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1. Ground Forces
Open Source Intelligence Project Independent and objective analysis of current Iranian military capability using open-source nonclassified 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
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 softpower, 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, lightmortars 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 WestAzerbaijan 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. They are identifiable by their duck-hunter camouflage, black beret and unit insignia on the upper right sleeve. More recently they have been seen wearing uniforms in the desert safariflage pattern.
The 55th airborne during Sacred Defense Week 2009
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 rapiddeployment airborne light-infantry unit with counterterror 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 desertdominant safariflage camouflage and their widespread use of Soldiers from the 23rd commando division on parade body armor. 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. 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
Provisional illustration of a very generic organization
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 firstresponder 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 illtrained 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 Crew: Weight: Length: * Width:* Height: * Engine: Max Speed: Range: Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: FCS/Optics:
NA = Unknown
Zulfiqar-2 3-4 NA 7.6 m NA 2.4m
750 hp AVDS-1790
Zulfiqar-3 3-4 NA 7.6 m NA 2.4m
750 hp AVDS-1790
4 ~36 tonne 6.7 m 3.6 m 2.4 m
750 hp AVDS-1790
NA NA NA 12.7 mm MG Zrak FCS-T-72, DNNS-1/2
NA NA NA
NA NA NA
125 mm 2A46(M) 125 mm 2A46(M) 125 mm 2A46(M) 7.62 mm Coaxial 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG MG, 12.7 mm MG NA NA
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 M60, the overall length and internal parts resembling the M48A5, 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 semiindustrial 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.
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 4 56 tonne 7.51 m 3.50 m 2.89 m 750 hp L60
Max Speed: 48 km/h Max Range: 400-500 km Armor:** Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: FCS: Glacis: 388 mm, Turret: 390 mm 120 mm L11A5 7.62 mm coaxial MG Barr and Stroud TLS
Chieftain MBT, in the paint scheme of the 16th AD, during a news segment from PressTV
** = 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 4 36 tonne 6.45 m 3.37 m 2.40 m 780 hp V-46-6 V-12
Max Speed: 65 km/h Max Range: NA Armor:** Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: FCS: 450-480 mm RHA vs KE, 700-900 mm RHA vs HEAT + ERA 105 mm M68 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG Fontana EFCS-3
A Safir-74, with either the Seyyed al-Shohada or Mohammad Rasulollah Corps in Tehran province - May 2009
** = 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 4 40 tonne 6.63 m 3.30 m 2.39 m 581 hp V-55
Max Speed: 50 km/h Max Range: 450 km Armor:** Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: Turret: 153-242 mm, glacis: 102 mm, upper hull: 79 mm 115 mm 2A20 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
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 T54/55 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor: Primary Weapon: FCS: 3 46.5 tonne 6.95 m 3.59 m 2.28 m 840 hp V-84 60 km/h 480 km 520 mm steel and ceramic on turret face + ERA (950 mm RHA equivalent vs HEAT) 125 mm 2A46M 1A40
Secondary Weapon: 7.62 mm Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
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 highstrength 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 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 out of number purchased from Russia. Adding in the tanks from Poland Kontakt-5 style ERA on a T-72 rolling in Dorud what is likely the T-72 assembly plant 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: FCS:
NA = Unknown
4 46 tonnes 6.36 m 3.51 m 3.35 m
750 hp AVDS-1790
~48 km/h 483 km NA 90 mm M36 .30 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG NA
One of the few M-47M's left, on parade with the 77th ID in Mashhad
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor:** Primary Weapon: FCS: 4 48.98 tonnes 6.41 m 3.63 m 3m
750 hp Continental AVDS-1790
48.2 km/h 499 km Glacis: 110 mm, Hull Sides: 51-76 mm , Turret face:101-120 mm 105 mm M68 NA
Secondary Weapon: 7.62 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG
** = 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor:** Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: FCS: 4 51 tonnes 6.94 m 3.6 m 3.2 m
750 hp Continental AVDS-1790
48 km/h 502 km
Glacis: 93-143 mm, Hull sides: 35-74 mm, Turret face: 180 mm Turret sides: 76 mm
105 mm M68 7.62 Coaxial MG, 12.7 mm MG 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 Crew: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 2+10 13 tonne 6.65 m 2.94 m 1.88 m *
IFV 3+7 NA 6.65 m 2.94 m 2.28 m
AAA NA 13 tonne 6.65 m 2.94 m 1.88 m *
AMV NA NA 6.50 m 2.94 m 2.02 m*
AT NA NA 6.50 m 2.94 m 2.02 m*
AAC 2 11 tonne 6.43 m 3.2 m 2.26 m*
Max Speed: 65 km/h Max Range: 500 km Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon:
65 km/h NA
65 km/h NA
65 km/h NA
65 km/h NA
75 km/h 430 km
12.7 mm MG 30 mm 2A42 Zu-23-2 AAA 120 mm cannon mortar NA 7.62 mm MG, NA AT-4
12.7 mm MG NA
12.7 mm MG NA
* = 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-toweight 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 APC Variant replaced with benches lining the outer wall facing inward, 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.
