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Iran: IRGC unveils new armored personnel carriers and upgraded T-72M main battle tank.

| 2020

In a ceremony held on June 27, The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Major General Hossein Salami unveiled new homegrown products manufactured by the Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization of the IRGC Ground Force, as reported by Tasnim news agency and BMPD. There were several products: a BTR-50PK Makran APC, an upgraded BTR-60PB APC, an upgraded T-72M MBT, a Me’raj-1 reconnaissance drone, a So’ban-1 machine gun and a mine detecting radar. In this piece of news, we are focusing on the APCs and the T-72M.

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From left to right: upgraded BTR-60PB, BTR-50PK Makran and upgraded T-72M (Picture source: FARS)

The BTR-50PK personnel carrier is now designated Makran. It benefits from hull modifications (armor upgrade) and a new unmanned turret armed with a 2A42 30mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm caliber machine gun. The turret is equipped with a fire-control system, thermal night-vision cameras, and a laser range finder. Variants of the unmanned turret can be installed on different infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.

The option of deep modernization of the BTR-50PK, which many years ago were withdrawn from service and are in storage, attracted the most attention, while at least some of the vehicles were apparently in a very lively state since, In 2016, a certain number of BTR-50s were transferred to Iraqi Militia Forces as part of assistance in the fight against terrorist ISIS.

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BTR-50PK Makran (Picture source: DEFA)

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BTR-50PK Makran (Picture source: Tasnim)

The upgraded BTR-60PB is armed with a 23mm gun and protected by reactive armor. Previously, the Organization of Jihad for the Research and Self-Sufficiency of the Ground Forces of the Iranian Army in the Heydar-7 project also proposed a similar thing. In both cases, the main question is how the thin armor of the armored personnel carrier will survive to the explosion of reactive armor tiles. 

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BTR-60PB (Picture source: DEFA)

As for the modernized T-72M, it was first shown in 2019 at the exhibition of achievements of the Iranian military-industrial complex in honor of the 40th anniversary of the revolution. The tank benefits from enhanced protection, a remotely controlled turret armed with a machine gun, also upgraded with a better aiming system, a thermal imager for the driver, etc. 

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Upgraded T-72M (Picture source: DEFA)

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