Monday, January 26, 2009

Raad-2 SPG

Raad-2 Self-Propelled Gun
***Updated: Friday, March 19th, 2011***
***The Following is an Excerpt from "Iranian Military Capability 2011"***

Specifications: Raad-2
Caliber: 155 mm
Barrel Length: 6.03 m
Weight: 36 tonne
Length:9.14 m (incl. barrel)
Width:3.38 m
Height: 2.60 m
Engine: 840 hp V-84MS
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination, BB, HEAT submunitions
Max Range: 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB
ROF: 1-4 rnd/m
Traverse:360
Crew: 5

Specifications: Raad-2M
Caliber: 155 mm
Barrel Length: 6.03 m
Weight: 36 tonne
Length: 9.05 m (incl. barrel)
Width: 3.38 m
Height: 2.60 m
Engine: 700 hp 5TDF
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination, BB, HEAT submunitions
Max Range: 18.1 km, 24 km w/BB
ROF: 1-4 rnd/m
Traverse:360
Crew: 5

The successor to the Raad-1 program, the Raad-2 exhibits a much closer similarity to the 155 mm M-109 SPG with major influences from the Russian "T-series" tanks. The Raad-2 program comprises two different models, the Raad-2 and the Raad-2M.

Raad-2 (IRNA)
The turret and gun is the same on both models. It uses the 155 mm M185 cannon, the same as on the M109A2-A4. This is odd considering how Iran was only ever delivered the M109A1. However there are multiple ways Iran could have got their hands on a later system, including, purchase from the grey/black-market, or previously-available technical documentation. The gun-control system has been retrofitted with an automatic turret-laying system, night-vision, GPS (it is unclear if this is navigation only or for targeting as well) and a fire-control computer. The gun is fitted with an auto-loading system, which would explain the reduction in crew size to 5. The turret also features a "boxier" appearance compared to the original M109 with slab sides instead of a curved profile. The platform carries 30 rounds internally.

The hull bears some similarity to the M-109, however this is only superficial, notably, the road wheels, suspension and drive train are derived from the T-72.

Compared to the M-109, it weighs significantly more, at 36 tonnes. Although interestingly enough, the weight doesn't come from the armor, which has been actually reduced by a 1 cm in the heaviest areas (now with a maximum of 2 cm) when compared to the M-109.

Mirrored Raad-2M (Diomil)
The difference between the two models is in the engines, the Raad-2 features a powerful 840 hp V-84MS diesel engine. The Raad-2M on the other hand has the Ukrainian-made 700 hp 5TDF engine. The Raad-2 is far more common then the Raad-2M.

Other features include an air-conditioning system, automatic fire-extinguishing system, digital communication, networked displays, and NBC protection.

The number of Raad-2s, both -2 and -2Ms in service is unknown. The most likely limiting factor with regard to production is the engines. Unfortunately, no export records exist of the original number of engines purchased by Iran, to say nothing of the possibility that they are now producing them. However, given that we have seen them in the current camouflage of at least 2 unique IRGC units and because it is a safe bet that the smallest deployed unit size is battalion, we can make the assumption that there, are at the bare minimum, 24+ currently in service.

The Raad-2 is a solid improvement to Iran's artillery inventory. The improvements to the power pack as well as the significant, if unverifiable, upgrades to the fire-control and targeting mechanism could well make the Raad-2 equivalent to the newer (if not newest) generations of the M-109.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Raad-1 SPG

Raad-1 Self-Propelled Gun
***Updated: Friday, March 18th, 2011***
***The Following is an Excerpt from "Iranian Military Capability 2011"***

(Diomil Promotional poster)
Specifications:
Caliber: 122 mm
Barrel length: 5.06 m
Wight: NA
Length: 6.5 m
Width: 2.67 m
Height: 2.14 m (to barrel center)
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Engine: See text
Ammunition: HE, smoke, illumination
Max Range: 15.4 km
ROF: 4-5 rnd/m
Traverse: 360
Elevation: -7 - 70
Crew: ~4

NA=unknown

The Raad-1 is the first in the family of indigenously manufactured self-propelled guns. It combines major elements of the Boragh APC and the Russian 2S1 Gvozdika SPG.

The hull is based off the Boragh. It relies on the same 320 hp engine powering the Boragh (if that is what the Boragh uses, see separate entry) as well as the same torsion bar suspension. Amphibious ability has been retained as evidenced by the trim vane. The turret is mounted at the rear of the hull, where the twin doors would be on the mortar-carrier Boragh. Maximum armor thickness is 17 mm, substantially less then the 2S1.

No noticeable external changes are apparent to the turret. However it has a new computerized fire-control system as well as the addition of a night vision system. The Raad-1 can carry 35 rounds for the gun.

The main question is whether or not Raad-1s are being produced. This also begs the question if they are producing the 2S1 turrets or just reusing one from the original 2S1s, this obviously would limit the number they could build. Also, where are the Boragh bodies coming from, are they from the pool of 190 Boraghs, or are they separate BMP-1 conversions? Lastly, would they be co-produced along with the Raad-2, or has it been entirely replaced by the later model? Many of these remain unanswered, but because we haven't seen any production plants, or any on parade compared to the numerous sightings of the Raad-2, this leads one to believe the Raad-1 was just a prototype.

