***Note: TO&E based on later imagery update that post-dates the accompanying analysis***
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The 16th armored division is headquartered in Qazvin, but also garrisons brigades in Zanjan and Hamedan, and is one of heaviest Artesh divisions. During the Iran-Iraq war they were equipped with M-60A1 MBTs but have since transitioned to Chieftain MBTs. (1) In November 2011, Mehr News announced that the 2nd brigade was being split-off into the 216th independent armored brigade. However the actual meaning of the article may have been misinterpreted and as such, this remains unconfirmed (anyone able to confirm or deny this is invited to comment below). (2)
|Brigade location overview (GE)|
The first brigade, based in Qazvin, serves as divisional headquarters and as a consequence has a larger compound than in Zanjan or Hamedan. The compound can be found north-east of the city-center on the outskirts of town. Imagery is low-quality and dates from April 2003.
A large number of different vehicles can be found in different motor-pools clustered in the center of the compound. The western portion is primarily given over to armored vehicles including what is almost certainly a high-strength battalion of Chieftain tanks. About a companies worth of M113s are visible, indicating a larger mechanized infantry formation (possibly including BTR-60 APCs which have been seen on parade in the city). Several smaller vehicles in the vicinity may be Scorpion light tanks which have also been seen on parade. The overall higher strength of the 16th's tank battalions versus other examples (such as those in the 88th AD) more closely resembles pre-revolutionary strength which allocated 15 tanks per company. (3)
On the eastern portion of the compound are several battalion-strength collections of artillery including ~23 D-30 guns, ~27 other towed guns, and an unknown (probably battalions worth) number of M-109 SPHs. It's noteworthy that the towed gun groupings exceed the usual battalion strength (18 pieces). The large number of units also possibly indicates that some of them are divisional level support units.
Littered around the motor-pools are collections of automotive vehicles, including semi-trailer trucks and containers for logistics, five-ton trucks used for infantry and artillery motorization as well as logistical support, and smaller 1/4, 3/4, and 1 1/4-ton tactical vehicles used for infantry motorization.
The second brigade in Zanjan is located in a compound north of the city-center. Compared to Qazvin, Zanjan enjoys clear, recent imagery from October 2010. A collection of firing ranges - relatively advanced compared to the rest of the country - as well as training yards (i.e. obstacle courses, tranches) can be found in the northern half of the compound. The southern half includes the usual range of administrative and garrison facilities.
In between the two in the middle of the compound is the brigades motor pool including garages and workshops. Fortunately all the vehicles appear to be neatly organized into their respective organizations and are clearly separated from one another which makes analysis all that much easier.
The north-eastern row includes a battalion of light AFVs - possibly BTR-60s or BMPs, but most-likely the former. Just south of this is a battalion of M-109 SPHs, complete with M-548 ammunition resupply vehicles. East of this are two more motor pools which holds the majority of the brigades armor - a heavy (35+) battalion of Chieftain tanks including at least two examples of the ABLV or CEV variants. Not visible, but which have been observed on parade, are M113 APCs.
The third brigade in Hamedan is located several km north-west of the city of Hamadan. While no high quality imagery of the base is available, there is a large motor-pool which indicates a similar level of mechanization as the other brigades. Parade imagery confirms the presence of BMP IFVs and M109 SPHs.