MANUFACTURER(S): State Factories - Iran
Detailing the development and operational history of the Aqareb 8x8 Wheeled Fire Support / Reconnaissance Vehicle.
Entry last updated on 7/1/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In April of 2015, the Iranian Army debuted its new "Aqareb" eight-wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) through a indigenous design and development initiative in an effort to continue its growth as a self-sustained military power. The type features modern design lines comparable to those seen in Soviet/Russian and European wheeled vehicles of same battlefield function. Of note in the design is its primary armament consisting of a 90mm tank-killing main gun housed in a 350-degree traversing power-assisted turret sat over the front of the hull roof. The crew resides in the front and middle sections of the vehicle with the rear reserved for the powerpack. Four large road wheels are situated to either hull side offering good ground clearance and off-road capabilities.
The Iranian Army categorizes the vehicle as a fire support system with inherent battlefield reconnaissance functionality.
For all intents and purposes, the Aqareb is nothing more than an Iranian Army take on the storied Soviet-era BT-60 series, namely the BTR-60PB model which succeeded the BTR-60PAI model of 1965. The PB offering added improved sighting systems for its machine gun armament. Its primary armament was 1 x 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun and 1 x 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun. Beyond its three crew, the PB also held room for up to fourteen combat-ready infantry. The PB arrived in 1966 and was produced until 1976 before it was replaced by the more modern BTR-70 family line.
Some 300 BTR-60P models were procured by the Iranian government in 1966, joining a stock of 270 BTR-50 series vehicles. The BTR-60PB models arrived in a 1986 order with deliveries happening within months and spanning just a few years. Iran used the BTR-60 extensively during its long-running war with neighboring Iraq (the "Iran-Iraq War" of 1980-1988). In Iranian service these vehicles carried the name of "Sedad" and were armed with a 23mm ZU-23-2 cannon with full day-night operating capability - the gun could be fired from the safety of the vehicle.
Unlike the BTR-60PB - which used three crew - the Aqareb is said to feature a standard operating crew of four. The glacis plate and nose section have been revised some for better ballistics protection up front and improved water entry while a new turret installation has been drawn up to fit the larger-caliber main gun offering. Interestingly, a cylindrical outcropping is added to the turret rear which houses the 12.7mm heavy machine gun - the weapon offering local defense against low-flying targets and light armored vehicles. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is most likely fitted to the turret as well. Another interesting design quality is the obvious armored skirt employed over the upper reaches of the roadwheels - a feature not common to foreign AFVs. Construction of the hull is of all-welded steel, standard in the armored vehicle industry today (2015), and protects the vehicle from small arms fire and shell "spray".