By Bijan Razzaghi
The Karrar Main Battle Tank is likely just a domestically manufactured variant of the T-72 tank manufactured under license by Iran in the 1990s and those delivered in the early 2000s. The upgrade appears to be designed to increase survivability in urban combat and defend against rockets and anti tank missiles.
The tank appears to feature an M2 12.7 mm machine gun on a remote turret as well as an active protection system. The turret was also redesigned with reactive amour and appears have shape similar to that of the T-90MS. The tank has a black paint job but it is more than likely camouflage patterns will be adopted.
The effort to produce the Karrar could either be a propaganda ploy or an upgrade based on combat experience in Syria where T-72s were used extensively to support Iranian troops. The tank upgrade also appears to be exclusively for the IRGC. The IRGC operates a number of small mechanized units designed to support the forces light infantry. Previously Irans regular military (Artesh) were the primary operators of conventional equipment, yet in the past decade the IRGC has sought to grow its conventional capabilities. The IRGC is the primary Iranian military force operating beyond the country’s borders.
The Karrar is not the first major tank upgrade in Iran, the Zulfiqar built in the late 1990s for the Artesh regular army combined components of the T-72 with the M-60 Patton. The IRGC also produced the Type-74 a major T-55/Type-59 upgrade exported to Sudan.