: 100 m, MPT-9K: 25 100 m 150 m-200 m
m
Magazine: 30 round 20-50 round 20-32-40 round

MP-5
The MP-5 is one of the most well known submachine
guns in the world and serves within the Iranian military in the
IRIA, IRIN, IRGCGF and the IRIP.

The MP-5 is essentially a scaled-down G3 battle rifle. Iran


produces the MP-5 domestically under the name MPT-9. The
basic model features a collapsible stock, while the MPT-9S has a
Soldiers from the 65th airborne brigade with fixed stock. Iran also produces the MPT-9K, the compact SMG
MPT-9's variety complete with a folding stock.

The MP-5 and variants in use by IRIP forces are used mostly in cities and CT units as border patrol units
mostly carry AK-47's. It is also in service with IRIA units such as the 65th airborne brigade, certain
naval marine units, and rare IRGC units.

Uzi
An Israeli submachine-gun, it has largely been replaced by
the MPT-9, but still is used by select units such within the 65th
airborne and some naval marines. One unique feature on pre-
revolution Iranian Uzi's is a lion and crown imprinted on the rear
of the gun as well as a stamped "IMI" and Persian lettering above
the grip.

Naval marines practicing a hostage-


rescue operation with Uzi SMG's
PM-12
An Italian submachinegun manufactured by Beretta, the
PM-12 is used by police forces throughout Europe. In Iranian
service, the PM-12S is used by IRGC security forces, police, and
some special forces.

Basij, or IRGCGF soldiers, on parade


during Sacred Defense Week 2009
Small Arms - Assault Rifles

AK-47/KL-7 Sayyad 5.56 G3 Khaybar


Cartridge: 7.62x39 5.56x45 mm 7.62x51 mm 5.56x45 mm
Length: KLS: 890 mm, KLF: 895 986 mm G3A3: 1,025 mm, G3A4: Short: 680 mm, Middle:
mm (655 folded), KLT: 1,025 mm (collapsed: 840 730 mm, Long: 780 mm
895 mm (690 folded) mm)

Weight: KLS: 3.57 kg, KLS: 3.80 kg, 3.2 kg G3A3: 4.4 kg, G3A4: 4.7 3.7 kg
KLT: 3.60 kg kg

Muzzle Velocity: 715 m/s 990 m/s 800 m/s 900-950 m/s
Max Range: 2,000 m 2,653 m NA 2,500 m
Effective Range: 300 m 460 m 400 m 450 m
ROF: 600 rnd/min 700-950 rnd/min 500-600 rnd/min 800-850
Magazine: 30 round 20 or 30 round 20 round 20 or 30 round
detachable detachable detachable detachable

AK-47/KL-7
The KL-7 is an Iranian copy of the Chinese Type 56 assault rifle that, like
the AK-47 it was based on, emphasizes rugged simplicity and power.

Both the Type 56 and the KL-7 are distinguishable from conventional
AK-47 designs in that they have a hooded front sight. KL-7’s are
distinguishable from Type 56’s in that they have ribbed receiver covers.

The KL-7 comes in 3 varieties, the fixed stock KLS, the KLF with an
KLS (top) and KLF (bottom) under-folding metal stock and the KLT, with a sideways folding stock. All
varieties either have the original wood hand-guard, and if fixed stock, a
wooden butt-stock, or in same cases, synthetic furniture. Iran also maintains large stocks of other AK-
47 variants acquired over the years. Occasionally one is seen with an M203-styled under-slung
grenade launcher.

G3
The G3 is the main battle rifle of the IRIA. It is somewhat an
anomaly in modern infantry combat as it is a powerful weapon designed
for long range combat but with a small ammunition capacity.

Iran domestically manufactures the G3 with either a fixed stock


(G3-A3), or a retractable stock (G3-A4). They are recognizable by olive-
green synthetic furniture. A lighter bull-pup model exists, however it
appears to have remained a prototype. The same UGL mentioned above
is also used on the G3.

Fixed-stock G3's straight off the


production line
Sayyad 5.56
The S.5.56 is a licensed copy of the Chinese
CQ rifle, itself a copy of the M-16A1. It is in service
with elite units within the IRGC.

It is a 5.56x45 mm weapon based on the


M-16A1 with a 20 or 30 round box magazine and
two types of rifling that will accept NATO or
Chinese rounds depending on the barrel. Visually
it's distinguished from the M-16 family by a
unique revolver type pistol grip and cylindrical
hand guard.

Khaybar KH-2002
The KH-2002, or Sama as the newer version is called, is an
indigenous Iranian rifle first unveiled in 2004 designed to
be a lightweight replacement for the G3 as the main rifle of
the Iranian military. It is a bull-pup conversion of the S.5.56
rifle already manufactured by Iran.

Like the S.5.56 it has the same direct impingement action


1st generation KH-2002 of the M-16A1. It uses both 20 and 30 round magazines.
The rifle has a four-position fire-select lever near the rear
of the rifle, enabling, single, burst or automatic fire, with the charging handle below the carrying
handle. Two different styles of carrying handles exist in the KH-2002 (excluding the later Sama).The
first having a CQ-like carrying handle with a separate forward sight assembly (pictured above). The
second has a carrying handle that contains rear and forward sights and is more similar to the FAMAS.