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.
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.
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.
M-113 M-113A1 APC Crew: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: 2+11 12.3 tonnes 4.86 m 2.68 m 2.5 m 275 hp 6V53T diesel 67.6 km/h 480 km 12-38 mm aluminum 12.7 mm MG, Toophan ATGM, Zu23-2 none
IRGC M-113 with appliqué armor - May 2009
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 3+8 13.2 tonnes 6.7 m 2.94 m 2.1 m 300 hp UTD-20
Max Speed: 65 km/h Max Range: 600 km Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: 6-33 mm welded steel 73 mm 2A28 cannon 7.62 mm coaxial MG, AT-3 ATGM
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 3+7 14.3 tonnes 6.7 m 3.1 m 2.4 m 300 hp UTD-20
Max Speed: 65 km/h Max Range: 600 km Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon: 6-33 mm welded steel 30mm 2A42 autocannon 7.62 mm coaxialMG, AT-4 ATGM
IRGC BMP-2 on exercise - May 2009
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 M113 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 battlemanagement 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 EE9s 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
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 3+14 10.3 tonnes 7.56 m 2.82 m 2.31 m See text
Max Speed: 80 km/h Max Range: 500 km Armor: Primary Weapon: 5-10 mm welded steel 14.5 mm MG
IRIA BTR-60PB with the 37th armored brigade in Isfahan
7.62 mm coaxial MG
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 BTR50. 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 Crew: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 3 8 tonnes 5.2 m 2.1 m 2.1 m 190 hp Cummins BTA
Sayyad AT 2-3 NA 4.6 m 2.1 m 1.7 m* 190 hp Cummins BTA NA NA 2x Toophan ATGM none
Sayyad MLRS 2-3 NA 4.6 m 2.1 m 1.7 m* 190 hp Cummins BTA NA NA NA 2x 70 mm rocket pod none
Max Speed: 72.5 km/h Max Range: 756 km Armor: Primary Weapon: Secondary Weapon:
* = hull only
12.7 mm welded aluminum NA 76mm L23A1 7.62 mm coaxial MG
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Armor: Primary Weapon: 2+8 7.5 tonnes 6.06 m 2.40 m 2.43 m 155 hp DO824LFL09 80-95 km/h NA welded steel w/ protection up to 7.62 mm. Appliqué ceramic w/ protection up to 14.5 mm 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 sideA 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 30 mm 115 kg 3.0 m 300-600 r/m HEI 30 mm .83 kg .14 m 960 m/s 1,500-3000 m NA APT 30 mm .85 kg .14 m 970 m/s 1,500-3000 m NA
Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF:
Caliber: Weight: Length: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Max Range:
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 76 mm 115 kg NA 6-8 r/m HEAT 76 mm 4.3 kg 1.11 m 715 m/s 1,500 m NA 350 mm RHA
Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF:
Caliber: Weight: Length: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Max Range: Penetration:
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 105 mm 760 kg (barrel only) 5.3 m (barrel only) 10 r/m HEAT-T 105 mm 22 kg .99 m 1174 m/s 2,000 m HE 105 mm 27 kg 1.0 m 864 m/s NA
Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF:
Caliber: Weight: Length: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range:
Max Range: Penetration:
NA = unknown or not applicable
7,000 m 356 mm RHA
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 120 mm 1,778 kg 6.85 m 10 r/m HESH 120 mm NA NA NA NA NA NA
Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF:
Caliber: Weight: Length: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Max Range: Penetration:
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 3BM26/29) 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 and a separate propellant charge. Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF: Caliber: Weight (projectile): Length (projectile): Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Max Range: Penetration: NA = unknown or not applicable HM-50 125 mm 2,500 kg 6.6 m 8 r/m HE-FRAG 125 mm 23 kg .67 m 850 m/s NA 12.2 km NA
Iranian domestic APFSDS.
HEAT 125 mm 19.3 kg .67 m 905 m/s NA 4,000 km 550 mm RHA
APFSDS 125 mm 6.5 kg .58 m 1,715 m/s NA NA 470 mm RHA
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 T72. 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*** Zulfiqar: Chieftain: T-54/55/Safir-74: T-62: T-72: M-47: M-48: M-60: Quantity In Service APC/IFV 0 136*-204*+ 200 NA 563 ~68 ~68 136*-204*+ Total: 1,243-1,393 Boragh: M113: BMP-1: BMP-2: BTR-60: Scorpion: Rakhsh: Quantity In Service >190 (200)** (210)** 413 (150-300)** (80)** NA
Total, High Quality: 1,035 – 1,171
* = 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’/ رrather 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 light sand-rail frame and emphasize off-road mobility and speed. Both have a crew of 3 and mount a machinegun. This however remains the only concrete details on the two vehicles.
