Type-72Z Safir-74

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Not to be confused with the former Soviet T-72 MBT.
Safir MBT with a DsHk mounted on top during a military parade.
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Iran
Service history
Used by See Operators
Production history
Manufacturer Defense Industries Organization
Produced 1996 - Present
Variants See Variants
Weight 36 tonnes
Length 6.45 m
Width 3.37 m
Height 2.40 m
Crew 3-4

Armor 203 mm front of the turret
150 mm sides of the turret
64 mm rear of the turret
39 mm top of the turret
97 mm upper front of the hull
99 mm lower front of the hull
79 mm upper sides of the hull
20 mm lower sides of the hull
46 mm rear of the hull
20 mm floor of the hull
fitted with ERA
105mm M68 rifled tank gun
7.62mm co-axial and roof-mounted 12.7mm machine guns
Engine V-46-6 V-12 diesel
780 hp (630 kW)
Power/weight 21.66hp/tone
Suspension Torsion bar
440 km
Speed 65 km/h

The T-72Z is a highly modernized version of the T-55, the upgrades have been done by the Defense Industries Organization of Iran.[1]

The tank is on par with the M60A3 Patton.[2]


The T-72Z project was started in 1996 when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp announced its debut.[3]


  • Safir-74: Refers to Iranian T-54/T-55 tanks which have gone through the upgrades.[3] Safir in Farsi means "messenger".[4]
  • Type T-72z: Refers to Iranian Type 59 tanks which have gone through the upgrades.[3]


Upgrades include mounting a new armament system consisting of 105mm barrel gun model M68 with a long operational life, effective range, precision, high firing power and simple replacement without removal of the turret, plus a Slovenian Fotona Electronic Fire Control System (EFCS-3).[5][1] An integral laser aiming device is used to track down threats with smoke grenade dischargers to hide the vehicle from enemy vision.[2] The 105mm gun can fire AT-10 Bastion ATGMs.[6]

Automatic/manual stabilization and firing of the gun improves the firing capability of mobile tank at moving or stable target. The Type 72Z has a Ukrainian V46-6 diesel engine with 780 h.p. installed.[3] Easy driving and maneuverability can be increased with semi-automatic and automatic gear shifting modes. Air conditioning, power steering and a fire suppression is also believed to be installed as standard.[2]

Installation of all power compartments; engine, gear box, brake, steering, transfer case, cooling system and hydraulic system in a power pack assembly ensures lower repair time, quick mounting and dismantling of power pack. By employing reactive armour protection on this tank, protection against anti-tank weapons is increased.[5] The Iranian-made ERA is similar to what the Russians use on their tanks, developed by Shahid Kolah Dooz Industrial Complex.[5]


Map of Safir-72 operators in blue with former users in red

See also[edit]


  • Iran's Military Forces in Transition: Conventional Threats and Weapons of Mass Destruction by Anthony H. Cordesman