Iran’s New Anti-Tank Missile Looks Awfully Familiar

March 2, 2018

Popular Mechanics:

A state owned Iranian media outlet has reported on a new Iranian anti-tank missile that bears a striking resemblance to the American-made Sidewinder missile. The Azarakhsh (“Lightning”) anti-tank missile appears identical to the famous Sidewinder air-to-air missile, and may in fact be developed from missiles imported before the Iranian revolution in 1979.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled the Azarakhsh missile for IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari. Mehr News reports the Azarakhsh weighs 70 kg (155 lbs.) and is 3096 mm long, with a diameter of 127 mm, and a 10 km (6.2 mi) range at a maximum speed of 550m/s. The missile, which is equipped with a “thermal explorer” (likely an infrared imaging seeker) is carried by Iranian Cobra attack helicopters and used against low-flying aerial targets and ground targets.

From the looks of it—long and narrow, with a set of stubby forward fins and longer tail fins—Azarakhsh is almost identical to the AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missile. First flown in the 1950s, the Sidewinder has been continuously updated. Today, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and F-22 Raptor fighters carry the Sidewinder.

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