There are three lengths determined by barrel


size, a 730 mm rifle, a 680 mm carbine and a 780 mm
marksmans rifle. The rifle can mount a bayonet, bipod
or a variety of optics.

The 2nd generation of the rifle, the Sama has a


few key differences, first is a cosmetic change to
charging handle, second is the mounting of several
tactical rails on the forward section of the gun. There is
also a wind adjustment knob on the rear sight. On the
front of the trigger guard, they have added a forward The 2nd generation of the rifle - the Sama
hand support. As with the first model, there are two
different types of forward sights, the first type maintains the FAMAS-style with both sights integrated,
the second has a forward sight mounted directly to the barrel (pictured).

So far, the rifle has not made any headway into replacing the G3, but it has been deployed with
at least one special forces unit, possibly IRGC or a commando unit, probably only for testing. The fact
that it has not been deployed widely is evidence of the fact that the rifle was not found to be
satisfactory, a fact backed up by low esteem most gun experts have of it.

Small Arms - Machine-guns

MG 3 PKM DShK Akhgar


Cartridge: 7.62x51 mm 7.62x54 12.7x108 mm 7.62x51 mm
Length: 1.22 m 1.19 m 1.59 m NA
Weight: 10.5 kg 7.90 kg 32.32 kkg NA
Muzzle Velocity: 820 m/s 825 m/s 800 m/s NA
Effective Range: 800 m 1500 m 3,300 m 2000 km
Max Range: 4000 m 3800 m 7,000 m NA
ROF: 1000-1300 rnd/min 650 rnd/min 600 rnd/min 4000-6000
rnd/min
Feed: belt Belt or drum belt belt
NA = Unknown or not applicable

MG 3
A descendant of the venerable German MG 42 from
WWII, which gives it its distinctive shape; the MG3 is the
primary general-purpose-machine-gun in the IRIA. The MG 3 is
domestically produced in Iran, both conventionally with a
bipod as well as with a larger tripod mount.

PK Machine-gun IRIA MG3 on parade


The PKM is a Soviet general purpose machine-gun that
supplements the MG3 within the IRIA serves as the primary
machine-gun for the IRGCGF and IRIP. The PKM is license
produced in Iran under the name PKM T-80.

It fires the 7.62x54 mm round fed from either a belt or drum. It


has a distinctive skeleton stock and fluted barrel with a long flash
suppressor making it easy to identify.
A PKM being used during an IRIA exercise
in June 2009

The gun is frequently mount on light vehicles such as light trucks. The electrically operated
PKMT is also used on heavier armored vehicles as a secondary weapon.
DShK
The Soviet DShK (nicknamed Dushka) is an
anti-aircraft machine-gun that is now mostly used as
heavy infantry machine-gun. The DShk is license
produced in Iran.

It fires the 12.7x108 mm round in automatic-


only fire from a belt. It features dual spade grips in
the rear and a distinctive somewhat-circular muzzle
brake.

The DShK is the standard vehicle armament


today, replacing all original Browning .50 in service. It
DShK in use by the 88th AD commando unit.
is used on light skinned vehicles like the Safir and
Land Cruiser as well as heavier armored personnel carriers and tanks.

Akhgar
The Akhgar is an Iranian minigun roughly equivalent to
the GAU-2/M134. The weapon likely traces it’s origins
to the miniguns used by the IIAA and IRIAA on their
helicopters. The weapon has only been recently shown
mounted on the ‘Ranger’ light tactical vehicle (pictured
lower-left), though can also probably be mounted on
helicopter platforms as well.

It was only recently displayed during Sacred Defense


Week 2010.
Small Arms - Sniper Rifles

SVD HS .50 W-03


Cartridge: 7.62x54 mm 12.7x99 12.7x 'XX' mm
Length: 1225 mm 1370 mm NA
Weight: 4.30 kg 12.4 kg 112 kg
Muzzle Velocity: 830 m/s NA NA
Effective Range: 600 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Magazine: 10 round detachable None Unknown
magazine
NA = Unknown

SVD
A designated marksman rifle the SVD is lightweight,
rugged design visually similar to the AK-47. It fires the
7.62x54

Iran manufactures the SVD domestically under the


name Nakhjir with the original wooden furniture as well as
with synthetic hand-guards as well as with a full synthetic
SVD example partially equipped with synthetic
stock. hand guards

Steyr HS .50/Sayyad-2
The Steyr HS .50, produced domestically under the name
Sayyad-2, is a single shot anti-material sniper rifle used by
the IRGCGF.

Steyr generated considerable controversy when Iran bought


800 of them under the auspices of combating the drug
trade; however fear persisted that they would be funneled
Sayyad-2 on display to the Iraqi insurgency, a fear which ultimately proved
unfounded.

