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Major (سرگرد)
What you say is probably true, since this is a display model, and is rusted beyond belief, it's clear they're working with something else now, and the exhaust marks over new paint on some Z-3s give a hint on where that direction is going. 

Which is a real shame, since the prototypes have been all we've had to go on for 15 years now.

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Lieutenant General (سپهبد)
Ayyash,

The first time I saw that particular model was in 1997 in person. That should tell you what I am talking about.


Catsoo

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S. Sergeant (گروهبان سو
It looks like they have gone ahead with the Z3 Tank ,and heavy investment in the special machinery etc .Now that they have done this , I am sure they can carry on with the continious improvements in the future also .The question

(1)How many Tank does Iran need right now ?
(2)What to do with old obsolete Tanks ?
(3)What improvements to be made ?

My general and quick answer :
(1)Only enough to provide cover , in the border area of Khuzestan.(flat lands).
(2)Sell them.
(3)Smooth bore capable of APDS (du) round.
 :)
Error is inconsistent with my prime function .

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Lieutenant colonel (سرهنگ دوم)
^ They can convert some of them into IVFs or APCs.

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S. Sergeant (گروهبان سو
I think about it too ! But providing spare parts for non-standard equip over the next 10-20 years ? It may be possible , but may be false economy . Better to make new type IFV/APC using modular conversion of Z3 or integerate APC/IFV/Z3 design . Sell the rest ? :-\

Replacing old machines (any machine) has formulae of break even point and every thing else being equal , it becomes a matter of pure costs.I am sure you know this  I put it here for my own reminders.

http://www.bizpeponline.com/promo.php?item=Break-Even-Analysis-Software&a=AdWords-be1

http://www.oup.com/us/pdf/engineeringecon/Chapter10.pdf
Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 11:13:19 PM by nomad

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Lieutenant colonel (سرهنگ دوم)
It would be cheaper to convert the T-55s into APCs then to use the Z3 as an APC. Also since they are changing their engines, i don't think the maintainance will be an issue. Obviously in the long term it would be optimal to streamline everything and just have one modular model, but for now this is cheaper.

Have a look at this, it is an Israeli conversion of the T-55:

Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 08:50:03 PM by Shirazi

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Major (سرگرد)
I was wondering if anyone had a copy of some of the original articles talking about the Zulfiqar back in the 1990s. Not the articles talking about other articles (like on GS), but the originals?

The reason I ask is that we (or at least I do) assume that the six "semi-industrial prototypes" were Zulfiqar-1s, but I don't know if this is actually grounded in the reports because what I've seen only talks about "Zulfiqars", not Z-1s, Z-2s, or Z-3s. Same thing with the autoloader because the only direct report I can dig up right now (IRIN report from 1995) doesn't mention it.
Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 02:02:33 AM by Ayyash

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Freeloader (اش خور)
Using some of the T-55's for APC is a good idea. I just look at picture of what Israelis did to the T-55's it depend on what the damages on the T-55's . My opinion that a good thing to do.
there can only be one

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Major (سرگرد)
I've been doing some more research regarding the mobility of the Zulfiqar-3 and I've come up with some information.

Specifically, while before I took the repositioning of the exhaust outlets on one of the prototypes ( usually on the AVDS-1790 they are located on the louvered access doors while here they were located directly next to each other in-between the doors) to mean that the engine had been modified if only because there was a change in the internal  configuration of the parts somehow, but that was all that I could reasonably say about what actually happened.

But now that I have a better idea about how tank engines operate, it's clear that the shifting of the exhaust probably does have significant implications! I'll preface this with the caveat that theoretically the exhaust pipes may have just been rerouted with nothing else done to them. However this is illogical and I think it's safe to discard this as a possibility since it would serve absolutely no purpose that I know of.

But ignoring that possibility, the most likely explanation is a turbocharger which we've all talked about here before. Turbochargers operate off the principle of cycling the energy of exhaust through a compressor which forces more air into the pistons in turn allowing for more fuel and more energy produced by each combustion. The end result is more horsepower. The turbocharger is located behind the engine along with the transmission in the final drive. The different outlet points of the exhaust is probably because there are twin turbochargers behind the access doors. The engine itself wouldn't have to be any larger (all versions of the AVDS-1790 are the same size) and the final drive would only have to accommodate two, relatively small, parts which matches the modest increase in size on the Zulfiqar-3 versus the Z-1.