Samandar during Army Day 2010 – or at least one version of it. Slight differences between it and the model that was shown later in the year exist, however these slight changes are consistent with Irans history of prototype development
Ranger during Sacred Defense Week 2010 - note the presence of Akhgar minigun
¼ Ton Tactical Vehicle Safir Crew: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: 1+5 1.5 tonne 3.51 m 1.69 m 1.88 m Nissan 105 hp Z24
Max Speed: 130 km/h Max Range: 500 km Weapons:
106 mm or 76 mm recoilless rifle or 12.7 mm MG, or mortar or Toophan ATGM, or 107 mm MLRS IRGC Safir tactical vehicle
.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 M151 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 tonclass 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. Prototype of the 1 ¼ ton Safir Photo Credit: The Safir can be distinguished from the M-38 by its 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: Weight: Length: Width: Weight: Engine: 1+5-8 3.2 tonnes ~4.9 m* ~1.8 m* ~2.0 m* 240 hp 1HZ Diesel
Max Speed: NA Max Range: NA Weapons: Capacity: 12.7 mm MG, Zu-23-2, 81/82/120 mm mortar, 122 mm rocket 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 allterrain 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 replaces the bed of the truck with an 8 round 122 mm MLRS.
Land Cruiser with the 30th Infantry Division in Gorgan
Land Cruiser with border police near Zahedan
3/4 ton Tactical Vehicles Sepehr (2 door) Crew: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: NA NA NA NA NA
Sepehr (4 door) NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Toofan 1+7 NA NA NA NA NA NA 30 mm 2A42 autocannon, other .68 tonne (3/4 ton)
Thistle NA NA 4.6 m 1.9 m 2.2 m NA 700 km 120 km/h NA
Unknown 139 hp Unknown 139 hp NA
Max Range: NA Max Speed: NA Weapons:
12.7 mm MG, Zu- none 23-2, other .68 tonne (3/4 ton) .68 tonne (3/4 ton)
.68 tonne (3/4 ton)
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Engine: Max Speed: Max Range: Weapons: Capacity: NA = unknown 1+1 3.06 tonnes NA NA NA Mercedes Benz OM364 100 km/h NA none 1.13 tonne (1.25 ton)
A relative mystery, this vehicle's name is unknown. It is a short flatbed truck, with a large twodoor 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 'countertechnology'. 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: Max Range: Min Range: Elevation: Traverse: ROF: Weight: 60 mm 1,050 m 100 m 45 - 85 360 20 rd/min 6.25 kg 60 mm 570.5 mm 800 m 200 m 45-85 360 20 rd/min 8 kg 60 mm 740.5 mm 2,550 m 150 m 45-85 360 30 rd/min 17.5 kg
Barrel Length: 570.5 mm
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.
81 mm HM-15 Hadid Caliber: Max Range: Min Range: Elevation: Traverse: ROF: 81 mm 4,900 m 150 m 45-85 NA 20 rd/min 81 mm HM15 Barrel Length: 1.55 m
Weight: 50.5 kg NA = unknown or not applicable
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 Caliber: Max Range: Min Range: Elevation: ROF: Weight: HM-16 The mortar is largely the same as the HM-15 with a large baseplate 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 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. 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.
Razm 120 mm NA
Barrel Length: 1.72 m
6 km (10.06 and 16 km w/ extended 6 km (10.06 and 16 km w/ extended range shell) range shell) 250 m 45-85 10 rd/min 138.5 kg NA NA NA NA
Razm mounted in a Kaviran tactical vehicle
Extreme long range mortar bomb unveiled alongsize the Razm
126.96.36.199 - Artillery - Towed Guns M-101 M-101A1 Caliber: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: Crew:
NA = unknown
105 mm 2.26 tonnes 5.94 m 2.21 m 1.73 m 11.27 km NA 46 -5 - 66 HE, illumination, smoke, chemical NA
M-101 on parade with the 23rd commando division on Armed Forces day 2010
Barrel Length: 2.31 m
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: 122 mm 5.62 tonnes 9.87 m 2.35 m NA 24 km 8-10 rd/min 45 -5 - 45 HE, smoke, illumination, chemical Barrel Length: 6.45 m
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. 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.
