Zulfiqar tank

Zulfiqar (tank)

Zulfiqar (or Zolfaqar) is a second generation Iranian main battle tank (MBT), conceived by Brigadier General Mir-Younes Masoumzadeh, deputy ground force commander for research and self-sufficiency of the armed forces. It is named after Zulfiqar, a legendary sword. The testing prototypes of the tank were tested in 1993. Six semi-industrial prototypes of the tank were produced and tested in 1997.

Design specifications

The tank is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun, derived from the T-72, and is fitted with a fume extractor which may be fed from an automatic loader. The suspension is modeled from the Patton M-48/M-60s that were sold to Iran by the U.S. The Zulfiqar has a distinctive box-shaped turret. The Zulfiqar is a 40 tonne vehicle with a 1,000 hp diesel engine and a 125 mm smooth bore gun. For the Zulfiqar/T-72 fleet, the Ammunition Group of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization mass produces a standard High Explosive 23 kilogram tank shell firing a 3 kg warhead out the muzzle at 850 meters per second. The Zulfiqar-1 uses the Slovenian EFCS-3 Fire-Control system, the same kind used on the Safir-74, providing 'fire-on-the-move' technology.

Production

In April 1997 Acting Commander of the Ground Forces of the Iranian Army, Lieutenant General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani announced that the mass production of Zulfiqar tanks, which began in 1996, was still in progress. He stated that the manufacture of 520 different kinds of tank parts, 600 artillery parts, repair of 500 tanks and armored vehicles have been carried out. In late July 1997 Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani formally inaugurated a production line for the domestically manufactured Zulfiqar main battle tanks and Boragh tracked armoured personnel carrier. The facility, the Shahid Kolah Dooz Industrial Complex, will also produce the BMP-2 armored personnel carrier.

The most advanced of these, the Zulfiqar-3, is based on earlier American tanks, primarily M-48/M-60 models acquired under the pre-revolution era. The Zulfiqar-3 also features considerable upgrades to the fire control system, chassis, engine and main gun, with a 125mm autoloader. The Zulfiqar-1 is reportedly in service with certain elements of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (Pasdaran) and the Zulfiqar-2 is reportedly a test bed for future designs and upgrades. The Zulfiqar-3 is believed to have recently entered serial production.

See also

References

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