Iranian Army Zulfiqar-1
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||Iran|
|Number built||100 Zulfiqar 1 in 2001|
|Variants||Zulfiqar 2, Zulfiqar 3|
|Specifications (Zulfiqar 1)|
|Length||7 m (23 ft 0 in)|
|Width||3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)|
|125 mm smoothbore tank gun|
|12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns|
|Engine|| 12-cyl. diesel|
780 hp (630 kW)
|Transmission||6-gear SPAT 1200 automatic transmission|
|450 km (280 mi)|
|Speed||70 km/h (43 mph)|
Zulfiqar (Persian: ذوالفقار) 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, the legendary sword of the first Shia Imam Hazrat Ali.
The test prototypes of the tank were evaluated in 1993. Six semi-industrial prototypes of the tank were produced and tested in 1997.
The tank has a distinctive box-shaped, steel-welded turret of local design. The Zulfiqar is believed to be developed from major components of the Russian T-72 and American M48 and M60 tanks. The suspension is modelled on the M48 /M60 Patton tanks supplied to Iran by the U.S. The SPAT 1200 transmission also seems to be a local development of that of the M-60. Zulfiqar combat weight is reported to be 36 tonnes and has a 780 hp diesel engine; the tank has a 21.7 hp per ton ratio. Some sources see resemblances between the Zulfiqar design and the Brazilian prototype Osório.
The Zulfiqar is operated by a crew of three personnel. The automatic loader is believed to be the same one from the T-72 tank.
The tank is armed with a 125 mm smoothbore gun 2A46 derived from the T-72, which is fitted with a fume extractor. Its secondary armament consists of a 7.62 mm coaxial and a 12.7 mm machine gun. For the Zulfiqar/T-72 fleet, the Ammunition Group of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization mass-produces a standard high explosive 23 kilograms (51 lb) propellant charge which fires the 3 kg warhead at a muzzle velocity of 850 metres per second (2,800 ft/s). The Zulfiqar-1 uses the Slovenian EFCS-3 fire control system, the same model used on the Type 72Z ("Safir-74"), providing 'fire-on-the-move' technology. The Zulfiqar allegedly mounts a laser-warning pod on the turret. Its design enables the tank to use an Iranian-made package of reactive armor.
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 Zulfiqar-1 is based on the M60 Patton model acquired under the pre-revolution era. The Zulfigar-1 was first revealed in public in 1994. A total of six prototypes were completed and field tested in 1997. The Zulfiqar-1 is protected by a welded steel hull and the main gun is reinforced by a composite armour. The Zulfiqar-1 is armed with a 125mm Smoothbore gun taken from T-72.
The Zulfiqar-2 is an interim main battle tank prototype used as a test bed. This variant is fitted with a new and more powerful engine. It has an extended chassis and possibly use an improved autoloader.
The Zulfiqar-3 is the most advanced variant of the Zulfiqar family. It features considerable upgrades to the fire control system, chassis, engine and main gun. The new variant use the 2A46 125 mm smoothbore cannon with a autoloader. The Zulfiqar-3 use a laser rangefinder and new fire control. The Zulfiqar-3 is fitted with an reinforced turret. The wheels are covered by an armoured skirt.
- ↑ Iranian Ground Forces Equipment globalsecurity.com
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Zulfiqar
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Cordesman & Kleiber, page 46
- ↑ Tucker, Spencer (2004). Tanks: an illustrated history of their impact. ABC-CLIO, p. 164. ISBN 1576079953
- ↑ Strategy Page, 25 November 1999, article signed by Stephen V. Cole
- ↑ "Zulfiqar 2 Main Battle Tank". http://www.military-today.com/tanks/zulfiqar_2.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- ↑ "The Zulfiqar 2 main battle tank". http://www.military-today.com/tanks/zulfiqar_1.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- ↑ "Iran to Unveil New Generation of Zolfaqar Tanks". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20120301004554/http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8902281623. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- ↑ "The Iranian Zulfiqar Main Battle Tank". http://www.tanknutdave.com/component/content/article/78. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- Cordesman, Anthony H. & Kleiber, Martin (2007). Iran's Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities: The Threat in the Northern Gulf. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0313346127
- Description of the different versions (French)
- ACIG.org: Photos of the Zulfiqar 3 at a 2003 parade in Tehran
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