Equipment of the Iranian Army

Equipment of the Iranian Army
Iranian Army
Iranian Army Order of Battle
List of senior officers
Army Rank insignia
Current equipment
Military history of Iran
Historical equipment
Imperial Guard

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From 1925 to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran was equipped with the very latest Western hardware. Cases exist where Iran was supplied with equipment even before it was made standard in the countries that developed it (for example the US F-14 Tomcat, or the British Chieftain Tank). Primary suppliers included the United States, Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), Italy, Israel, and the Soviet Union.

The Iran–Iraq War, and post revolutionary sanctions at the time had a dramatic effect on Iran's inventory of western equipment. Under the pressures of war all supplies were quickly exhausted and replacements became increasingly difficult to come by. The war eventually forced Iran to turn towards the Soviet Union, North Korea, Pakistan, Brazil, and China to meet its short term military requirements. Initial developments in every field of military technology were carried out with the technical support of Russia, Pakistan, China, and North Korea to lay the foundations for future industries.

Iranian reliance on these countries has rapidly decreased over the last decade in most sectors where Iran sought to gain total independence; however, in some sectors such as the Aerospace sector and missile technology Iran is still greatly reliant on external help. Iran has developed the capacity to reverse engineer existing foreign hardware, adapt it to its own requirements and then manufacture the finished product. Examples of this are the Boragh and the IAMI Azarakhsh. In an attempt to make its military industries more sustainable Iran has also sought to export its military products.


Infantry weapons

Small arms

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
PC-9 ZOAF Semi-automatic pistol  Switzerland/ Iran 9 mm pistol, unlicenced local production variant of the Swiss SIG P-226
M1911A1 Semi-automatic pistol  United States .45 ACP pistol.[1][2]
MPT-9 Submachine gun  Germany/ Iran Heckler & Koch MP5 manufactured under licence
Uzi[3] Submachine gun  Israel
Nakhjir Sniper rifle  Soviet Union/ Iran SVD manufactured under license
Steyr HS .50 Anti-material rifle  Austria
S.5'56 Assault rifle  Iran Copy of the Norinco CQ
Khaybar KH2002 Assault rifle  Iran Iranian designed 5.56x45 mm bullpup rifle
AKM Assault rifle  Soviet Union
Type 56 Assault rifle  China Chinese AKM clone
KL-7.62 Assault rifle  Iran Iranian copy of the Chinese Type 56. Possibly produced under license
H&K G3A6 Battle rifle  Germany/ Iran Licenced production,[4] main service rifle
MGA3 General purpose machine gun  Germany/ Iran Licenced production[4]
PKM-T80 General purpose machine gun  Soviet Union/ Iran Local production
MGD Heavy machine gun  Soviet Union/ Iran Local production

Infantry anti-tank weapons/unguided

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
SPG-9 Recoilless rifle  Soviet Union
RPG-7 Rocket propelled grenade  Soviet Union
Type 69 RPG Rocket propelled grenade  China Chinese copy of Russian RPG-7.
Saegheh Rocket propelled grenade  Iran Improved version of the RPG-7.
RPG-29 Rocket propelled grenade  Soviet Union

Anti-tank guided missile

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Toophan Anti-tank guided missile  Iran Reverse engineered of early BGM-71A TOW missile
Toophan 2 Anti-tank guided missile  Iran Reverse engineered US BGM-71C TOW
Toophan 5 Anti-tank/Anti-helicopter guided missile  Iran Upgraded BGM-71C TOW with laser beam riding guidance system.
Saeghe 1/2 Anti-tank guided missile  Iran reverse engineered M47 Dragon [5]
9K11 Malyutka Anti-tank guided missile  Soviet Union
9K111 Fagot Anti-tank guided missile  Soviet Union
9M113 Konkurs Anti-tank guided missile  Soviet Union/ Iran built as Towsan-1 or M-113 in Iran
9K115-2 Metis-M Anti-tank guided missile  Russia/ Iran produced under license from Russia
MILAN Anti-tank guided missile  France captured during Iran-Iraq War, probably no longer in service


