Armor: Iran Reveals a New Retro-Tech ATGM


May 6, 2023: The Iranian IRGC (Islamic Republic Guard Corps) announced Sadid-365, a new ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) with a range of 8 kilometers and designed to hit the thinner armor on the top of a tank. On closer examination Sadid-365 is crude, limited and not very accurate. The missile weighs about 25 kg (55 pounds) and is launched and guided manually via a data link to an operator in the launch vehicle who guides the missile to its target. This type of guidance system does not provide pinpoint accuracy and has the missile hit within a five meter circle. A video of a test launch against an armored vehicle showed the missile hitting the tank tracks rather than the top. Since the missile follows a ballistic trajectory it can only be guided to distant targets between, at best, 7,000 and 8,000 meters. Sadid-365 appears to be useful only in clear weather during daylight. Iran used an old BMP IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) with the turret replaced by a four missile launcher. The missile operator was inside the vehicle.

Iran has become obsessed with these "propaganda weapons," where they hack something together from an existing system and proclaim it to be a breakthrough weapon "designed and manufactured in Iran." It's all rather pathetic, and it all began during the 1980s, when Iran and Iraq were fighting a nasty war. Some of the hacks worked, after a fashion. Iran created a longer range SCUD missile by the simple expedient of lengthening the missile with a larger fuel tank. This changed the flight characteristics of the missile but since these things were being fired at city size (as in Baghdad) targets, it didn't matter. Actually, the Iranians didn't really need the longer range missiles because Baghdad was pretty close to the Iranian border. Iran actually got the technology for these SCUD mods from North Korea but Iranian press releases always touted the achievement as being the work of Iranian scientists and engineers.

Every year the Iranian media features several new weapons described as locally designed and produced. This is to improve morale among a population that knows the country has been under an international arms embargo since the 1980s. Some of the new wonder weapons announced earlier included a cruise missile with 200 kilometer range and a submarine torpedo designed for shallow coastal waters. There was also a new 73mm missile that appeared to be a small, unguided rocket, albeit with a good press agent. All of this stuff was fluff, with a bit of recycled reality to back it up. If you go back and look at the many Iranian announcements of newly developed, high tech weapons, all you find is a photo op for a prototype. Sadid-365 went beyond the photo op by adding a larger rocket motor to the older, UAV launched Sadid-345 guided missile that used a more expensive guidance system that did not require operator control.

Production versions of these propaganda weapons rarely show up. It’s all feel-good propaganda for the religious dictatorship that runs Iran and needs a steady supply of good news for its supporters, at least the ones who do not examine the new weapons with much scrutiny.




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