Here's a picture of the various AVDS-1790 family members:

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Lieutenant colonel (سرهنگ دوم)
Ayyash,

So, with as little knowledge as we do have, should we assume the improved AVDS-1790 used in the Zulfiqar's is likely most similar to the 950hp or 1050hp verisons?
"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."
- Harry Truman

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Major (سرگرد)
I'm not sure at this point as I can't think of any external difference that could be an indicator. From what I can see it would probably involve improving the cooling mechanism and better fuel injectors to keep up with the turbocharger.

It's also possible that development hasn't stagnated since the "1,000 hp" model first emerged way back in the mid 90s. Who knows what they're up to now.

The fact that the AVDS has quite a few variants and is quite common across the world means that the sky is really the limit.

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ba
Major (سرگرد)
I have one question: how many Zulfiqar tanks does Iran have in active service?Wikipedia says 100+ but this not means anything.Other sources which i find says 30 Zulfiqar 1,20 zulfiqar 2 and six Zulfiqar 3.But this is also not confirmed by any authentic source.How many tank build capacity Iran have?twenty per year one hundred?i believe they should build as many as they can.Any help appreciate.

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Major (سرگرد)
Zulfiqar-3 turret under construction [Pictures]

(admittedly, not very good ones)

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T. Sergeant (گروهبان دو
Zulfiqar-3 turret under construction [Pictures]

(admittedly, not very good ones)

Like a major production line?

Very cool.

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Lieutenant colonel (سرهنگ دوم)
Looks more like a small workshop instead of a production line to me..

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Major (سرگرد)
For reference (and general interest) I got around to uploading the video I took the screenshots from. The main focus of the video is actually the Mobarez, but if you're quick you can get some good shots of other armour being constructed as well.


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Major (سرگرد)
The wikipedia now says that Iran have more then five hundreds of Zulfiqar 1,2,3 in active service.Dont know from where they get their information but last time I check seven days ago they where saying only one hundred where in active service.

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Freeloader (اش خور)
Are they saying iff its the 1, 2 or 3 version?
Sometimes when googling on iranian battle tanks you see that the most are version 3 tanks.

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Private (سرباز عادى)
1)This is one of my favorite pictures of the zulfiqar-3 tank because it shows the tank moving its turret and off the back of a truck, that proves this tank is actually a functional tank and not just a mock up that is usually paraded on the back of a truck. I'd like to see this thing in action.

2)Looks like the finished product with all the external optics, laser finder and machine guns ready for mass production. It would be great if Iran produces this tank in large numbers and exports them to all our allies for example Sudan (Which we already exported the Boragh apc to) and Venezuela.
Persian Pride
Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 08:21:14 AM by aryaghiai

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3rd lieutenant (ستوان سوم)
Is Zulfiqar-3 tank better than upgraded T-72 (also in possession of Iran)?

T-72 has Explosive Reactive Armor. Seems T-72 is better defended than Zulfiqar-3.

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Corporal (سرجوخه)
Those photos are of T-72Z wich are T-55/59/69 upgrades and not actual T-72s! Your question depends on the type of armour that the Zulfagir tank uses. If it uses Homogeneous Steel armour then no it is not better than a t-72S with ERA against chemical energy rounds like Heat or Hesh. However if Iran has developed its own Composite Laminated armour then it would be better abled to withstand a hit but keep in mind that most of the modern Anti-Tank missles around today are top attack wich means that they target the thin armour of a tank on top. Also a Depletet Uranium APDSFS round (kenetic Energy) is immune to the generation of ERA that is currently fealded by Iran and would make short work of any tank that does not incorporate D.U in its armour.
Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 01:06:37 PM by kyuss

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Lieutenant colonel (سرهنگ دوم)
Those photos are of T-72Z wich are T-55/59/69 upgrades and not actual T-72s! Your question depends on the type of armour that the Zulfagir tank uses. If it uses Homogeneous Steel armour then no it is not better than a t-72S with ERA against chemical energy rounds like Heat or Hesh. However if Iran has developed its own Composite Laminated armour then it would be better abled to withstand a hit but keep in mind that most of the modern Anti-Tank missles around today are top attack wich means that they target the thin armour of a tank on top. Also a Depletet Uranium APDSFS round (kenetic Energy) is immune to the generation of ERA that is currently fealded by Iran and would make short work of any tank that does not incorporate D.U in its armour.
how do you know Zulfiqar uses homogeneous steel armour?

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Lieutenant General (سپهبد)
Zolfaghar III is said to use Chubham armor with added reactive armor under the turret skin.


