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Karrar (Striker) tank

A senior Iranian commander said 03 March 2017 that the Islamic Republic was set to unveil a domestically manufactured battle tank in coming days. Karrar (Striker) tank will be unveiled in the coming days in a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan told reporters. He added that the battle tank will join Iranian Army's Ground Forces soon. Pourdastan said that the country plans to purchase T-90 tanks from Russia too. In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and conducted numerous military drills.

In March 2017 Tehran kicked off the mass production of a main battle tank called Karrar at a ceremony attended by Iran’s defense minister. The tank appeared to have a design similar to Russia’s T-90MS. Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan praised Iran’s new tank at the event, the Iranian media reported 12 March 2017. “The tank can compete with the most advanced tanks in the world in the three main areas of power, precision and mobility, as well as maintenance and durability in the battleground,” the minister said. Dehqan said the Karrar has advanced features like an electro-optical fire control system, a laser rangefinder, and a ballistic computer. It can also fire guided missiles.

Only the official "premiere" of the newest Iranian tank took place on 12 March 2017. The existence of this machine became known for a long time - back in August last year. A previously unknown combat vehicle was spotted in the video for Defense Industry Day. Soon, several new photos and the name of the development became public. According to the information received, the new project was named "Karrar" ("Attacker"). Famous photographs allowed experts and the public to practice determining the real characteristics of technology and predicting its prospects.

Also, on 12 March 2017, important statements were made regarding the future of the Carrar tanks. As it turned out, by now the Iranian industry has managed to prepare for the serial production of such equipment. The new tanks will be built by the Bani Hashem industrial complex, located near the city of Dorud (Lorestan province). Moreover, production has already begun. Were published footage from the workshops of the enterprise, showing many promising machines at different stages of assembly.

In accordance with its "traditions", the Iranian command is in no hurry to announce plans regarding the pace and volume of production of promising equipment. Published information and personnel suggest that there are at least half a dozen tanks in Bani-Hashem's shops. When these machines leave the assembly shop and how many pieces of equipment will follow them in the future is unknown.

The announcement came months after Iran suspended talks with Moscow on buying main battle tanks from Russia. Tehran said it was not interested in the deal unless technology sharing was included. Initially, Iran planned to buy Russian T-90SM tanks, and there were several meetings between Russian and Iranian delegations. But finally the Iranian defense minister said that Tehran would develop own tanks.

It is no coincidence that specialists regarded the Karrar as some kind of a copy of the Russian-made T-90SM, the most advanced modification of the T-90 platform, according to retired Maj. Gen. Vladimir Bogatyrev, chair of the Board of the Russian National Association of Retired Military Officers. According to the first assumptions, the Karrar was in fact a licensed copy of the Russian T-90MS main tank. However, new data on the project showed that the Iranian tank is not an exact copy of the Russian vehicle, although it looks like it. In this regard, there are grounds to believe that the Karrar project is based on some Soviet / Russian developments, which in one way or another became the property of Iranian industry.

In addition to Russian tanks, the Karrar also compiled notable details of certain Western-made armored machines. It is based on the T-72 platform, but it also has something from the American Abrams and M-60 tanks. Some elements are borrowed from the M-48 and the British Chieftain tank. They took all these elements and tried to design their own tank.

Karrar (outwardly similar to the Russian T-90S), was finalized in February 2016 by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehkan. He said that the new machine is capable of using anti-tank guided missiles, equipped with modern aiming complexes and fire control systems (including a thermal sight, laser range finder, ballistic computer), as well as navigation and radio communications systems. According to the minister, Karrar is comparable in its performance characteristics to the Russian T-90Sand can compete with advanced foreign developments "in power, accuracy and mobility." It was also reported for the October 2016 test runs of active defense system Iran tank development , which in the future will be equipped with Karrar. According to the commander of the ground forces of the Iranian army, Ahmad Reza Purdastan, the Iranian industry possesses "technological know-how for the production of new-generation battle tanks and advanced military equipment."

In terms of overall architecture, the latest Iranian tank is a traditional vehicle. A tracked chassis with its own armor and hinged additional protection was used. All weapons are located in the turret, and some specific devices are used that are characteristic of modern combat vehicles. It is claimed that the Carrar tank has the most advanced onboard equipment, is capable of overcoming various obstacles and attacking a variety of targets in various conditions. The exact specifications, however, have not yet been announced. The design and shape of the "Carrara" hull remided observers of the Soviet T-72 tank and its many modifications. The Iranian vehicle received a hull with differentiated armor, built according to the classic layout with a central fighting compartment and aft engine compartment. Apparently, the frontal parts of the hull are combined armor with a relatively high level of protection.

Taking into account modern trends in the development of armored vehicles, Iranian designers have created a complex of additional attachments designed to enhance the vehicle's own armor. The frontal projection of the hull, with the exception of the fenders, is covered with dynamic protection units. Several side blocks are smaller and function as a headlight base. Smaller ERA units are placed in several rows on the side screens. With the help of such blocks, protection of the control compartment and the fighting compartment is provided. The sides of the engine compartment are covered with lattice screens. The feed has no additional protection.

The Iranian tank received a welded polygonal turret, also similar to some Russian designs. It has small in area central frontal sheets with embrasures, on each side of which there are larger side ones, placed at an angle to the longitudinal axis. The sides are also mounted at an angle, forming a tapering structure. There is also a rectangular aft niche, significantly removed from the shoulder strap. The entire frontal projection of the turret is equipped with dynamic protection units that form a wedge-shaped profile structure. There is no such protection on the roof and sides. The stern niche is covered with lattice screens at the side and rear.