The original HS .50 and the Iranian Sayyad-2 are differentiated by their pistol grip. The Sayyad-2
has the revolver type grip that is found on the S.5.56 assault rifle.

W-03
A relative mystery, even in Chinese service, the 12.7 mm bullpup sniper rifle has only been seen once
on static display.
Unknown
This rifle was observed in an undated video segment from
Sepah News. This weapon may not have entered widespread
service

The unnamed rifle is a bullpup-configuration sniper rifle


chambered in an unknown, probably large caliber, round judging
by the magazine size. Other features include a bipod and a large
muzzle brake.

Unknown AMR
Observed in the same video as the unknown rifle
above, this anti-material rifle’s actual designation is also
unknown. It features a large muzzle brake and a bipod
mount located directly on the barrel. It also is a bull-pup
design with the shoulder-rest being mounted below the
barrel, being the trigger unit. The weapon is single shot,
though it is of an unknown caliber, probably 14.5 mm or
up. This weapon may not have entered widespread
service.
1.6.5.2 – Other Infantry Support Weapons

Mark 19 AGL
IR-19*
Cartridge: 40x53 mm
Length: 1.09 m
Weight: 35.3 kg
Effective Range: 1500 m
Max Range: 2200 m
ROF: 300-400 r/m
Feed: Belt
* = assuming equivalent to Mk. 19 mod 3. Also, the
designation “IR-19” is purely provisional in the same way Great Prophet 5 Wargames - 2010
Iran's long ranged SAM is often called the IR-300.

Iran operates an automatic grenade launcher that is similar to the US-made Mark 19 Mod 3,
but has enough differences to warrant a separate classification. One likely explanation for this, due to
their first being seen in the 2008-2009 timeframe, is that they were reverse engineered from models
smuggled in from Iraq. Since then it has been in use by select IRGC units

The minor differences between the actual mk 19 and this copy include the copy feeding from
the right rather then the left as well as the trigger unit which features horizontal spade grips like on
the AGS-17 in addition to the vertical grips found on the mk 19; the trigger is also located below the
weapon safety and is no longer of a butter-fly design. However, overall, these are minor changes when
compared to the overall similarities between the two weapons.

The mk 19 fires 40 mm grenades out to an effective range of 1,300 m and in Iranian service has
been seen mounted on fast attack vehicles and man-portable tripods.
2A42 Autocannon

2A42 HEI APT


Caliber: 30 mm Caliber: 30 mm 30 mm
Weight: 115 kg Weight: .83 kg .85 kg
Length: 3.0 m Length: .14 m .14 m
ROF: 300-600 r/m Muzzle Velocity: 960 m/s 970 m/s
Effective Range: 1,500-3000 m 1,500-3000 m
Max Range: NA NA
NA = unknown or not applicable

While originally mounted on Iran's BMP-


2’s, the 30 mm 2A42 autocannon has recently
been seen being used on soft-skinned vehicles in
the same manner as a DShK or mk 19. Two
versions at least exist, both mounted in the bed
of ¾ tonne-class vehicles. One, observed during
the Great Prophet 5 wargames in 2010 (pictured
left) is manually operated and in essence is very
similar to the 20mm GAM-BO1 the IRIN operates
The second version appears to be automated in
some manner (pictured bottom left).
Great Prophet 5 Wargames

Unknown time period, likely recent


1.6.5.3 - Infantry Support Weapons - Anti-Tank

Anti-tank weapons, are another category of weapons that epitomizes Iran's preference for
weapons that serve as a foil to an enemies strength. The theory is, why invest in a tank when you can
just use an anti-tank missile that does the job just as well. While this isn't entirely true (for instance,
an ATGM can't hold ground like a tank can), it represents an interesting tactical and strategic choice.
Because of this, we see light AT weapons like RPG's and recoilless rifles being deployed at a rate within
infantry units that is rare in modern armies. We also see investment in heavier weapons like the latest
generation of Toofan missiles as well as investment in deploying them in innovative manner, such as
using para-gliders to transport anti-tank teams. While Iran might not have the best AT weaponry
available on the world today, they certainly have good equipment. Warheads are getting bigger and
better, and daylight-only sights are being replaced by 3rd generation thermal imaging sights.

RPG-7

Launcher:
RPG-7 RPG-7 Commando RPG-7 - Breakdown
Caliber: 40 mm 40 mm 40 mm
Weight: 6.6 kg 5.28 NA
Length: 95 cm 73.8 cm NA

Warhead:
Nader/Fath Nafez/Optimized Fath Tandem Saeqeh/Fath 1
Caliber 80-85 mm 93 mm* 80-85 mm 40 mm**
Warhead: RDX HEAT HMX HEAT Tandem RDX HEAT RDX HE-FRAG
Weight: 2.4 kg 2.65 kg 2.6 kg 1.4 kg
Length: 90 cm 101 cm 115 cm 31 mm
Penetration: 270-300 mm 500 mm 270- 300 mm + ERA NA
Lethal Radius NA NA NA 7 m***
Velocity: 300 m/s 120 m/s 300 m/s 150 m/s
Effective Range: 400 m 500 m 300 m 180 m
* - Assuming equivalent to PG-7VL
** - Assuming equivalent to OG-7V
NA – Unknown/Not Applicable
The RPG is a light-weight shoulder-fired ant-tank weapon
designed for use against lightly armored targets. In Iranian
service it also functions as a squad support weapon.