D-74 / Type-60 pictured left
HM-40 / D-30 HM-40 / D-30 Caliber: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: 122 mm 3.21 tonnes 5.4 m (transport configuration) 1.9 m (transport configuration) 1.6 m (transport configuration) 15.4 km 1-8 rd/min 360 -7-70 HE, smoke, illumination
HM-40 as advertised by Diomil
Barrel Length: 5.88 m
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: 130 mm 7.69 tonnes 11.73 m 2.45 m NA 27.5 km (36 w/ BB. 42 km w/RAP) 5-8 rd/min 50 -2.5 - 45 HE,, HE-RAP, illumination, smoke, chemical
M-46 on exercise with the IRIA in June 2009
Barrel Length: NA
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 IranIraq 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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: 155 mm 6.89 tonnes NA NA NA 30 km 4 rd/min 25 - 23.5 0 - 66 HE, illumination, smoke, chemical, HE base bleed
Barrel Length: 6.03 m
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: Length: Width: Height: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: 11 tonnes 14 m NA 2m 39.6 km (w/ base bleed) 2-5 rd/min 534 - 711 -89 - 1280 HE, illumination, smoke, chemical, HE base bleed
GHN-45, pictured left, with a 122 MLRS system to the right
Crew: NA NA = unknown Purchased illegally from Austria during the Iran-Iraq war, the 155 mm howitzer is another longranged 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: Barrel Length: Weight: Length: Width: Height: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Ammunition: Crew: 203 mm 5.14 m 14.51 tonnes 10.97 m NA NA .5 - 1 rd/min 60 -2 - 65 HE 14
M115 on parade
Effective Range:* 16.8 km
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 Caliber: Barrel Length: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Crew:
NA = unknown
M110 203 mm NA 28.3 tonnes 5.72 m 3.15 m 3.47 m 54.7 km/h 405 hp GM 8-cylinder HE 16.8 km 1-2 rnd/min NA NA 5
175 mm NA 28.3 tonnes 6.46 m 3.15 m 3.47 m 80 km/h 450 hp GM 8-cylinder 34 km 1-2 rnd/min 360 -5 - 65 5
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: Barrel Length: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Ammunition: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Crew:
NA = unknown
155 mm 6.03 m 24.94 tonnes 6.11 m 3.1 m 3.3 m 56 km/h 450 hp diesel. HE, smoke, illumination 18.1 km 1-4 rnd/min 360 NA 6
M109A1 on exercise with the IRIA in western Iran
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Ammunition: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Crew:
NA = unknown
122 mm 14.51 tonnes 7.26 m 2.85 m 2.73 m 60 km/h NA HE, smoke, illumination 15.4 km 4-5 rnd/min 360 -7 - 70 4
IRGC Gvozdika's near Tehran - May 2009
Barrel Length: 5.06 m
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: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Ammunition: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: 122 mm NA 6.5 m 2.67 m 2.14 m (to barrel center) 65 km/h See text HE, smoke, illumination 15.4 km 4-5 rnd/ 360 -7 - 70
Raad-1, clearly showing influences from both the 2S1 and the Boragh
Barrel Length: 5.06 m
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 Caliber: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Ammunition: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: 155 mm 36 tonnes 9.14 m (incl. barrel) 3.38 m 2.60 m NA 840 hp V-84MS HE, smoke, illumination, BB 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB 1-4 rnd/min 360 NA Barrel Length: 6.03 m Raad-2M 155 mm 6.03 m 36 tonnes 9.05 m 3.38 m 2.60 m NA 700 hp 5TDF HE, smoke, illumination, BB 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB 1-4 rnd/min 360 -3 - 75 5
Crew: 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 Raad2M Other features include an air-conditioning system, automatic fire-extinguishing system, digital communication, networked displays, and NBC protection The number of Raad-2's, both -2 and -2M's in service is unknown. The most likely 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.
Raad-2M: Note that Diomil mirrors their images, so the -2M actually 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 the position of the periscope on the turret.
M-178 Koksan M-1978 Caliber: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Max Speed: Engine: Ammunition: Max Range: ROF: Traverse: Elevation: Crew: 170 mm NA 6.45 m (hull) 3.37 m (hull) NA NA NA NA 40 -60 km (RAP shell) 1-2 rnd / 5 m NA NA NA
M-1978, pictured in front of the BMP-2 and behind the towed guns, during a parade in Kerman
Barrel Length: 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.
