The Karrar is an all-modern Iranian designed and developed Main Battle Tank (MBT). It is said to be wholly indigenous while relying on the framework of past Soviet-Russian tanks like the T-72 and T-90 (T-90MS). Beyond these vehicles the Karrar has also been inspired by other foreign designs including the American Cold War-era M48 and M60 tanks as well as the British Cold War-era "Chieftain" MBT. The Iranian 51-ton system is set to begin serial production in 2017. The tank was first identified in August of 2016.
The appearance of the Karrar is an Iranian response to a T-90MS tank deal that fell through with Russia.
The primary weapon of the Karrar is a 125mm smoothbore main gun fed by an automatic loader. The automatic loader reduces the operating crew by one and is common to later-generation Soviet-Russian combat tanks (a feature not adopted by Western tank designs). Like the Russian tanks before it, the main gun of the Karrar also supports firing Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) (another quality not typically found in Western tanks).
The Soviet-Russian influence in the Karrar's profile is apparent as a very low silhouette is achieved. The drive sits at front within the hull with the commander and gunner in the disc-like, power-assisted turret assembly over center. The turret is home to the main armament as well as a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun fit. Aft of the commander's hatch is a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) fielding a 12.7mm machine gun. The loader has his access hatch to the left on the turret roof. Smoke grenade dischargers are set to either side of the turret roof as one bank of six grenades to each side. Additional sensors and vision equipment are mounted along the turret's frontal facing. Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks are noted along the major sections of the tank, particularly at the glacis plate. Side skirt armor is used to protect the vital upper reaches of the track-and-wheel arrangement. There appears to be six roadwheels to each hull side.
Among the features assumed for the Karrar design are a laser rangefinder for ranged accuracy, a stabilized main gun system for "firing-on-the-move" and day-/night-assist vision devices to tactical flexibility. It has been stated that either the driver or the gunner can drive the tank from their respective positions within the vehicle.
The Karrar provides the Iranian military and local defense industry with a homegrown solution to a long-standing need - reducing reliance on Russia and other export suppliers. Decades of operation and production of Soviet-Russian equipment have aided the Iranians in achieving the feat (to an extent) though only time - and the Karrar's ultimate exposure on the modern battlefield - will deem the tank a success or failure.
July 2017 - It was announced that the Iranian Army will take delivery of its first batch of Karrar tanks sometime in 2018.
September 2018 - The Iranian Army and IRGC has plans to introduce a total of 800 Karrar tracked combat vehicles - all to be manufactured locally marking a major step for the Iran Military-Industrial Complex.