Iran manufactures the RPG-7 domestically, albeit with a few


changes; wooden furniture has been replaced by synthetic;
three sizes are produced, a standard version with a grip behind
the trigger unit. The second, shorter 'commando' version, has
its secondary grip in front of the trigger unit, the third type, for
Two types Iran's RPG launchers airborne troops has a break-down barrel, similar to the RPG-
7D. Also available, though probably still only in prototype development, is an under-slung launcher
that can be mounted onto assault rifles much like a grenade launcher. Iran also offers a new optical
sight, the Jooya-7.

Iran also produces different types of PG-7 rocket's.

Nader / Basic Fath : Roughly equivalent to the basic PG-


7V HEAT warhead produced under the name Fath or
Nader which are distinguished by having a more curved
Nader / Fath
body and the lack of a separate contact fuse on the tip
of the rocket. However, both can be assumed to be roughly
equivalent to each other.

Nafez /Optimized Fath: Roughly equivalent to the PG-7VL,


Nafez / Optimized Fath
the Nafez, or optimized Fath, feature a larger warhead and
a more triangular profile.

Saeqeh/Fath-1: Anti-personnel fragmentation rocket similar to


but smaller then the OG-7V
Saeqeh

Tandem Warhead Rocket: Surprisingly, without an


actual domestic name, the tandem warhead is
based on the Nader platform but with a 30 mm
precursor warhead to defeat ERA.
Tandem-warhead

An Israeli official inspects a tandem-


warhead rocket recovered from the
Karine-A, a vessel used by the
Iranians to smuggle arms to the
Palestinians.
RPG-18
RPG-18
Caliber: 64 mm
Weight: 2.6 kg
Length: .70 m (1.05 m extended)

Penetration: 375 mm RHA


Muzzle Velocity: 115 m/s
A poor quality image showing a soldier from
Effective Range: 200 m the Basij 106th battalion using a single shot
disposable AT weapon that is possibly the
RPG-18

The RPG-18 is a single-shot, disposable light-AT


weapon similar to the US LAW, it is not usually
associated with being in Iran's inventory, however at
least two pictures exists of them being used by IRGC
soldiers as well as their presence on the Karine-A.

An Israeli official inspects an RPG-18 recovered


from the Karine-A, a vessel used by the Iranians
to smuggle arms to the Palestinians.

RPG-29
Another rumored weapon in Iranian service. The possibility of an Iranian RPG-29 generated
considerable controversy when it was alleged Iraqi insurgents were using them. However, they were
never traced back to Iran, but to Syria and other suppliers. Second is that the weapon is not among
any of Iran's officially recorded arms deals from Russia, something that's generally well reported in
recent years, but this alone is not definitive enough as there are several weapons systems that Iran
operates that don't show up on official transfer lists. Iran has also never publicly displayed the RPG-29,
but again, this isn't definitive proof. But as with the KH-55, it cant be forgotten that a large portion of
Iran's strategy is in deception and focuses around just creating the fear that they have the weapon.
Recoilless Rifles
SPG-9 M-40 PFF HE M344A1 HEAT Zafar
Caliber: 73 mm 105 mm Caliber 105 mm 105 mm 73 mm
Weight: 47.5 kg 209.5 kg Type: HE HEAT HEAT
Length: 2.11 m 3.40 m Weight: 9.89 kg 7.96 kg 4.39 kg
Width: .99 m NA Length: NA .99 m NA
Height: .80 m 1.12 m Penetration: NA >400 mm RHA 350 mm RHA
Elevation: -3 - 7 -17 - 65
Traverse: 30 360
ROF: 6 rnd/min 1 rnd/min
Muzzle Velocity: 250-400 m/s 503 m/s
Effective Range: 800 m 1,350 m
NA = unknown or not applicable

Recoilless rifles, both the SPG-9 and the M-


40, provide anti-tank capability and tank-equivalent
fire power to small infantry units. While they have
largely been supplanted by ATGM's, they still persist
in service because they are simple and cheap to
both manufacture and maintain ensuring a far
greater rate of deployment then guided-missiles.

SPG-9
The 73 mm SPG-9 is a small, man-portable
system that fires a HEAT or FRAG-HE warhead in
much the same manner as the RPG-7. The SPG-9 is SPG-9 cutaway on display at a DIO expo
used both as a vehicle mounted weapon as well as
a by dismounted infantry.

M-40
The US-designed 106 mm M-40 is technically a 105 mm
gun, but is referred to as 106 mm. It fires both HEAT
and HE rounds. The M-40 is most commonly mounted
on vehicles or on a wheeled frame (pictured left).