Catsoo
Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 04:00:59 AM by Catsoo

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Major (سرگرد)
With regard to  ERA bricks:

There's no intrinsic reason the Zulfiqar could not be deployed with ERA. It could be mounted along the skirts and while the angle of the glacis might mean that ERA would also have to applied to the lower glacis unlike on the T-72 that shouldn't pose any problem (the British did the same on their Challys in Iraq IIRC). The face of the turret provides a nice flat mounting surface where good coverage could be attained, unlike on the Samsam where there are holes in the coverage because the M-60A1 was never designed to accommodate ERA. Bricks could even be applied to the side of the turret stowage boxes, providing additional protection outside the 60-degree frontal arc in the same manner as the Chinese Type 99.

Iran doesn't even have to use the Kontakt-1; the double-thickness ERA seen on the Samsam would probably have increased performance against long-rod penetrators since there is a bigger distance between the flyer plates which in turn induce more pressures on the incoming projectile.

---

With regard to RHA vs composites:
I can't offer any definitive conclusions, but I can suggest a few possibilities I've considered.

First, the term 'composite' armor is a broad definition since it literally includes any combination of materials; a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich could be considered composite armor, but I wouldn't trust it to protect my tank! On the other side of the spectrum are composites like arrays made up of titanium plates embedded in urethane covered with ceramic facing plates and a kevlar spall liner. In other words, 'composite armor' can cover a wide array of potential materials and effectiveness and doesn't point to a specific level of effectiveness just by itself. There's also questions of spacing, and orientation that affect the performance of the array but is independent of the materials used.

Despite the uncertainty when talking about composites, I think we can all agree that the use of exotic materials is a precondition to a modern armor array even if it does not guarantee it alone; RHA is just to heavy and too vulnerable.  The original Zulfiqar-1 prototype was built with rolled RHA plates that didn't have any real protective value; they were just structural walls for the design of the prototype. The same thing could be true with the Zulfiqar-3 and is supported to some degree by the limited photographic evidence we have.

For instance, we can see inside the inverted turret here and here; it's clear from the shadows cast and the relative position of the gun-mount that the turret-walls are RHA plate.

That being said, we don't know what stage of manufacture or overhaul the turret is in. RHA plate is used in almost every tank as a structural element and doesn't precludes the use of additional materials hidden away from view. While there are no visible modules or pockets in the turret which would be used for this purpose (as with the Leo, T-72 or Type 99), there might still be composites obscured from view behind the steel face (as with the Abrams).

The logic behind the assertion that the Zulfiqar-3 has composite armor originates from the configuration of the armor. When you're using RHA you want to maximize the LoS thickness between you and the threat; because it's homogenous, more material means more protection. This means you end up with something like the M-60 which is often described as having a 'needle nose' turret for exactly this reason. Laminate arrays don't benefit from this and are difficult to construct in the curved shapes found in RHA turrets. This means you end up with somethinglike the Abrams. Logically, since the Zulfiqar-3 has this same construction technique, it stands to reason that it also stemmed from similar design constraints (aka some form of laminate armor). Assuming this is true, the armor would probably include some sort of alumina ceramic (relatively cost-effective as far as ceramics go), steel and/or aluminum, maybe some titanium or rubber in between. I doubt really expensive materials like some of the harder ceramics or tungsten would be used because of their cost, and depleted uranium is out of the question at this stage.

Given the overall visual similarity between the M1 and the Zulfiqar-3 I'm not sure how much credence the above hypothesis should be granted though. It's just as likely IMO that the similarities stop at their visual appearance.

The use of composites doesn't necessarily need to follow this design path though. For instance, Soviet arrays with steel/aluminum reflecting plates suspended in urethane would easily have made it's way into the Zulfiqar-3 given their relative simplicity and Iran's experience with T-72s. This could actually be the source of Catsoo's assertion that it uses "reactive armor under the turret skin". I can't see explosive reactive armor (ERA) being used under the turret, but use of non-explosive reactive armor (NERA) such as 'bulging' armor is well documented.

I alluded to this above, but even if we were to know all the materials used we still wouldn't know the effectiveness of the armor because so much of the effectiveness is tied to their configuration within the turret. For instance, three layers of ceramic tiles stacked together and placed directly on top of three layers of titanium plate, and then placed on three layers of rubber would probably be less effective than a smaller array consisting of intelligently spaced plates of semi-hardened and mild-steel. Thus, knowing that the Zulfiqar-3 uses alumina ceramic in conjunction with aluminum is less important than knowing how they come together.
Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 09:40:05 PM by Ayyash

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Corporal (سرجوخه)
M-ATF,
   to answear your question I don't know what type of armour the Z-3 uses that is why i said "If it uses homogeniuos steel armour".

Ayyash,
    thank you for a verry informative post.

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