188.8.131.52 - Artillery - Multiple Launch Rocket Systems 107 mm Single Caliber: Weight: Length: Width Height Barrels: Max Range: ROF: Elevation: Traverse: 107 mm 12.5 kg 80 cm (barrel ) NA NA 1 8.5 km NA 0 - 45 -11 - 11 Double 12 round - 12 round - RL-11 vehicle towed 107 mm 475 kg 280 cm 235 cm 102 cm 12 8.5 km 0 - 60 -50 - 15 NA 107 mm 280 kg 90 cm (barrel ) NA NA 11 8.5 km 5 - 45 -90 - 90 NA 430 kg 93 cm 140 cm 81 cm 12 8.5 km 0 - 60 -50 - 15 NA RL-19 107 mm 400 kg 90 cm (barrel) NA NA 19 8.5 km 5 - 45 -90 - 90 NA Haseb Rocket 107 mm 19 kg 83.7 cm NA NA NA 8.5 km NA NA 6.39 kg
107 mm 107 mm 39 kg 80 cm (barrel ) NA NA 2 8.5 km NA 0 - 50 -10 - 10
12 / 6-10 s 12 / 6-10 s 11 / 7-9 s 19 / 19-20 s NA
Warhead: NA NA 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 Caliber: Weight: Length: Barrels: ROF: Elevation: 122 mm 13.15 tonnes 3m 40 1/0.7 s -1 - 55 HM-21 122 mm 90 kg HM-23 Rocket: 122 mm 800 kg Caliber Weight: Length: CEP: Warhead: Arash 1 Arash 2 Noor/Arash 3
122 mm 122 mm 122 mm 65 kg 2.81 m NA 18.3 kg 72 kg 3.2 m NA 18.3 kg 45 kg 2.05 m 18 km NA 18.3 kg
3 or 1.9 m 1.9 m 1 5 - 50 -12 -12 NA -1 - 25 360
8 or 16 Max Range: 21.5 km 30 km
Traverse: 72-102 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: Weight: Length: Barrels: CEP: Warhead: ROF: Elevation: 230 mm 360 kg 4.82 m 3 500 m 70 kg NA NA
Max Range: 34-45 km
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 Caliber: Weight: Length: CEP: Warhead: ROF: Elevation: Traverse: 240 mm 111 kg 1.32 m NA 50 kg NA NA NA Falaq-2 333 mm 225 kg 1.82 m 10.8 km NA 120 kg NA NA NA
A dated image of the 6-cell launcher for the Falaq-1
Max Range: 10 km
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 Hezbollah Falaq-1 used as the same manner as described in the 107 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 Caliber: Weight: Length: Max Range: Warhead: CEP: 240 mm Length: 407 kg 5.2 m 43 km 90 kg NA Height: Width: Max Speed: Barrels: ROF: Elevation: Traverse: NA = unknown The Fajr-3 is a 240 mm self-propelled MLRS system originally derived from the North Korean M1985. 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. Launcher 10.45 m 3.34 m 2.5 m 60 km/h 12 NA 0 - 57 90 Left - 100 Right
Fajr-3 on a Mercedes-Benz 2631
Fajr-5 Fajr-5 Rocket Caliber: Weight: Length: Max Range: Warhead: CEP: 333 mm 915 kg 6.48 m 75 km 175 kg NA Length: Height: Width: Barrels: ROF: Elevation: Traverse: 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 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.
Fajr-5 during a Basij parade - November 2008
Launcher 10.45 m 2.34 m 2.54 m 4 NA 0-57 45 Left - 45 Right
Max Speed: 60 km/h
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 Caliber: Weight: Length: CEP: Warhead: ROF: Elevation: Traverse:
NA = Unknown
Shahin 2 333 mm 564 kg NA 30 km NA 190 kg 3 rnd/min NA NA
Not an Iranian Shahin, but an export version in service with Sudan. Note the triple-rail launch configuration
333 mm 498 kg 3.9 m NA 190 kg 3 rnd/min NA NA
Max Range: 20 km
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.
