Monday, April 25, 2016

Which war, exactly, is Iran planning to fight?

Everyone in the region who might fight a land war with Iran has more modern tanks than this:
Earlier this month, Iran unveiled a new main battle tank, the Tiam, that appears to be a mashup of Chinese and US tanks from the 1960s, The Diplomat reports.
The tank appears to have the main hull and engine of the US' M47M Patton, a variation of the M47 Patton made in the early 1960s, and the turret of China's type 59/69 tank, first produced in 1958.
Seriously, no one in the region drives tanks with technology that old. Further, the new Iranian tank apparently sports a 105mm gun, just a wee bit smaller than the 120mm guns typical on U.S. and European models, and even smaller still than the 125mm guns typical on Russian tanks these days. A gun that small is likely to fail to penetrate the armor of any nation's tanks that Iran might go up against. What the fuck are they thinking? This thing looks like something third-line Soviet reserve units were driving in the 1970s, for God's sake:

Not sure what, or if, they're thinking. They still fly local copies or the 1960s-era MiG-21, and they produce copious amounts of them, apparently based on the theory that they can simply overwhelm an opponent. On the other hand, they also are bolstering their air force with local copies of the Su-27, a much more modern fighter and actually one of the better dogfighting planes ever built. But they could build as many of these tanks as they want, and likely only ever kill a more modern tank by accident. It looks like it has reactive armor, at least on the turret and front, but I don't see that saving it against modern ammunition designed to defeat reactive armor. So why are they building these? Beats me.

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