Armor: May 31, 2002

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The Islamic Republic of Iran's production lines for the Ra'd-2 ("Thunder-2") self-propelled 155mm artillery piece and the T-72S main battle tanks were inaugurated in Tehran on 26 May. The Ra'd-2 is the result of a seven years work by Armor Industry Group of the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics experts and designers. The Ra'd-2's layout is similar to the United Defense M109A1 155mm/39-cal self-propelled howitzer, although is uses T-72-style road wheels. The Ra'd-2 has a high rate of fire, can use "smart" weapons and is fitted with ultra-modern automatic fire guidance systems. One of the largest tank-manufacturing complexes for the T-72S tank was inaugurated under the auspices of the Defense Industries Organization in Dorud. They plan to produce 400 T-72S tanks, with assistance from Moscow. The Islamic Republic also plans to produce 300 "Zulfikar" tanks per year, with 125-mm cannon and night vision devices. Iran intends to market it's upgraded tank at half the market price, to such customers as Iran's leading ally Syria, as well as Libya and Yemen. In addition, Tehran is developing a new armored personnel carrier at its main military production base at Kolehduz. - Adam Geibel

 


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