M-40 on the factory floor


TOW/Toofan

Toofan-1 Toofan-2 Toofan-5 Qaem


Weight: 18.5 kg 19.1 kg ~19.1 kg* NA
Length: 1.16 m 1.45 m ~1.51 m* NA
Diameter: 150 mm 150 mm 150 mm 150 mm
Wingspan: .45 m .45 m .45 m .45 m
Warhead: 3.6 kg HEAT 4.1 kg HEAT** ~5.9 kg HEAT* NA
Penetration 550 mm RHA 760 mm RHA** ~900 mm RHA* NA
:
Eff. Range: 3,500 m 3,500 m NA NA
Max Speed: 310 m/s 310 m/s NA NA
ROF: 2-3 rnd/min 2-3 rnd/min 2-3 rnd/min 2-3 rnd/min
Guidance: Wire-guided Wire-guided Beam-riding / Beam-riding /
SACLOS SACLOS Wire-guided wire-guided
SACLOS SACLOS
* - assuming similar performance to the TOW-2A
** - see text
NA = Unknown or not applicable

The BGM-71 TOW is one of the primary ATGM's of the


IRIGF and multiple versions are produced
domestically under the name Toofan.

The TOW and the Toofan-1/2 are wire-guided SACLOS


missiles with a variety of warheads. Due to it's large
size, it is barely man-portable and is most often seen
mounted on vehicle platforms such as the M113 APC,
Safir tactical vehicle and AH-1 attack helicopter. The
launchers have night-vision that is effective out to
2,500 m. The Toofan-1/2 is interchangeable with
conventional TOW systems.
From left to right, Toofan-2, Toofan-1, Toofan-1, and and
modified Toofan-2 The Toofan-1 is modeled after the Basic TOW. The
Toofan-2 is modeled after the BGM-71C. It has two versions, the first is a copy of the basic TOW with a
nose probe (pictured far-left above). The second model (pictured far right above) has a larger 4.1 kg
warhead in addition to the nose probe. Basic TOW's and Toofan-1's can be upgraded to either
designation by replacing the warhead.
The Toofan-5 on the other hand is not a copy
of any previous TOW versions. Unlike previous
versions of the Toofan, it may use wire guidance in
conjunction with laser (probably beam-riding)
guidance. The missile itself resembles the TOW-2A,
the nose probe indicating it does not have the top-
down attack capability of the TOW-2B. It also features
an extra set of 4 short control surfaces rear of the
warhead.

Presumably, one of the reasons that beam- Toofan-5: note the canards and the nose probe
riding has been adopted in conjunction with wire
guidance is to support the use of the Qaem SAM. The Qaem is a modified Toofan that features a
second flight motor located just forward of the first, increasing the maximum speed and range. It
should be noted that this system is not designed to replace MANPADS like the SA-”X” but supplement
them for self defense against slow-flying helicopters.

The TOW/Toofan continues to serve as Iran's primary ATGM, and given the production history
compared other ATGM's appears to be the path Iran is choosing to pursue.
AT-3 / Raad
AT-3 / Raad Raad-T I-Raad I-Raad-T
Weight: 10.9 kg NA 10.9 kg NA
Length: .83 m .98 m .83 m .98 m
Diameter: 120 mm 120 mm 120 mm 120 mm
Wingspan: NA NA NA NA
Warhead: HEAT HEAT HEAT HEAT
Penetration: NA 400 mm RHA 500 mm RHA 400 mm RHA
Max Range: 3,000 m 3,000 m 3,000 m 3,000 m
Max Speed: 120 m/s 120 m/s 120 m/s 120 m/s
Guidance: Wire-guided Wire-guided Wire-guided Wire-guided
MCLOS MCLOS SACLOS SACLOS

The AT-3 gained notoriety as the first mass-produced man-portable ATGM. In Iranian service, it
has received upgrades through the Raad and I-Raad program.

The AT-3 is a wire-guided MCLOS ATGM with a HEAT warhead. Unlike many other ATGM's, the
missile is fired from a separate launch platform then the guidance unit. The AT-3 is largely ineffective
against modern MBT's compared to other systems and its MCLOS guidance is particularly
troublesome.

Iran has upgraded their models with the Raad


and I-Raad programs. The Raad, is a straight copy of the
AT-3 design, while the Raad-T features a tandem
warhead. The I-Raad however is a marked improvement
featuring a SACLOS guidance unit as well as the ability
to fire-link 4 separate missiles to one guidance unit. The
I-Raad-T is the I-Raad with a tandem warhead.

Iran ordered directly, or license produced at least


6,000 AT-3 / Raad's, with the later models possibly being
new builds or upgrades. The Raad remains a second-line I-Raad-T - note the SACLOS guidance unit and the
tandem warhead
asset.