184.108.40.206 - 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 M-101: D-74: D-30/HM-40: M-46: GHN-45: M-115: Total: Quantity In SelfQuantity In MLRS Service Propelled Service 200* 100* 500 >800 100 30* 1800 2S1: M-107: M-110: M-109: Raad-1: Raad-2: M-1978: Total: 60-80 25* 30* 140* 0 >36 ~18 329 Total: NA Type 63 Oghab: Falaq: Fajr-3: Fajr-5: Quantity in Service NA NA NA ~100* ~100*
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 selfpropelled 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 stopgap 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 Configuration: Weight: Length: Diameter: Max Range: Min Range Warhead: CEP:* Guidance: 960 kg 6.29 m 356 mm 100 km 80 km 130 kg <500 m none Nazeat-10H 1830 kg 8.02 m 455 mm 130 km 110 km 230 kg <650 m none Single stage, solid fuel Single stage, solid fuel
* = 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 Nazeat10H. 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 finstabilized 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 Single stage, solid fuel 9.58 m 616 mm 200 km 180 km 900-950 kg <1000 m none Zelzal-3B Single stage, solid fuel 3,600 kg 9m 616 mm 260 km 235 km 600 kg <1300 m none
Configuration: Single stage, Single stage, Single stage, solid fuel solid fuel solid fuel Weight: Length: Diameter: Max Range: Min Range: Warhead: CEP:* Guidance: ~2,950 kg ~8.3 m ~601 mm NA ~600 kg NA none ~2,950 kg ~8.3 m ~601 mm NA ~500 kg NA none ~8.3-8.46 m ~601 m ~300 km NA ~210 - 600 kg NA none
~3,450-3,545 kg 4,000 kg
~125-130 km ~160 km
~ = 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 Zelzal1/1A/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 submunitions 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 Configuration: Weight: Length: Diameter: Max Range: Min Range: Warhead: CEP: Guidance: 3,620 kg 8.76 m 616 mm 250 km 150 km 450 kg 750 m INS + ?? Fateh-110A Fateh-110 block 3* Single stage, solid fuel NA** NA** NA** 300 km NA NA NA INS+?? NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Single stage, solid fuel NA
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 late2002 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: Weight: Length: Diameter: Max Range: Min Range: Warhead: CEP: 2 stage, solid and/or liquid fuel 2,650 kg 10.8 m 1.00 m 150 km 50 km 190 or 250 kg unitary, submunition warhead 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 Fateh110 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 220.127.116.11 – Inventory - Arms and Equipment – Small Arms Small Arms - Pistols PC-9 PC-9 Cartridge: Length: Weight: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Magazine: 9x19 mm 196 mm 845 g 335 m/s 50 m 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 Cartridge: Length: 9x19 mm
MPT-9: 670 mm (500 mm closed), MPT-9S: 690 mm, MPT-9K: 325 mm MPT-9: 3.08 kg, MPT-9S: 2.54 kg, MPT-9K: 2.2 kg 375 m/s
Uzi 9x19 mm 640 mm (470 mm closed) 3.5 kg 390 m/s
PM-12S 9x19 mm 660mm (418 mm closed)
3.2 kg NA 150 m-200 m 20-32-40 round
Muzzle Velocity: MPT-9/9S: 400 m/s, MPT-9K:
Effective Range: MPT-9/9S: 100 m, MPT-9K: 25 100 m
30 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 prerevolution 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 hostagerescue 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 Cartridge: Length: Weight: Muzzle Velocity: Max Range: Effective Range: ROF: Magazine: 7.62x39
KLS: 890 mm, KLF: 895 mm (655 folded), KLT: 895 mm (690 folded)
Sayyad 5.56 5.56x45 mm
G3 7.62x51 mm
Khaybar 5.56x45 mm
G3A3: 1,025 mm, G3A4: Short: 680 mm, Middle: 1,025 mm (collapsed: 840 730 mm, Long: 780 mm mm) G3A3: 4.4 kg, G3A4: 4.7 kg 3.7 kg
KLS: 3.57 kg, KLS: 3.80 kg, 3.2 kg KLT: 3.60 kg
715 m/s 2,000 m 300 m 600 rnd/min 30 round detachable
990 m/s 2,653 m 460 m 700-950 rnd/min 20 or 30 round detachable
800 m/s NA 400 m 500-600 rnd/min 20 round detachable
900-950 m/s 2,500 m 450 m 800-850 20 or 30 round 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 under-folding metal stock and the KLT, with a sideways folding stock. All KLS (top) and KLF (bottom) 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 AK47 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 olivegreen 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 of the M-16A1. It uses both 20 and 30 round magazines. 1st generation KH-2002 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 Cartridge: Length: Weight: Effective Range: Max Range: ROF: Feed: 7.62x51 mm 1.22 m 10.5 kg 800 m 4000 m 1000-1300 rnd/min belt PKM 7.62x54 1.19 m 7.90 kg 825 m/s 1500 m 3800 m DShK 1.59 m 32.32 kkg 800 m/s 3,300 m 7,000 m Akhgar NA NA NA 2000 km NA 4000-6000 rnd/min belt
12.7x108 mm 7.62x51 mm
Muzzle Velocity: 820 m/s
650 rnd/min 600 rnd/min Belt or drum 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.
IRIA MG3 on parade PK Machine-gun 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 automaticonly 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 Cartridge: Length: Weight: Effective Range: Magazine: NA = Unknown SVD 7.62x54 mm 1225 mm 4.30 kg 600 m 10 round detachable magazine
HS .50 12.7x99 1370 mm 12.4 kg NA 1,500 m None
W-03 12.7x 'XX' mm NA 112 kg NA 2,000 m Unknown
Muzzle Velocity: 830 m/s
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 to the Iraqi insurgency, a fear which ultimately proved unfounded.
Sayyad-2 on display
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.
18.104.22.168 – Other Infantry Support Weapons Mark 19 AGL IR-19* Cartridge: Length: Weight: Effective Range: Max Range: ROF: Feed: 40x53 mm 1.09 m 35.3 kg 1500 m 2200 m 300-400 r/m Belt
Great Prophet 5 Wargames - 2010
* = assuming equivalent to Mk. 19 mod 3. Also, the designation “IR-19” is purely provisional in the same way 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.
