Iran’s military could receive up to 800 domestically manufactured tanks as part of a plan to modernize the country’s defense capabilities, Deputy Defense Minister for Armed Forces Logistics Reza Mozaffarinia said.
The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are set to receive between 700 and 800 new and refurbished tanks as part of the plan, Tasnim News Agency reported Mozaffarinia as saying on Wednesday, July 18.
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.
During a visit to Islamabad, Baqeri said he discussed naval cooperation, pilot training, military exercises, defense industry links during meetings with Chief of Pakistani Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and President Mamnoon Hussain.
Iran’s Karrar tank
According to the website GlobalFirepower, Iran is known to have more than 1,600 tanks and 2,200 armored fighting vehicles.
Iran unveiled the Karrar tank in March 2017, saying it had been fully designed and manufacturered domestically.
Before it was first displayed, Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan claimed that the Karrar was one of the most advanced tanks in the world, comparing it favorably to Russia’s third-generation battle T-90 tank.
However, the Karrar’s close resemblance to the T-90 has prompted questions whether it is a indigenous version of the T-90MS or whether Karrar, which means Striker, is Iran’s name for the Russian tank.
The Karrar can carry three crew and is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun and remotely-operated weapon station with a 12mm machine gun at the rear. It includes thermal imaging and a laser rangefinder, and can discharge smoke grenades from the turret.
Russia’s Sputnik news reported last year that Russian military specialists regarded the Karrar as a copy of the T-90MS main battle tank, and suggested that it was based on the T-90 with elements from U.S. Abrams and British Chieftain tanks.