Purportedly, the AT-3 can be mounted on the Safir tactical vehicle, though this would require a
redesign of the launching platform in order to avoid the obvious difficulties in firing the AT-3/Raad
from a vehicle.
AT-4 / AT-5
AT-4 Spigot AT-5 Spandrel / Tosan-1 / M-113
Weight: 11.5 kg 24.6 kg
Length: NA 1.26 m
Diameter: 120 mm 130 mm
Wingspan: NA .46 m
Warhead: HEAT 3.2 kg HEAT
Penetration: 480 m 925 m
Effective Range: 2,500 m 4,000 km
Max Speed: 186 m/s 200 m/s
ROF: 2-3 rnd/min 2-3 rnd/min
Guidance: Wire-guided SACLOS Wire-guided SACLOS
NA = unknown

The AT-4 Spigot and the AT-5 Spandrel both belong to the same family of second generation
Soviet ATGM's based around the same design, differing only in scale. Iran produces the AT-5
domestically under the name Tosan.

Both missiles have wire-guided SACLOS with HEAT warheads and are fired from a low-profile
launcher with day or night sights, or from the BMP-2 IFV.

AT-4
The AT-4 is the smaller of the two, designed to be a man-
portable system. Iran licensed 11,250 AT-4's from Russia in
1991.

AT-4 during the Great Prophet exercises

AT-5 / Tosan-1 / M-113


The bigger brother to the Spigot, the AT-5 Spandrel simply scales
up the AT-4 design. This means it is primarily mounted on BMP-2’s, but can
also be fired from late-model AT-4 launchers.

Iran licensed 1,800 AT-5's and now produces them domestically Tosan
under the name Tosan-1, though it is occasionally called the M-113.

With regards to deployment, the AT-4/5 appears to play second fiddle to the TOW/Toophan. It
is in service with specific units such as IRGC paratroopers as opposed to mechanized infantry
battalions who prefer to mount Toofans on their light vehicles. However, the AT-4/5 also maintains a
sizable niche as the primary ATGM for the BMP-2. These factors ensure they won't be entirely be
replaced by the Toofan in that role any time soon.
AT-6

9M114 AT-6A 9M120 AT-9


Weight: 31.4 kg NA
Length: 1.62 m 1.83 m
Diameter: .13 m .13 m
Wingspan: .36 m .36 m
Warhead: 5.3 kg HEAT 5-8 kg HEAT
Penetration 560 mm RHA 800 RHA
:
Effective 5 km 6 km
Range: IRGC aviation Mi-17 equipped with the AT-6 Spiral.
Source: Internet
Max Speed: 345 m/s 550 m/s
Guidance: Radio SACLOS Radio SACLOS
NA = unknown

The AT-6 Spiral is a Soviet radio-controlled SACLOS anti-tank missile. Iran purchased 540 of an
unknown sub-type, possibly the later AT-9 version, for their Mi-171 helicopters. Further details are
unknown.

AT-11

Tondar
Weight: 17.2 kg
Length: .69 m
Diameter: 125 mm
Wingspan: NA
Warhead: 3.5 kg tandem HEAT

Penetration 700 mm RHA


A Tondar being fired from a T-72S as illustrated by
:
MODLEX
Effective 4 km
Range:
Max Speed: 370 m/s
Guidance: Beam-riding SACLOS
NA = Unknown
The AT-11 sniper is a laser beam riding SACLOS anti-tank missile, though unlike most, it is designed to
be fired from the 125 mm main gun on the T-72 tank. Iran produces them domestically under the
name Tondar.

The Tondar appears to be somewhat different from the AT-11, having a smaller body (17.2 kg vs 24.3
kg) and a correspondingly lighter warhead (3.5 kg vs 4.5 kg), though this might just be a function of
misreporting the data by the ministry of defense.

M-47 Dragon / Saeqeh-1/2

M-47 / Saeqeh-1 Saeqeh-2


Weight: 6.1 kg 7.4 kg
Length: .74 m 1m
Diameter: 127 mm 127 mm
Wingspan: NA NA
Warhead: HEAT Tandem HEAT
Penetration: 500 mm RHA 650 mm RHA
Effective Range: 1,094 m 1,094 m
Max Speed: 100 m/s 92 m/s
Guidance: wire-guided SACLOS wire-guided SACLOS

The M-47 Dragon and the Iranian copy, the Saeqeh, is a light man-portable, shoulder fired US
anti-tank system.

The M-47 is a wire-guided SACLOS ATGM with a HEAT warhead that uses a unique system of
small explosives mounted in the side of the missile (pictured below as the spherical nodes) for
propulsion and steering.
The M-47 is domestically manufactured by Iran under the
name Saeqeh. The Saeqeh-1 appears to be a direct copy of
the basic M-47 missile, while the Saeqeh-2 features a nose-
probe to defeat ERA.

While the Saeqeh remains in production and service, it is


not widely deployed, apparently losing out to the more
preferred strategy of using lighter RPG's as a short range
weapon while AT-4/5's with their longer range fulfill the
medium-weight ATGM role.
A Saeghe 1 (front) and a Saeghe 2 (rear)
Land Mines

YM-II YM-II-E YM-III YM-16 M-19


Weight: 3.4 kg 3.4 kg 6.9 kg NA 12.56 kg
Height: 90 mm 90 mm 110 mm NA 94 mm
Width: 232 mm 232 mm 270 mm NA 332 mm
Explosive 2 kg Comp B 1.6 kg Comp B 5.7 Comp B NA 9.53 kg Comp B
Content:
Operating 150-300 kg 150-300 450-900 kg NA 118-226 kg
Pressure:
Lethal Radius: 50 m 30 m 1,000 m NA NA

Iran also produces a number of anti-tank mines, though logically they are not as central to their
anti-tank strategy as ATGM's or other stand-off weapons.

