According to previous video issued by Iran’s state broadcasting company (IRIB), Tehran has a top-attack version of its Toophan (“typhoon”) anti-tank guided missile. The Toophan series are derived from the U.S. BGM-71 TOW series of anti-tank guided weapons (ATGW). This marks Iran’s return to the licit arms market, while also belying the previous illicit transfers of similar missiles to Iraq and elsewhere in the region. It has been previously reported that Toophan systems were intercepted en route to the Gulf of Aden in 2015. Toophan missiles have also been documented as being in service with pro-government, predominantly Shi’a militias in both Syria and Iraq.
The Toophan-3 (T3) is a recent addition to the family of anti-tank missiles that grew out of licensed TOW production in the 1970s. The family includes the Toophan-1 (a licensed copy of the BGM-71A), Toophan-2 (a BGM-71C derivative) and at least two other variants designated the Toophan-5 and Qaem (developed from the Toophan missile), which have no direct TOW counterparts.
The T3 closely resembles the BGM-71F (TOW-2B). Both operate by using magnetic and laser sensors whilst passing over the target, causing the munition to function a downward-facing explosively formed penetrator (EFP) against the relatively thin top armour of most armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs). Unlike the TOW-2B, the T3 employs only a single EFP. In addition, the T3’s EFP is narrower, which is likely to lower its effectiveness even further. However, the claimed penetration (>80 mm RHAe)—consistent with common rule-of-thumb estimates relating penetration to warhead diameter—is still enough to successfully neutralise most modern AFVs.
Large interest in the emergence of the T3 at a March 2016 Defense, Security & Aviation Fair underscored the importance Tehran placed on re-entering the global arms market. In 2006, the United Nations Security Council banned Iran’s export of arms in a resolution linked to the nuclear dispute. The JCPOA, signed July 2015 to resolve this issue, promised to remove these restrictions. Although, in theory, Tehran remains bound by these resolutions until certain provisions are implemented and verified, in practice these details have been brushed aside by Tehran in its hurry to win over new and old customers alike. This is especially true when the customers, like Iraq, are potential geostrategic allies.
Range (Day): 3,500m
Range (Night): 2,500m
Average Velocity: 240 m/s
Warhead Diameter: 128mm
Warhead Weight: 1.7kg
Penetration: 80mm RHAe
* Claimed specifications as per Ministry of Defense’s export webpage.
This article is reproduced courtesy of Armament Research Services (ARES). See armamentresearch.com for further original content.