(Unknown)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Boragh AFV

Boragh Armored Fighting Vehicle
***Updated: Friday, March 18th, 2011***
***The Following is an Excerpt from "Iranian Military Capability 2011"***

The Boragh family of armored fighting vehicles, based on refurbished BMP-1 chassis, includes an APC, an IFV, a supply carrier, SAR, mortar carrier, and an anti-tank variant. It is in service with both the IRIA and the IRGCGF throughout the country. The total number of Boraghs is at least 190, though the number is likely higher by now. Sudan has imported and now operates an unknown number of Boraghs.

The original BMP-1 engine has been replaced; one possible candidate is the German 320 hp BF8L diesel engine which Iran ordered 190 of in 1996 (hence the minimum number of Boraghs). The Raad-1(which uses the same hull as the Boragh) is described as having an “8-cylinder air-cooled engine” by MODLEX which matches the BF8L.However there is a discrepancy between the power-to-weight ratio of the Boragh(25.3 hp/t) and the capabilities of the BF8L, though one possible explanation to this is that Iran found some way to modify the engine. However, the fact that this discrepancy exists suggests some other unknown, possibly indigenous, engine could be used.

Iran also manufactures appliqué armor for the Boragh that takes the form of bolt on panels that provide protection from up to 30 mm AP ammunition.

Overall, the Boragh has, for the short-term, the potential to fulfill Iran's light-armor needs, providing a common, modular program that allows for a streamlined logistical system in an army that is filled with a hodge-podge of different systems. Ultimately it depends how far the program will go and whether older carriers are phased out in favor of this new universal system instead of buying or developing something new. Basing it on the BMP-1 means there will always be inherent limitations in the system however.

APC
(Diomil promotional poster.)
The first variety is the most common. The 73 mm cannon on the BMP-1 is removed and replaced with a 12.7 mm machine-gun with protective cupola. This frees up the originally cramped interior to carry 10 infantrymen. The majority of firing ports have been removed, with only the most forward remaining on either side. The original configuration of the BMP-1 with the infantryman facing outwards has been replaced with benches lining the outer wall facing inward, reminiscent of the M113. This begs the question on how the designers intend for the infantryman to use the firing ports comfortably.

Specifications:
Crew: 2+10
Weight: 13 tonne
Length: 6.65 m
Width: 2.94 m
Height: 1.88 m
Engine: See text
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Max Range: 500 km
Armament: 12.7 mm DShk

IFV
Diomil promotional poster
The infantry fighting vehicle version amounts to an upgrade to BMP-2 level, replacing the original turret with the turret of the BMP-2 with ATGM launcher and 30 mm cannon. None have been observed in service although it is easy to confuse them with regular BMP-2s.

Specifications:
Crew: 3+ ~7
Length: 6.65 m
Width: 2.94 m
Height: 2.28 m
Engine: See text
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Armament: 30 mm 2A42, 7.62 mm Coax, AT-5

Air Defense
(Fars News)
In this version, a Zu-23-2 is mounted on the APC body. The gun can either be mounted to a rotating platform where the 73 mm gun used to be, or the entire Zu-23-2 system, as it would normally be set up is simply placed on top on the hull. Notably, only the former variety has been observed in service. Some versions of it have been rigged for automatic control, though details are unknown about this specific aspect.




(Unknown)
Also of note is the "Cobra" AFV which is largely the same, a Zu-23-2 on BMP-1 chassis, except it had a much lower clearance and was not directly a member of the Boragh family. It is likely that the project was scrapped in favor of the newer, design of the Boragh.

Specifications:

Weight: 14 tonne
Length: 6.65 m
Width: 2.94 m
Height: 1.88 m
Engine: See text
Max Speed: 65 km/h

Armament: Zu-23-2
Mortar Carrier
(IRNA)
The mortar carrier version features a redesigned hull compared to the basic APC version and serves as the basis for variants such as the AT and supply carrier models as well as the Raad-1 SPG. The passenger section of the hull has been replaced with what is, essentially, a large box that is slightly bigger then the equivalent APC compartment. It holds a 120 mm mortar tube on a rotating base. Two large swinging doors open on top allowing the mortar to be fired. The rear doors have also been replaced with a small access door as well as a larger, downward folding ramp. The carrier has an internal capacity for ~36 120 mm rounds. The commanders’ position has been given a 12.7 mm machine gun. This version has seen widespread deployment with IRGC units.

Anti-Tank
(IRIB)
The anti-tank version builds off the mortar carrier, but instead of a mortar, it carries a Toophan/TOW missile launcher mounted just rear of where the 73 mm cannon would be mounted. It has not been seen deployed, or even on parade.

Specifications:
Length: 6.50 m
Width: 2.94 m
Height: 2.02 m
Max Speed: 65 km/h
Armament: Toophan/TOW ATGM


Ammunition Carrier
(Diomil promotional poster)
A radical redesign of the BMP-1 chassis, featuring an enlarged drivers cab with a machine-gun mount and a soft-shell cargo area. It retains amphibious capability and can carry 4 tonnes of ammunition.

Specifications:
Crew: 2
Weight: 11 tonne
Length: 6.43 m
Width: 3.2 m
Height: 2.26 m
Max Speed: 75 km/h
Range: 430 km
Armament: 12.7 mm DShK

Command
Though not officially identified, the similarity to other APC command variants betrays the likely identity of this model. It features a large superstructure at the rear of the hull.

(Various)
SAR
Most likely operated by the IRIP or other non-military forces. It has a large truck like cab placed above the engine compartment and has an enlarged cargo area covered by a soft shell, much like that on a transport truck.