In 2020, the Makran IFV, an upgraded and upsized copy of the BTR-50 APC, was introduced.

Despite sanctions, the arms industry in Iran is growing. In recent years, the country has built its own tanks, radars, air defense systems and jets, among other weapons. Iran’s weapons are mainly based on outdated cold war-era arsenals, upgraded and installed with new combat modules to extend their operational life.

In 2020, the Makran IFV, an upgraded and upsized copy of the BTR-50 APC, was introduced. The vehicle is produced and designed by the Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization. While the Makran is technically an infantry fighting vehicle, it has a large troop compartment as it is based on the BTR-50, allowing it to dual function as an armoured personnel carrier.

It should be noted that during the period of the Shah, Iran purchased and received around 300 BTR-50’s, and during the Iran–Iraq War hundreds were captured. While only 150-270 are estimated to be in service, hundreds are currently in storage, and a couple were given to the Popular Mobilization Forces. The IRGC realized after the Iran–Iraq War, that the BTR-50s and BTR-60s it had needed more armour and firepower, leading to the development of the Makran, Heidar-6, and Heidar-7.

The Makran retains a similar layout to the original BTR-50, maintaining several key characteristics, with the addition of several modifications such as a new unmanned combat module, dubbed the Raad-2, a new unspecified Diesel Engine and Transmission. A newly welded frontal armor plate, thicker side armor, and thicker floor plating.

The new unmanned turret called “Raad-2”, armed with a Shipunov 2A42 30mm automatic cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The “Raad” unmanned turret contains a brand new fire-control system, a thermal-imaging sensor, night-vision cameras, a laser range finder, 3-6 smoke canister launchers, and is controlled via a display panel in the hull.

The laser range finder has a range of 10,000 meters, and the thermal-imaging sensor has a range of 4,000 meters. The vehicle stores 500 rounds of 30mm ammunition for the Shipunov 2A42 auto-cannon, and 2000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for the coaxial machine gun. The vehicle’s driver also has a new cupola and periscope, to fit with the newly molded frontal armor.

Published images show that the IFV can carry anti-tank guided missiles, such as the Toophan or Sadid-1, however not much is known of this capability. The main gun is fired by the Gunner who uses an advanced dual-display FCS that can access the electro-optical sight with thermal imaging rated at 4km, as well as an integrated laser rangefinder which has a max range of 10km.

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