Tiam MBT was officially introduced on April 13, 2016. Very little information has been revealed about this tank.
Iran is well known for its ability to utilize its finite resources to upgrade and develop indigenous weapons systems. The Iranian Tiam MBT deserves to be described as a “Frankenstein” tank. According to the Iranian Army, it is an “optimized” version of the Sabalan, itself based on the hull of the M47. Tiam’s weapon systems come from everywhere; The turret was a modified Type 59/69 turret, which retained the same 105 mm HM-49L (L7) guns as the Sabalan. And yet, Tiam is equipped with a Russian fire control system, an “upgraded” engine of unknown origin, and a domestically-made ERA package.
Tiam MBT was officially introduced on April 13, 2016. Very little information has been revealed about this tank. The hull of the Tiam is derivated from the earlier Sabalan MBT prototype, with an enlarged frontal hull to make more room for various equipments.
The Tiam’s turret, while pursumably being based on Type 59/69, is also extensively modified. The turret is enlarged to accomodate a fire control system derived from the Slovenian EFCS-3 FCS, that is also found on other Iranian tanks, as well as the 105 mm gun. according to Iranian source, is a “smoothbore” gun derivative of the 105 mm M68/L7 gun.
The turret also features an extension to accomodate some composite armor, as well as several rows of ERA bricks. Auxiliary armament is a 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine gun in a swiveling mount, as well as a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. Similar to the M47M variants, the Tiam has four crew members; commander, driver, loader, and gunner. The original IR searchlight is also kept right hand side to the gun mount, and for active concealment two banks of four smoke dischargers are fitted on either side of the turret front. Varying source stated that 170 of the M47M tanks were later converted into Tiam’s standard.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran was a major ally of the United States to counter the balance of power with the Soviet Union, due to this, Iran enjoyed a large amount of American military support. Among the numerous American equipment sold during this period are the M47M Patton tanks, which is an export-only model of the M47 Patton with the polpusion and fire control system of the M60A1, of which 400 were sold to Iran during the 1960s. After the fall of Shah in 1979, the new Islamic Republic of Iran faced sanctions from the US and later involved in the war with Iraq in 1980. During this time, Iran purchased a surplus of Type 59/69 from China to fulfil their armored vehicle needs in absence of the US.
After the war with Iraq, Iran has started to develop their own arms industry to reduce the reliance on foreign support, with the domestic arms industry within the country experimenting with NATO and Eastern bloc equipment to create a unique mash-ups.