Military Wiki
Type 72Z
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Iran
Service history
Used by See Operators
Production history
Manufacturer Defense Industries Organization, Military Industry Corporation
Produced 1996–present
Variants See Variants
Weight 36 tonnes[1]
Length 6.45m
Width 3.37m
Height 2.40m
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[citation needed]
fitted with ERA[2]
105mm M68 rifled tank gun[2]
7.62mm coaxial PKT and roof-mounted 12.7mm DShKM machine guns[2]
Engine V-46-6 V-12 diesel[1]
780 hp[2] (630 kW)
Power/weight 21.66hp/tonne
Suspension Torsion bar
440 km
Speed 65 km/h

The Type 72Z (also known as the T-72Z and the Safir-74,[3] and the Al-Zubair I in Sudan)[2] is a highly modernized version of the Type 59 and T-54/T-55 tanks,[3] with upgrades carried out by the Iranian Defense Industries Organization.[1]


The Type 72Z was first announced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 1996.[3] The upgrades to the Type 59 and T-54/T-55 tanks were carried out by the Vehicle Industries Group of the Defence Industries Organization, in order to extend the service life of tanks already in use with the Iranian army.[1]


The 100mm gun of the T-55/Type 59 was replaced with an Iranian-produced deriative of the 105mm M68 gun, capable of firing 9M117 Bastion anti-tank guided missiles as well as NATO standard ammunition.[1][2][4] The Slovenian Fotona Electronic Fire Control System (EFCS-3-55) was added, with automatic and manual gun stabilizers, a laser rangefinder, second-generation night sights, a ballistic computer, and an independent viewer and target designation system for the commander.[1][2][3] Electric smoke grenade dischargers were also added to provide concealment on top of the existing ability to create a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the left exhaust outlet.[1][2][5]

Explosive reactive armor (ERA) developed by the Shahid Kolah Dooz Industrial Complex can be fitted to the Type 72Z, providing protection against projectiles and napalm-type weapons. Side track skirts similar to those on the Type 59 were added to T-54/T-55 tanks upgraded with ERA.[1]

The engine was replaced with a Ukrainian 780 hp V46-6 diesel engine,[2][3] together with the SPAT-1200 transmission system.[1] Air conditioning, power steering and a fire suppression system are also believed to have been installed.[5]


  • Safir-74 - Iranian T-54/T-55 tanks which have gone through similar upgrades.[3] Safir means "messenger" in Persian.[6]
  • Al-Zubair I - Sudanese variant of the Type 72Z manufactured by the Military Industry Corporation,[7] with the engine upgraded with a supercharger.[8][9]


Map of Type 72Z operators in blue with former users in red

See also

  • Zulfiqar MBT


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Pike, John. "T-72Z Safir-74". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Pike, John; Sherman, Robert (18 June 1999). "Type 59". Federation of American Scientists Military Analysis Network. Retrieved 25 June 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Safir-74 / Type 72Z T-72Z main battle tank". Army Recognition. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  4. "Type 59 Main Battle Tank". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "DIO T-72Z (T-55) Main Battle Tank (MBT)". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  6. Cordesman, Anthony H.. Iran's Military Forces in Transition: Conventional Threats and Weapons of Mass Destruction. p. 133. 
  7. "Safir-74 - Tank Encyclopedia". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  8. "Al-Zubair-I Main Battle Tank". Military Industry Corporation. Retrieved 25 June 2017. [dead link]
  9. "Al-Zubair-I Main Battle Tank DAA02". Military Industry Corporation. Retrieved 8 November 2017. 
  10. "Iran Memproduksi Senjata dan Peralatan Militer Canggih untuk Pasar Dalam dan Luar Negeri". Retrieved 26 June 2017. 

External links

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