Initial reports labeled them as having slightly


different specifications then the mine they were based on,
this however is not the case.

YM-II
A copy of the Italian SB-81, the YM-II is a circular
minimum-metal anti-tank mine. It is waterproof, and can
Yellow YM-III and green YM-II anti-tank mines
be dispersed by hand or by an automated system.

The YM-II-E contains a remote control arming and disarming mechanism.

YM-III
A copy of the Chinese Type 72 is also circular and with minimal metallic parts; the YM-III is
resistant to overpressure or explosive breaching.

YM-16
No information available.

M-19
A rectangular US anti-tank mine, almost entirely plastic is still a
common feature in the Iranian military. It is unknown if Iran is producing
them, a likely possibility.

EFP
Iran notably produces EFP's, as anyone who followed US
involvement in Iraq would know. It is a shaped charge specifically
optimized for IED placement or demolition. It is essentially just a large
amount explosive behind a metal cone in an easy-to-carry tube.
An EFP - note the legs which
provide the correct stand-off
distance for the shaped charge.
1.6.5.4 – Inventory – Additional Infantry Equipment

Besides the larger weapon systems that attract attention, a fair


amount of less-specific, miscellaneous equipment exists that can't be
grouped into neat categories but is worth mentioning.

Amour - While armor is not standard in the Iranian military, it is making a


more frequent appearance, especially within the IRGC. Iran notably
purchased a large amount of body-armor from the UK, under the UN's
anti-drug campaign. In addition to imported armor, Iran also produces
several varieties of armor, ranging from lightweight concealable vests, to
battle armor with ceramic inserts rated to class IV. Iran also produces
ballistic helmets which are replacing the M1 ‘steel pot’ helmets currently
worn by most of the IRIGF.
One design of body armor
offered for export
Communication Technologies - Iran's stock of ancient analog radios has
been renovated by solid-state digital models in addition to being supplemented by non-traditional cell
phones and satellite phones. What isn't clear is their level of technical networking, or total battlefield
awareness abilities.

Optics – Advanced optics, like thermal imaging, while


existent and definitely deployed, is unlikely to be available
for the average soldier.

The majorities of Iran’s night-vision holdings are mostly in


2nd generation models, and come as binoculars, sights and
observation scopes. Recently, Iran has began conducting
wargames emphasizing night-fighting ability indicating a
renewed focus on what has been the traditionally
untouchable domain of western armies
NVS-700 individual weapon night sight
Other optics like rifle scopes and binoculars are also
produced.

CBW Equipment - A lesson learned from the Iran-Iraq war, one of the first areas Iran sought be self-
sufficient in was CBW-protection gear including detectors, protective suits, all the way up to full scale
truck-transported decontamination centers.
1.6.5.5 – Inventory – Uniforms and Camouflage

One of the most recognizable features of the IRIGF is their eclectic blend of camouflage patterns and
uniforms across the services.

Woodland BDU - Standard issue to the IRIA as well as select IRIP and IRGCGF units. Newer
uniforms are identifiable by curved flaps on the breast pockets and a pocket on the
upper-left sleeve. Pattern same as original US issue. Slight variants exist, such as with the
IRIADF which has a dark blue swatch added.

3-Color Desert BDU - Used by several IRGC units as well as Police border-guards. Pattern
same as original US issue. Cut is same as Woodland uniforms.

6-Color DBDU - Used by IRGCGF coastal defense and other select IRGCGF units. Pattern
and cut same as original US issue.

Brown-Dominant Panther - Used by IRIA commando units. Very similar to AUSCAM


with grey, sand, and brown splotches. Occasionally different types can be seen with
rust, dark-green or different tan shades can be seen, however this is very rare.

Green-Dominant Panther 2 – Substitutes Brown for an olive-drab. Less common


then brown-dominant

Safariflage - The distinctive uniform pattern of the 65th airborne brigade, with green,
black and two tan color pattern.

Desert-Dominant Safariflage - Used by the 23rd commando division, the desert


dominant pattern is the same as the regular safariflage, but has dulled down the green
to better fit in a desert environment.

Grey-Dominant Chocolate Chip Safariflage – Used by the IRIN marines, blend of


sage, gray, black and off-white safariflage combined with a chocolate chip pattern.

Brown-Dominat Chocolate Chip Safariglage – also used by IRIN marines, far less
common then grey-dominant patterns. Grey is replaced with brown, and sage is
darkened.
ACU / Universal Digital - Visually a straight copy of the US army camouflage uniform
rather then just the digital pattern, features appropriate Velcro tabs and cut. The uniform
is used by certain naval marine units as well as IRGC airborne.

