Tehran (IP) - The Zolfaghar tank project was the first one in the tank manufacturing industry of Iran which was kicked off in the 1990s.

Iran PressIran News: Zolfaghar family has three members all manufactured by the Army's R&D organization, namely Zolfghar 1, Zolfghar 2, and Zolfghar 3. In terms of weight, the Zolfaghar tank series enjoy a weight range from 40 to 50 tons.

In Zolfghar 2 and 3, the pentagon-shaped turret and the ERA explosive reactive armor like what is installed on T72 tanks make it possible for the tank to enjoy composite armor like the modern tanks of the world.

Zolfaghar 2 was an experimental model which was resulted in Zolfaghar 3 and was the last optimized version that was supposed to be in the production line. Zolfaghar 3 tank is designed like the Abrams tank.

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Zolfaghar 1

Zolfaghar 1 is the first generation of the Zolfaghar tank family that was unveiled in 1993. The tank uses the chassis of the American M60 tank. Just 2 units of the tank were produced that were taken for research purposes and did not go for mass production. With a length of 7 meters, a width of 3.6 meters, a height of 2.5 meters, and a weight of about 41 tons, and using a diesel engine that has a power of 780 horsepower, Zulfiqar 1 can reach a speed of 60 km/h when moving on the road.  Yet, the speed of the tank is estimated at 40 to 45 km/h.

Camouflage is a strong point of the Iranian tank. Like the Abrams tank, Zolfaghar can be hidden from the eyes of enemies on the battlefield due to its low height. Its pentagon turret can lock on the targets while the tank body rotates. Yet the main gun of the tank is a 125 mm rifle belonging to the Russian rifling-less 2A46 guns family. The most important point with this type of rifle is the ability to use a significant range of guided and non-guided ammunition. 

The secondary gun of the Zolfaghar 1 is a light MG3 machine 7.62 mm gun as well as two other 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. The designers of the Iranian-made tank have also used the domestic laser defense and warning system as a protection system for it. The laser system uses various measurements to inform its riders about the radiation of guiding laser beams applied in some anti-tank missiles, being capable of distinguishing direct or indirect beams of laser range finders from laser pointers.

This defense system increases the reaction power of the tank crew against threats and even provides them with the possibility of automatic and timely activation of defense units on the threat angle side. The defense mechanism also works optionally, which can be a combination of smoke grenade launchers; it can break the laser locks of the enemy's launchers. The alarming system can cover a range of 360 degrees in the horizon and 60 degrees in height. 

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Zolfaghar 3

The last version of the family is Zolfaghar 3 unveiled in 2011, which enjoys a new fire control system and is capable of firing when moving. The version caused Iran to be the only country in the region in possession of the technology. In Zolfaghar 3, the front part armor of the tank has been designed in a way that its upper part is leveled with the view angle of the tank driver and looks smooth for some reasons; the first reason is the injection of new technologies into the cycle of Iran's tank manufacturing industries; the second is the increase in threats from new anti-tank weapons, that is Zolfaghar is equipped with thicker armor with better alloys for better resistance.

The size of the new version is such that has made it more agile compared to its prototype. The ability to move in water up to a depth of 1.6 meters is another feature that makes Zulfikar 3 superior on the battlefield. The velocity of the new tank also reaches 72 km/h on an asphalt road with a 1000-powerhouse diesel engine. The crew number, of course, reduced from 4 to 3; commander, driver, and gunner.

The gun is a 125 mm one. Yet the fire control system, EFCS3, is made in Slovenia. The very system helps the tank to keep the gun fixed while maneuvering, engage in conflict with static or moving targets while it is fixed or moving, transfer information to the tank's ballistic calculation computer to estimate the suitable angle for firing, be networked with the night vision systems in the tank and increase the chance of hitting the target with the first shot.

Different parts of Zolfaghar 3 are equipped with a self-protection system, one of which is 'thermal camouflage nets', which enables the tank to reduce the infrared signals emitted from the tank. It also enjoys protective systems against chemical, microbial, and nuclear attacks, and in case of such attacks, it purifies the air inside the tank chamber and prevents dangerous agents from entering the tank. 

The smoke diffuser system can hide the tank from the enemy's view or break the laser lock of the guided weapons. The laser rangefinder system can also determine the distance of the tank to the target by sending laser waves to that point. Zolfaghar 3 monitors its surrounding environment with z/c360 closed-circuit cameras. Zolfaghar 3 was not mass-produced due to financial costs.


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