Armored fighting vehicles

Armored fighting vehicles[6]
Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Cobra BMT-2 Armored personnel carrier 590 1997  Iran
Boragh Armored personnel carrier 140  Iran
M113 Armored personnel carrier 200  United States
BTR-50/BTR-60 Armored personnel carrier 300 1966  Soviet Union
MT-LB Armored personnel carrier N/A N/A  Soviet Union [7][verification needed]
Type 86/BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle 210  China
 Soviet Union
BMP-2 Infantry fighting vehicle 400 1991–2001  Soviet Union 1,500 ordered in 1991 from Russia and 413 were delivered between 1993 and 2001 of which 82 were delivered directly by Russia and 331 were assembled in Iran.[8] 100 were in service in 1995, 140 in 2000 and 400 in 2002, 2005 and 2008.[6] 400 are currently in service.[9]
Tosan/FV101 Scorpion Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance 80 1997  Iran/ United Kingdom Tosan is a domestically produced light Tank, based on the FV101 Scorpion
EE-9 Cascavel Armored car 35  Brazil
Zulfiqar MBT 1-3 Main Battle Tank ~100 1996–present  Iran
Chieftain Main battle tank ~100  United Kingdom 707 Mk-3P and Mk-5P, 125–189 FV-4030-1, 41 ARV and 14 AVLB obtained before the 1979 revolution. Further planned deliveries of the more capable 4030 series were cancelled at that point. 100 in service as of 2005. Upgraded to Mobarez[10]
M47 Patton Main Battle Tank 168  United States
M60A1 Main Battle Tank 150  United States
T-62 Main Battle Tank 75 1981–1985  Soviet Union 65 ordered in 1981, currently 75 are in service.[9] Source Global Security
T-72S Main Battle Tank 480 1994–1999  Soviet Union Iran is believed to operate 480 T-72M1 and T-72S since 2002
Type-72Z Safir-74 Main Battle Tank N/A N/A  Iran Highly modernized version of the T-55
Type 59 Main Battle Tank 220  China
Type 69 Main Battle Tank 200  China
Ch'ŏnma-ho Main Battle Tank 150 1982–1985  North Korea 150 ordered in 1981 from North Korea and delivered between 1982 and 1985.


Towed artillery

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
M101A1 105mm Howitzer 130  United States
2A18M Howitzer 540  Soviet Union
Type-54 Howitzer 100  Soviet Union
M1955 Howitzer 30  Soviet Union
WAC-21 Howitzer 15  China
GHN-45 Howitzer 120  Canada
M-114 Howitzer 70  United States
122mm HM 40 Howitzer  Iran
155mm HM 41 Howitzer  Iran
FH-77B Howitzer  Sweden
G-5 Howitzer 30  South Africa
M-115 Howitzer 20  United States
Type 63 MRL MRL 700 1986  China

Artillery Reference 1:[9]

Self-propelled artillery

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
2S1 Gvozdika Self-propelled howitzer 60  Soviet Union
Raad 1 Self-propelled howitzer 1996  Iran Based on 2S1 Gvozdika
Raad 2 Self-propelled howitzer 1997  Iran Based on M109
M-109 Self-propelled howitzer 180  United States
M-1978 Self-propelled howitzer 10  North Korea
M-107 Self-propelled howitzer 30  United States
M-110 Self-propelled howitzer 30  United States
Fajr-3 MRLS 10 1994  Iran
BM-21 Grad MRLS 100 1978  Soviet Union
122mm Hadid/Azrash/Nur MRLS 50 1994  Iran Domestic BM-21 developments?

Surface-to-surface missiles

This refers to ballistic missiles and not battlefield systems. Iran's missile forces are under the command of the Revolutionary Guards, under the Army's authority.
Additional information is available at Air Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution who operate Iran's long-range missiles. Iran was reported to have purchased 18 mobile 3,200-4,000 km Musudan missiles (the extended range version of Soviet R-27 Zyb) in 2005.[11]

Anti ship missiles

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Kowsar 1/2/3 Anti ship missile  Iran Light ASCM based on Chinese C-701 and TL-10
Nasr-1 Anti ship missile  Iran Light ASCM based on Chinese C-705 and TL-6
Noor Anti ship missile  Iran ASCM based on Chinese C-801 and C-802
Ra'ad Anti ship missile  Iran Iranian origin Heavy ASCM similar to Chinese C-401
Khalij Fars Anti-ship ballistic missile  Iran Based on Fateh-110

Battlefield missile systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Samid Rocket artillery  Iran
Fajr-2 Rocket artillery  Iran
Fajr-3 Rocket artillery  Iran
Fajr-5 Rocket artillery  Iran
Tondar-69 Rocket artillery  Iran
Oghab Rocket artillery 1985–present  Iran
Naze'at Rocket artillery  Iran
Zelzal Tactical ballistic missile  Iran
Fateh-110 Tactical ballistic missile 2002–present  Iran

