Sunday, October 6, 2013

60th 'Ammar Yasir' Armored Brigade

Colonel Ali Koohi (Qaboos Nameh)
The Sepah's 60th 'Ammar Yasir' armored brigade is based in the north-eastern city of Gonbad-e Kavus in the Golestan province, and is commanded by Sarhang (Colonel) Ali Koohi. The brigade's garrison is a miniscule 10 hectares, which – for comparison – is similar in size to a garrison one kilometer north, which belongs to a small detatchment from the Army's 30th Infantry Division. Despite this, it is relatively well mechanized for a force its size.

Google Earth offers imagery from August 2010, July 2011 (poor-quality), January 2012, March 2012 and May 2013. Bing Maps supplements this with imagery from July 2011 (high quality).
The core of the brigade's fighting strength consists of a battalion of T-54/55 tanks, which includes both the 'clean' Type-69, and upgraded T-72Z/Safir-74 types. Around 40 of these are visible on GE's 08/2010 imagery. (1) In 01/2012, three of them can be clearly seen in the parade yard loaded on to tank-transporters. (2)
T-72Z/Safir-74 (IRNA) and Type-69 (Arteshi Forum)

Supporting these tanks are a handful of other light AFVs. This includes the BMP-1 IFV; no more than six of which are visible on GE at any given time, though the fact that these are seen extending from a garage suggest there may be more under cover. (3)
BMP-1 (Arteshi Forum and IRNA)

 Though the Boragh mortar carrier has been seen on parade, it cannot be confidently identified on the overhead imagery. One candidate are three BMP-sized AFVs adjacent to the garage, which appear to lack the distinctive circular turret of the BMP-1. (4) That being said, these differences are so miniscule that it's impossible to tell for sure; the turret is often the first recognition feature to disappear in overhead imagery. Another candidate are two more BMP-sized AFVs visible in 08/2013 with a unique hull-deck profile. An alternative explanation for these two is that the profile is caused by covered Zu-23-2 guns on a pair of Boragh air-defense vehicles. (5)
In addition to this, at least three M113 APCs are consistently visible, which are likely used as command vehicles. (6) A fourth AFV, while bearing an uncanny similarity to the M113, appears to be far larger. (7) It may be a turret-less tank hull.

The most interesting AFV used by this brigade is, by far, is the EE-9 Cascavel III. While Iran is reported to have imported 130 from Libya in 1980, the fact that Libya operated the Cascavel II variant*, which can be identified by its lack of commander's cupola, suggests this is one of the many captured from Iraq. At least one can be seen on GE's 03/2012 imagery. 

* - Very little photographic evidence of Libyan EE-9s exist. Thus, it is possible that Libya procured Cascavel IIIs in addition to the Cascavel IIs they are known to have imported.

EE-9 Cascavel III (IRNA) Note:For some reason, Blogger feels compelled to flip this image. My apologies.
Other than this, there is a notable lack of visible artillery (whether towed or self-propelled) in either overhead or parade imagery. There is also a lack of soft-skin vehicles, though these very well may be under cover. Unlike other Sepah Ground Force garrisons, there is little to no dedicated cover for the AFVs, raising the question of where they go when they're not visible. Similarly, there is little on-base infrastructure like that found in Neyshabur – buildings like wharehouses and workshops.



  1. Love your work! Great job! I noticed what appears to be a small garrison next to the military airfield at Andimeshk, about 1.5 km south west of the end of the runway. It would appear to be some mobile artillery and military trucks. I don't know how to send you the satellite imagery if you would like it.

  2. Thank you sir.

    Re: Imagery
    If we're thinking about the imagery, what you're looking at is the garrison for the Army's 2nd brigade, 92nd armored division (now the 292nd independent armored brigade).

  3. This is a very good job my friend, just one question: ENGESA CASCAVELs are currently in service in Iranian Army??? or all them are retired???
    thank you so much for further information.

  4. Re: Anon @ 11/02/13

    I've never seen any in service with the army (NEZJA). They are, however, in service with the Sepah ground forces.