Artillery: Iran Can Get It For You Cheap


February 17, 2010: Iran recently announced that it had set up new production facilities for 130mm artillery and 120mm mortar ammunition. The 130mm gun (either the Russian original, or Chinese knock-offs) is the most common artillery in Iranian service. The 120mm mortar is even more numerous, but is not considered artillery, since it has a shorter range (about 7 kilometers) and is usually found in infantry units. The 120mm mortar shell weighs about 35 pounds. The 130mm gun is a World War II design that fires a 70 pound shell to a range of 30 kilometers or more. The 120mm mortar shell is low tech, but the 130mm gun shells require more attention to the quality of metal, and manufacturing.

For decades, Iran has had some success in selling small arms, mortars and ammunition, but has not become a major player in the worlds arms sales. Much of the ammunition it sells is for American and European weapons (7.62mm rifle and machine-gun ammo, and 81mm mortar shells.) But even this sector, where Iran competes by offering lower prices, is being eroded as major producers like Russia are also beginning to sell lots of ammo for American weapons.