Air defence Missile Systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
MIM-23 Hawk Surface-to-air missile 150 1970s-present  United States/ Iran Locally manufactured improved version of the original 1960s US Hawk system. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force had recently revealed its own version of the MIM-23 Hawk the Shahin which is under production. In 2010 Iran announced that it will be mass producing its next generation of air defense system called Mersad which would integrate with the Shahin missile.[12]
SM-1 Surface-to-air missile  Iran Locally manufactured copy of a c.1970s variant
Shahab Saqeb Surface-to-air missile 2002–present  Iran copy of the Chinese HQ-7 (FM-90) system. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Production of Low Range Ground to Air Missile;Shahab Saqeb - Initiator:Iran Aerospace Ind. Org.& Contributor:D.I.O)[13]
Sayyad-1 Surface-to-air missile 45  Iran Up to 45 Launchers, HQ-2J and indigenous-produced Sayyad-1. Upgraded copy of HQ-2, Sayyad-1A has IR tracking. This Project was First Joint Winner-Applied Research in 14th Khwarizmi International Award- 2001;Tehran-Iran -The Project Title:Manufacture of Sayyad-1 Missile -Initiator: Iran Aerospace Ind. Org. Contributor:HESA & Arak Machine Ind.[13]
Ghareh Surface-to-air missile 10  Iran upgraded copy of SA-5 Gammon with 250 km range
SA-6 Gainful Surface-to-air missile 8 1995–present  Soviet Union Reports of eight SA-6 systems transferred to Iran from Russia in 1995/1996.
S-200 Surface-to-air missile 200  Soviet Union/ Iran Locally upgraded and improved [14] [15]
Rapier missile Surface-to-air missile 30 1971–present  United Kingdom 45 towed systems with Blindfire radar delivered before 1979. 72 self-propelled systems and local production of 1,000 missiles cancelled 1979
Tigercat Surface-to-air missile 15  United Kingdom
SA-22 Greyhound (Pantsyr S1) Surface-to-air missile 10 2008–present  Russia [16][17]
Tor missile system Surface-to-air missile 29 2005–present  Russia [18]
S-300 Surface-to-air missile 4  Russia/ Iran Iran claim to possess two S-300PT from Belarus and two others from another unspecified source despite Russian refusal to deliver them. [19] Iran announced that it had a "domestically made" system with the same capabilities as the S-300, but this is unverified. [20]
Mersad Air Defense System N/A 2010  Iran Iranian designed Air Defense system using Shahin missiles.

Man-portable air-defense systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Misagh-1 Man-portable air-defense systems  Iran
Misagh-2 Man-portable air-defense systems  Iran
RBS-70 Man-portable air-defense systems 50  Sweden
SA-7 Grail Man-portable air-defense systems  Soviet Union
SA-16 Gimlet Man-portable air-defense systems 700  Soviet Union [21]
SA-18 Grouse Man-portable air-defense systems  Soviet Union

Radar systems

  • Gamma
  • Kasta
  • Kolchuga [22]
  • JY-14 Radar (Chinese origin)
  • Matla'ol Fajr radar (Iranian origin)
  • Kashef 1&2 radars (Iranian origin)

Army aviation

The Army operates 188 airplanes, and 527 helicopters although it is not known how much of this inventory is actually operational.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[23] Notes
Aero Commander  United States utility transport 690 50
Bell 205  Italy light-lift utility helicopter AB 205
Shabaviz 2-75
250 built by Agusta and Panha
Bell 206 JetRanger  Italy
utility helicopter AB 206A
Shabaviz 2061
65 built by Agusta and Panha
Bell 214  United States medium-lift transport helicopter 214A 85
Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra  United States attack helicopter AH-1J
Panha 2091
Model 2091 upgrade by Panha
Boeing CH-47 Chinook  United States Heavy-lift transport helicopter CH-47C 45 built by Agusta
Cessna 185  United States utility 55
Dassault Falcon 20  France VIP transport Falcon 20E 25
Fokker F27 Friendship  Netherlands tactical transport F27-400M

Aircraft which have served recently and of which numbers may remain in reserve storage or second-line use include:

Unmanned aerial vehicles

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Sofreh Mahi Stealth UCAV  Iran Under development
Karrar (UCAV) UCAV 2010  Iran
Ababil UAV  Iran
Mohajer I/II/III/IV UAV  Iran
Sabokbal UAV  Iran
Ra'ad UAV  Iran With offensive capabilities
Nazir UAV  Iran
Hod Hod UAV  Iran
Saeghe Target Drone  Iran
MQM-107 Target Drone  United States

Other equipment

  • Gas masks
  • Bullet Proof Vests (used by specialized units and some army divisions, not yet standard issue)

See also


  1. ^ Hogg, Ian (1989). Jane's Infantry Weapons 1989-90, 15th Edition. Jane's Information Group. pp. 826–836. ISBN 0710608896. 
  2. ^ Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009-2010. Jane's Information Group. p. 897. ISBN 0710628692. 
  3. ^ Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  4. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  5. ^ brochures on Iranian Copies of the TOW and DRAGON
  6. ^ a b John Pike (2009-02-13). "Iranian Ground Forces Equipment". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  7. ^ According to databases
  8. ^ SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
  9. ^ a b c Iranian army
  10. ^ "22 September 2004: Parade in Tehran". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  11. ^ "Iran acquires ballistic missiles from DPRK, 29 December 2005". Janes Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on October 22, 2006. Retrieved 12 November 2007. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  14. ^ "Fars News Agency :: Iran Optimizes Missile System". 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  15. ^ "Almaz/Antei Concern of Air Defence S-200 Angara/Vega (SA-5 'Gammon') low to high-altitude surface-to-air missile system". Jane's Information Group. 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  16. ^ "Iran set to obtain Pantsyr via Syria - Jane's Defence News". 2007-05-22. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Tor M1 9M330 Air Defense System
  19. ^ "Russia halts sale of air defense missiles to Iran". The Washington Post. June 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  20. ^ "Iran to unveil S300-type air defence system". Trade Arabia Business News Information. 08 Feb 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ [3][dead link]
  23. ^ "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.

External links

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