Inspired by their decades of operating Soviet equipment, the Iranian defense industry eventually developed an indigenous Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) as the "Raad-1" - meaning "Thunder 1". The pilot vehicle was tested sometime in 1996 with design work attribute to Defense Industries Organization (DIO)which has had it hand in development of other modern armored vehicles for the Iranian Army. The vehicle is an amalgamation of the Soviet 2S1 Gvozdika SPH and BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) - utilizing the gun system and turret of the former and the hull and running gear of the latter. Iran produces the "Boragh"Armor Personnel Carrier (APC) (also through DIO), this based on the unlicensed Chinese Type 86 copy of the Soviet BMP-1, and it is this vehicle that specifically makes up the lower section of the Raad-1 (hull, chassis, track system).
As completed, the Raad-1 is a 19.3 ton vehicle featuring a crew of three - driver, commander, gunner, and loader. It is armed with the 122mm 2A18 howitzer allowing for indirect fire on enemy positions at range. The weapon is set with in a traversing and elevating turret allowing for largely unfettered fields of fire, broadening the tactical value of the vehicle. It is further capped by a double-baffle muzzle brake and features a fume extractor along its midway point. The recoil mechanism largely sits within the powered turret. Hull dimensions include a length of 6.7 meters with a width of 3.1 meters. The Raad-1 sports the same raised hull roof line over the rear section of the vehicle that produces more internal room for the gunnery crew and ammunition. This raises the turret over the frontal hull and forces use of a longer barrel clamp used in locking the barrel over the glacis plate when traveling. Power is through the V-84MS V8 air-cooled, diesel-fueled engine of 330 horsepower output allowing for road speeds of 65kph and road ranges out to 500km. The engine sits are front-right with the driver at front-left. A torsion bar suspension system allows for cross-country travel. The track-over-wheel arrangement includes six roadwheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and track idler at rear. Track return rollers - numbering three- are covered by side skirt armor. A 12.7mm heavy machine gun is retained on the turret roof for local defense and 35 x 122mm projectiles are carried for the main gun.
The vehicle is believed to be in active service in the Iranian Army though in undisclosed numbers. The similar Raad-2 series SPH vehicle is a 155mm-armed development which followed more in line with the operation and configuration of the storied American M109 155mm-armed SPG series.
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