The features of the power plant of the promising model, unfortunately, are unknown. It can be assumed that a diesel engine of relatively high power is placed in the aft compartment of the hull, but the type and characteristics of this product have not yet been officially specified. At the same time, it is hardly surprising if it soon turns out that the Carrar tank received a Russian engine and transmission.

The chassis of the tank is based on foreign developments. On each side of the hull there are six medium-diameter road wheels. The rollers appear to be given individual torsion bar suspension. Several supporting rollers are located above them. In the front part of the hull there are idler wheels with track tensioners, in the stern - driving wheels. The characteristic appearance of the caterpillar suggests the use of finished products.

Soon after the appearance of the first photographs of "Carrara", a plausible assumption appeared, according to which this tank is equipped with a 125-mm smooth-bore gun of the Russian design 2A46 or some system that is its direct development. The reason for such suspicions was the recognizable appearance of the gun: the tank carries a long-barreled gun with an ejector and a heat-shielding casing. An interesting innovation of the Iranian-developed gun mount was an additional casing, which is part of the mask. Almost the entire section of the barrel from the breech to the ejector is covered with a square casing, which gives the tank an unusual appearance. The main weapon of the tank is equipped with an automatic loader. The presence of a developed turret aft niche suggests that some of the ammunition is located there.

The Karrar tank is equipped with a new energy package to increase speed and mobility in all conditions and terrain. The torsion bar suspension consists on each side of six road wheels with an idler gear at the front, a drive sprocket in the rear and three return rollers to support the inside track. To increase the operational range of the tank, two 200-liter diesel fuel barrels can be added to the rear of the hull.

Standard equipment for the Karrar tank includes NBC overpressure protection system, night vision equipment for all three crew members, photoelectric fire control system, laser range finder and ballistic computer, all crew members have digital control panels in addition to a new battle management system to enhance combat effectiveness Tanks with integrated digital battle maps, situational awareness system, communication and sensing systems. Karrar is equipped with a new independent sighting device for the tank commander. The gunner has a daytime scope and a thermal imager to control the fire, which enables the system to work day and night, in fixed and mobile operations mode, providing rapid advancement and high accuracy.

The tank is said to have received the most advanced fire control equipment. The composition of the MSA used was not specified. At the same time, published photos and videos show that the vehicle has two periscopic sights on the turret roof. The video signal from both scopes is displayed on the screens of the commander and gunner's workplaces. The armored vehicle is equipped with a set of meteorological sensors. A rod with similar devices is located on the roof of the turret, in front of the aft niche.

The composition of auxiliary weapons is standard for this class of armored vehicles. A coaxial machine gun of a rifle caliber is mounted on one installation with a cannon. The second similar weapon is located on the roof of the turret. In accordance with modern requirements for main tanks, the Carrar project provides for the use of a remotely controlled weapon station. At the rear of the turret roof is a platform on which there is a swivel U-shaped structure with mountings for a swinging block with a machine gun. The control over the operation of the module is carried out from the workplaces of the crew without the need to go beyond the protected volume. On the sides of the turret, there are places for the installation of two groups of smoke grenade launchers, seven items each.

The Iranian tank's crew consists of three people: a driver, commander and gunner. The driver is placed at the front of the hull and into his seat through the sunroof. The other two tankers are in the turret. To the left of the gun is the gunner, to the right is the commander. There are hatches above their places in the roof of the turret. In this case, the right hatch is located on the commander's cupola with periscopic devices providing all-round visibility. The workplaces of the tankers in the turret are equipped with modern equipment for monitoring and controlling the onboard systems. Basic information and video signal from the scope are displayed on color LCD screens. Other elements of the fighting compartment equipment are also based on modern components.

There is some reason to believe that in terms of size and weight characteristics, the new Iranian main battle tank "Carrar" hardly differs from the Russian T-90MS, with which it has sufficient external similarity. In this case, the combat mass of the armored vehicle should reach 46-48 tons. Assessment of the characteristics of mobility is not possible due to the lack of accurate data on the type and parameters of the power plant. One can only assume that the Iranian vehicle is not inferior to the equipment based on the T-72 in terms of its driving characteristics. The Karrar nomenclature had previously been applied to an unmanned combat air vehicle developed for the military of Iran, first unveiled on August 23, 2010.

Iran's tank fleet needs replacing. The current line up of T-54/55/59/62 are now well past their "sell by date" and wouldn't survive more than a few minutes on a modern battlefield against modern MBTs.

No more than 5-6 tank corps or turrets are simultaneously present in one shot, which can be considered the minimum amount of equipment collected at the time of shooting. One can only guess about the upper limit of the number of tanks simultaneously assembled in Dorud. According to various sources, the plant could build up to several dozen armored vehicles per month. Thus, with appropriate financing and the exertion of all forces, the industrial complex, in theory, is capable of reaching high rates of production.

Nevertheless, such assessments of the potential of Iranian tank building may be overly optimistic. Due to the limited financial and production capabilities, the real rates of production of armored vehicles should be noticeably lower than the maximum possible calculated. So, the most massive tank of Iranian development is the Zulfikar vehicle. Since the mid-nineties, the country's industry has been able to build less than three hundred of these machines in several modifications.

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