Caliber: Weight: Length: ROF:
2A42 30 mm 115 kg 3.0 m 300-600 r/m
Caliber: Weight: Length: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: Max Range:
HEI 30 mm .83 kg .14 m 960 m/s 1,500-3000 m NA
APT 30 mm .85 kg .14 m 970 m/s 1,500-3000 m NA
NA = unknown or not applicable
While originally mounted on Iran's BMP2’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
22.214.171.124 - 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 Caliber: Weight: Length: Warhead: Nader/Fath Caliber Warhead: Weight: Length: Penetration: Lethal Radius Velocity: 80-85 mm RDX HEAT 2.4 kg 90 cm NA 300 m/s Nafez/Optimized Fath 93 mm* HMX HEAT 2.65 kg 101 cm NA 120 m/s 500 m Tandem 80-85 mm Tandem RDX HEAT 2.6 kg 115 cm 270- 300 mm + ERA NA 300 m/s 300 m Saeqeh/Fath 1 40 mm** RDX HE-FRAG 1.4 kg 31 mm NA 7 m*** 150 m/s 180 m 40 mm 6.6 kg 95 cm RPG-7 Commando RPG-7 - Breakdown 40 mm 5.28 73.8 cm 40 mm NA NA
270-300 mm 500 mm
Effective Range: 400 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 RPG7D. 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 PG7V 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
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.
An Israeli official inspects a tandemwarhead rocket recovered from the Karine-A, a vessel used by the Iranians to smuggle arms to the Palestinians.
RPG-18 RPG-18 Caliber: Weight: Length: Penetration: Muzzle Velocity: Effective Range: 64 mm 2.6 kg .70 m (1.05 m extended) 375 mm RHA 115 m/s 200 m
A poor quality image showing a soldier from 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 Caliber: Weight: Length: Width: Height: Elevation: Traverse: ROF: Effective Range: 73 mm 47.5 kg 2.11 m .99 m .80 m -3 - 7 30 6 rnd/min 800 m M-40 105 mm 209.5 kg 3.40 m NA 1.12 m -17 - 65 360 1 rnd/min 1,350 m Caliber Type: Weight: Length: PFF HE HE 9.89 kg NA M344A1 HEAT HEAT 7.96 kg .99 m >400 mm RHA Zafar 73 mm HEAT 4.39 kg NA 350 mm RHA 105 mm 105 mm
Muzzle Velocity: 250-400 m/s 503 m/s
NA = unknown or not applicable
Recoilless rifles, both the SPG-9 and the M40, 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 Weight: Length: Diameter: Wingspan: Warhead: 18.5 kg 1.16 m 150 mm .45 m 3.6 kg HEAT Toofan-2 19.1 kg 1.45 m 150 mm .45 m 4.1 kg HEAT** Toofan-5 ~19.1 kg* ~1.51 m* 150 mm .45 m ~5.9 kg HEAT* Qaem NA NA 150 mm .45 m NA NA NA NA 2-3 rnd/min Beam-riding / wire-guided SACLOS
Penetration 550 mm RHA : Eff. Range: ROF: Guidance: 3,500 m 2-3 rnd/min Wire-guided SACLOS Max Speed: 310 m/s
760 mm RHA** ~900 mm RHA* 3,500 m 310 m/s 2-3 rnd/min Wire-guided SACLOS NA NA 2-3 rnd/min Beam-riding / Wire-guided 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. 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.