MARPAT / Desert Digital - Another copy of a digital US uniform, it is used by IRGC airborne and
special forces units. It appears slated to replace the 3-color desert BDU's.

Afghan Digital - Another interesting pattern, direct copy of the digital pattern
used by the Afghan national army. So far it has only been seen in a select
IRGCGF/Basij unit.

Unknown Digital - only seen recently during the Armed Forces Day 2010 parade with the
65th airborne this new camouflage is a mix of light-sand, brown, black and green pixelated
patterns.

Olive Drab - Iran actually uses a few different solid patterns that can be classified as 'OD'.
First is the original olive-drab pattern uniforms that are simply surplus, these have mainly
been replaced, though they do remain with several 2nd line units. The IRGC also issues a
more evergreen uniform that is very similar to its officers dress uniform pictured right).

A number of other uniforms are used by smaller units, often within the Basij
or IRGC, the soldiers either supply their own uniforms or are issued multiple
different designs that make up excess inventory. These include lizard patterns
(pictured right), as well as slight variations on other types, such as combining the
DCU with a chocolate chip pattern and green-safariflage swaths. However these are
rare.
1.7 – Facilities

Islamic Republic of Iran Army (IRIA) Facilities


Facility: Latitude: Longitude:
77th MID, 1st Brig. HQ 36°16'53.83"N 59°34'59.61"E
th nd
77 MID, 2 Brig. HQ 36°16'54.62"N 58°47'52.08"E
th rd
77 MID, 3 Brig HQ 37°29'0.08"N 57°19'34.96"E
th st
84 MID, 1 Brig. HQ 33°25'58.92"N 48°16'5.65"E
th nd
84 MID, 2 Brig. HQ 33°32'5.07"N 48° 8'17.63"E
28th MID, 1st Brig. HQ 35°20'10.64"N 46°58'21.67"E
28th MID, 2nd Brig.HQ 35°32'6.72"N 46°12'8.74"E
th rd
28 MID, 3 Brig.HQ 36°13'56.70"N 46°15'6.88"E
th
64 ID HQ 37°32'21.57"N 45° 3'44.15"E
th
30 ID HQ 36°50'19.99"N 54°26'53.10"E
21st ID, 1st Brig. HQ 38° 3'40.45"N 46°18'4.49"E
21st ID, 2nd Brig. HQ 37°20'46.32"N 46°10'28.21"E
st rd
21 ID, 3 Brig. HQ 38°26'20.40"N 45°43'47.26"E
nd st
92 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 31°19'55.70"N 48°39'35.70"E
92nd AD, 2nd Brig. HQ 32°24'26.29"N 48°23'30.10"E
st st
81 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 34°17'31.78"N 47° 4'23.66"E
st nd
81 AD, 2 Brig. HQ 34° 7'6.38"N 34° 7'6.38"N
st rd
81 AD, 3 Brig HQ 34°28'37.78"N 45°48'39.46"E
th st
16 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 36°17'17.75"N 50° 1'55.37"E
16th AD, 2nd Brig. HQ 36°41'22.92"N 48°29'5.15"E
th st
88 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 29°28'49.01"N 60°52'11.79"E
th nd
88 AD, 2 Brig. HQ 28°14'27.19"N 61° 9'27.29"E
th rd
88 AD, 3 Brig. HQ 31° 2'32.81"N 61°30'29.72"E
th
38 AB 35°14'31.91"N 60°36'36.14"E
25th CB 36°48'46.46"N 45°16'35.10"E
23rd CD 35°30'22.00"N 51° 0'59.00"E
th
55 ArBn 29°37'4.00"N 52°30'37.00"E
th
65 ArBn 35°39'46.01"N 51°30'16.32"E
11th AG 37°20'43.57"N 46°10'28.27"E
nd
22 AG 31°57'24.18"N 51°49'19.66"E
th
55 AG 32°37'9.57"N 51°37'43.09"E
MID – Mechanized Infantry Division
ID – Infantry Division
AD – Armored Division
AB – Armored Brigade
CD – Commando Division
CB –Commando Brigade
ArBn – Airborne
AG – Artillery Group
HQ – Headquarters
1.8 – Further Research

Due to the unique nature of most of the information pertaining to Iran's military, mainly, the
vague and unsubstantiated nature of many of the sources, where much information exists only as
“public knowledge” rather then the intellectual property of any now-known author, a complete and
extensive works-cited page is impossible.

However, these resources proved invaluable to the project, and present an opportunity for further
research on the topic:

Iran Defense Forum


Iran Military Forum
Military Photos Forum
ACIG Database and Forum
Global Security
Iran Ministry of Defense
Iranian Aviation Review Magazine
CSIS
IISS
SIPRI
Google Earth
Wikipedia
RAND Corporation
“The Ideological-Political Training of Iran’s Basij” by Dr. Saeid Golkar

If you feel that any of your ideas were present and want a more extensive citation, please contact the
authors. We will be more then happy to accommodate your wishes.

Reviewers:
Eagle2009
Dave Matteson