Iran’s Defense Ministry says it plans to overhaul and manufacture up to 800 tanks as part of the country’s plans to boost its defense power. The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) will receive between 700 to 800 domestically-built tanks, including Karrar (Striker), Deputy Defense Minister Reza Mozaffari-Nia said, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday.
Mozaffarinia said Iran manufactures 50-60 tanks every year to meet the needs of the IRGC and Army. He did not specify whether Iran’s fleet of Soviet-era T-72S and T-72M1 tanks would be updated, but Tasnim said procurement would include the Karrar battle tank. Separately, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said on Tuesday that Iran is seeking to begin joint military equipment production with Pakistan.
Despite its visual similarity to the Russian T-90MS tank, the Iranian Karrar advanced battle tank is a new local development. It possesses a modern electro-optical fire control system, a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer. The Karrar is fitted with a new welded turret armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun enabling to fire laser-guided missiles, and has a remotely operated 12.7mm machine gun. As for the armor protection of the tank, it has reactive armor tiles to protect against anti-tank shells, rockets, and missiles. The Karrar is fitted with latest generation of armour, with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) at the front of the hull and turret.
An international pariah for its support of terrorism and its recently suspended nuclear program, Iran has been under various sanctions for decades and has taken to making low-quality knockoff tanks. Iran has over the past years made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and hardware. The Islamic Republic says its military power poses no threat to other countries and is merely based on the doctrine of deterrence. But this isn’t the first time Iran fibbed about building tank.