The Islamic Republic of Iran has an extremely variegated army. It harmoniously (or not always) serve side by side “Chiefs” and T-72, “Cheonmaho” and M-47, BMP-2 and M-113. Some of these products are being upgraded to the point of losing recognition. The Persians also produce their own cars. We have already reviewed the Iranian-made Raad self-propelled guns , now let’s talk about the armored personnel carriers there.
The Rakhsh 4 * 4 armored personnel carrier, named after the horse of the mythical hero Rustam, is believed to have been in production since 2005 (although, according to other sources, its prototype was first shown at a military exhibition in Tehran in 1989). To a greater extent, this machine is adapted to perform police tasks than army ones. Rakhsh body welded, protects against 7.62 mm bullets. It is possible to install additional armor plates (it is they that give the vehicle its characteristic “scaly” appearance). Crew of two people (driver and commander), also transports 8 soldiers. The driver has two large windows with bulletproof glass at the disposal of the driver; the paratroopers have embrasures for shooting. Embarkation and disembarkation are carried out through the side and stern doors. The mass of the armored personnel carrier is 7.5 tons at full load. The Rakhsh is powered by a 155 hp diesel engine and has a top speed of 80 km / h on the highway. Due to local climatic conditions, Iranian armored personnel carriers are equipped with air conditioning.
If you compare different versions of Rakhsh with each other, you can see that the prototypes show the influence of the Soviet BRDM-2. It is possible that the Iranian armored personnel carrier “Khodrosazi Cobra”, the development of which was written about in 1996, similar to the Soviet vehicle as two drops of water, was one of the prototypes of the Rakhsh.
Rakhsh can carry various weapons. The basic version is a 7.62 or 12.7 mm machine gun. It is also possible to install a 30 mm automatic cannon, identical to that of the BMP-2, or the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun.
In Iran, Rakhsh are in service with the army, police and the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). Also, these armored vehicles were exported to Sudan, where they took part in hostilities (in Darfur, the second civil war between the North and the South).
Compared to the Soviet (possible) ancestor in the person of the BRDM-2, the Iranian “war horse” carries more soldiers and is distinguished by more powerful weapons, at a lower maximum speed. At the same time, there are doubts as to how well it handles rough terrain.
In addition to the wheeled Rakhsh, there is a tracked armored personnel carrier with the same name. Most recently, a batch of such vehicles was adopted by the Iranian border guard. The mass of the new armored personnel carrier is 11 tons, it carries six paratroopers, and develops a speed of 60 km / h. The undercarriage of the tracked Rakhsh is represented by five road wheels and two or three support rollers. The armament is represented by a remote-controlled module with a 12.7 mm machine gun.
The armor is probably bulletproof. A sufficiently large window is at the disposal of the driver. In appearance, the Rakhsh tracked vehicle is very similar to the Russian “Rakushka” tracked armored personnel carrier, but smaller in size (the length of the Rakhsh hull is 495 cm against 650 “Rakushka”, the width is 228 against 260, respectively, the height of both vehicles is the same – 210 cm). “The shell is capable of transporting an even larger number of paratroopers – 13. Conceptually, the new Iranian vehicle is close to the American reconnaissance armored personnel carrier M-114 (it has never been delivered to Iran, but similar ideas arise independently of each other at different times and in different places … ). For the task of, say, delivering an inspection team to the site, it is quite suitable.
In addition to the tracked Rakhsh, the Iranian border guards received a new wheeled KIA armored personnel carrier. The weight of this car is 10 tons, the engine is 240 hp, the speed is 90 km / h. The vehicle is protected by bulletproof armor. It was not possible to find information about the number of soldiers transported by him; by analogy with other armored vehicles of a similar type, 8-10 people can be assumed.
The Iranian military leadership believes that it is lightly armored, mine-protected vehicles that are the best response to threats such as gangs of drug dealers and smugglers, border trespassers, and extremist groups like ISIS. Low cost in comparison with similar vehicles from global manufacturers can contribute to the export of Persian armored personnel carriers to African countries, which was shown by the example of Sudan. Using the Rakhsh armored personnel carrier as an example, one can see how Iranian designers, starting with copying foreign samples, came to their own design. The tracked version of Rakhsh, although similar to the mentioned foreign counterparts, is its own development. Thus, it can be considered that Iran’s own school of light armored vehicles took place.