ⓘ Zulfiqar, tank. Zulfiqar is an Iranian main battle tank, conceived by Brigadier General Mir-Younes Masoumzadeh, deputy ground force commander for research and s ..


ⓘ Zulfiqar (tank)

Zulfiqar is an Iranian main battle tank, 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 Ali the fourth Caliph and the first Shiite Imam. Its also known as Zolfaqar.

The test prototypes of the tank were evaluated in 1993. Six semi-industrial prototypes of the tank were produced and tested in 1997.


1.1. Design specifications Features

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 Soviet 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-1s combat weight has been reported to be 36 tonnes with a 780 hp diesel engine; giving the tank a 21.7 hp per ton ratio. Some sources see resemblances between the Zulfiqar design and the Brazilian prototype Osorio.

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.

On 25 October 2016, Iran claimed they had successfully tested an active protection system on the Zulfiqar, based on pulse-doppler and phased-array radar systems equipped with four arms systems that can cover a full 360-degrees of sight.


1.2. Design specifications Armament

The tank is armed with a 125 mm smoothbore gun 2A46 derived from that of 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.


2. Production

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.


3.1. Variants Zulfiqar-1

The Zulfiqar-1 is based on the M48 Patton model acquired under the pre-revolution era. The Zulfiqar-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 turret is reinforced by a composite armour. The Zulfiqar-1 is armed with a 125mm Smoothbore gun taken from a T-72.


3.2. Variants Zulfiqar-2

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 uses an improved autoloader.


3.3. Variants Zulfiqar-3

The Zulfiqar-3, the most advanced variant of the Zulfiqar family, bears an uncanny resemblance to the American M1 Abrams. It features considerable upgrades to the fire-control system, chassis, engine and main gun. The new variant is equipped with the 2A46 125 mm smoothbore cannon with an autoloader, a laser rangefinder and a new fire-control system. It is also fitted with a reinforced turret and the wheels are covered by an armoured skirt. Research and development on the tank was completed in 1999 and the tank appeared in a military parade in 2011.

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