From left to right, Toofan-2, Toofan-1, Toofan-1, and and modified Toofan-2
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 topdown 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 Weight: Length: Diameter: Wingspan: Warhead: Penetration: Max Range: Max Speed: Guidance: 10.9 kg .83 m 120 mm NA HEAT NA 3,000 m 120 m/s Raad-T NA .98 m 120 mm NA HEAT 400 mm RHA 3,000 m 120 m/s I-Raad 10.9 kg .83 m 120 mm NA HEAT 500 mm RHA 3,000 m 120 m/s Wire-guided SACLOS I-Raad-T NA .98 m 120 mm NA HEAT 400 mm RHA 3,000 m 120 m/s Wire-guided SACLOS
Wire-guided Wire-guided MCLOS MCLOS
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 Weight: Length: Diameter: Wingspan: Warhead: Penetration: Max Speed: ROF: Guidance: NA = unknown 11.5 kg NA 120 mm NA HEAT 480 m 186 m/s 2-3 rnd/min Wire-guided SACLOS AT-5 Spandrel / Tosan-1 / M-113 24.6 kg 1.26 m 130 mm .46 m 3.2 kg HEAT 925 m 4,000 km 200 m/s 2-3 rnd/min Wire-guided SACLOS
Effective Range: 2,500 m
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 manportable 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 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 Weight: Length: Diameter: Warhead: 31.4 kg 1.62 m .13 m 5.3 kg HEAT 9M120 AT-9 NA 1.83 m .13 m .36 m 5-8 kg HEAT 800 RHA 6 km
IRGC aviation Mi-17 equipped with the AT-6 Spiral. Source: Internet
Wingspan: .36 m Penetration 560 mm RHA : Effective Range: Guidance:
NA = unknown
Max Speed: 345 m/s Radio SACLOS
550 m/s Radio SACLOS
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: Length: Diameter: Warhead: 17.2 kg .69 m 125 mm 3.5 kg tandem HEAT
Penetration 700 mm RHA : Effective Range: 4 km
A Tondar being fired from a T-72S as illustrated by MODLEX
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 Weight: Length: Diameter: Wingspan: Warhead: Penetration: Max Speed: Guidance: 6.1 kg .74 m 127 mm NA HEAT 500 mm RHA 100 m/s wire-guided SACLOS Saeqeh-2 7.4 kg 1m 127 mm NA Tandem HEAT 650 mm RHA 1,094 m 92 m/s wire-guided SACLOS
Effective Range: 1,094 m
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 noseprobe 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 Weight: Height: Width: Explosive Content: Operating Pressure: Lethal Radius: 3.4 kg 90 mm 232 mm 2 kg Comp B 150-300 kg 50 m YM-II-E 3.4 kg 90 mm 232 mm 1.6 kg Comp B 150-300 30 m YM-III 6.9 kg 110 mm 270 mm 5.7 Comp B 450-900 kg 1,000 m YM-16 NA NA NA NA NA NA M-19 12.56 kg 94 mm 332 mm 9.53 kg Comp B 118-226 kg 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.
126.96.36.199 – 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.
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.
One design of body armor offered for export
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
CBW Equipment - A lesson learned from the Iran-Iraq war, one of the first areas Iran sought be selfsufficient in was CBW-protection gear including detectors, protective suits, all the way up to full scale truck-transported decontamination centers.
188.8.131.52 – 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: 77th MID, 1st Brig. HQ 36°16'53.83"N th nd 77 MID, 2 Brig. HQ 36°16'54.62"N th rd 77 MID, 3 Brig HQ 37°29'0.08"N th st 84 MID, 1 Brig. HQ 33°25'58.92"N th nd 84 MID, 2 Brig. HQ 33°32'5.07"N 28th MID, 1st Brig. HQ 35°20'10.64"N 28th MID, 2nd Brig.HQ 35°32'6.72"N th rd 28 MID, 3 Brig.HQ 36°13'56.70"N th 64 ID HQ 37°32'21.57"N th 30 ID HQ 36°50'19.99"N 21st ID, 1st Brig. HQ 38° 3'40.45"N 21st ID, 2nd Brig. HQ 37°20'46.32"N st rd 21 ID, 3 Brig. HQ 38°26'20.40"N nd st 92 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 31°19'55.70"N 92nd AD, 2nd Brig. HQ 32°24'26.29"N st st 81 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 34°17'31.78"N st nd 81 AD, 2 Brig. HQ 34° 7'6.38"N st rd 81 AD, 3 Brig HQ 34°28'37.78"N th st 16 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 36°17'17.75"N 16th AD, 2nd Brig. HQ 36°41'22.92"N th st 88 AD, 1 Brig. HQ 29°28'49.01"N th nd 88 AD, 2 Brig. HQ 28°14'27.19"N th rd 88 AD, 3 Brig. HQ 31° 2'32.81"N th 38 AB 35°14'31.91"N 25th CB 36°48'46.46"N 23rd CD 35°30'22.00"N th 55 ArBn 29°37'4.00"N th 65 ArBn 35°39'46.01"N 11th AG 37°20'43.57"N nd 22 AG 31°57'24.18"N th 55 AG 32°37'9.57"N
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
Longitude: 59°34'59.61"E 58°47'52.08"E 57°19'34.96"E 48°16'5.65"E 48° 8'17.63"E 46°58'21.67"E 46°12'8.74"E 46°15'6.88"E 45° 3'44.15"E 54°26'53.10"E 46°18'4.49"E 46°10'28.21"E 45°43'47.26"E 48°39'35.70"E 48°23'30.10"E 47° 4'23.66"E 34° 7'6.38"N 45°48'39.46"E 50° 1'55.37"E 48°29'5.15"E 60°52'11.79"E 61° 9'27.29"E 61°30'29.72"E 60°36'36.14"E 45°16'35.10"E 51° 0'59.00"E 52°30'37.00"E 51°30'16.32"E 46°10'28.27"E 51°49'19.66"E 51°37'43.09"E
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
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