Iran Is Building a Monstrous New Tank Using U.S. and Chinese Parts
Policy + Politics

Iran Is Building a Monstrous New Tank Using U.S. and Chinese Parts


Iran recently rolled out its latest indigenously produced battle tank, dubbed the Tiam, which actually appears to be a mashup of tanks used by the U.S. and the Chinese during the 1960s.

The Diplomat reports the hull of the Tiam, which debuted during a public ceremony earlier this month, resembles that of an M47M Patton, a U.S.-produced tank used by the Army and Marine Corps in the 1950s and 1960s.

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The M47M was also produced under license in Iran during the early 1970s. Tehran unveiled a modified version, called the Sabalan, in April 2014.

Meanwhile, the vehicle’s turret looks to be the kind fitted on China’s Type 59 and Type 69 tanks, which were first produced in the late 1950s. You can see the tank about a minute into this video:

The Tiam features a 105mm rifled main cannon, which is not as powerful as the 120mm cannons found on U.S. and German tanks, or the 125mm cannons used on newer Russian tanks.

The new vehicle is also armed with 7.62 millimeter coaxial machine guns and a turret-mounted 12.7 millimeter DShK “Dashka” heavy machine gun.

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Both the turret, and likely parts of the hull, are layered with reactive armor bricks, which are used to defend against modern anti-tank munitions, such as shaped charges.

It’s unclear what kind of shelf-life the Tiam will have as Russia and Iran are in talks for Tehran to receive a license so it can produce the next generation of Moscow’s T-90 main battle tank, according to The Diplomat.