US vs Iran
Iranian Defence Industry
In September 1980, Saddam Hussain with the tacit approval and covert support of Saudi Arabia, UK, US and others invaded Iran . This war that lasted for 8 years and resulted in almost 1 million casualties and with a cost of 1.2 trillion dollars was to have a tremendous impact on the psyche of the Iranian people.
Prior to the revolution, the Iranian armed forces were armed almost exclusively by the American and European weapons; even some of the ammunitions were imported. After the revolution and the subsequent arms embargo, Iran was left with what it had in its depots. The arms embargo taught Iranians a valuable lesson about the virtues of self-sufficiency. During the 8 years of war Iran continued to purchase what it could from whatever sources that were available; usually ending-up buying older weapon systems at inflated prices. In contrast Iraqis were given the latest of everything, even American satellite pictures of the Iranian positions.
To overcome this problem, the Iranians focused on design and manufacture of armaments. By the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Iranians had managed to design (or reverse-engineer) and manufacture many weapon systems locally. “By 1990, there were over 240 factories and some 12,000 privately owned smaller concerns producing armaments, employing about 45,000 people. Iran could also adapt imported missile systems components, assemble fighters and some tanks, and produce other modern systems under licensed production agreements.” . It was during the war, out of necessity and under harsh arms embargo that the Iranians started to seriously strive to achieve a totally self-sufficient armaments capability; something that few countries have ever tried.
Defence Industries Organisation (DIO)
At the core of this drive for self-sufficiency one finds the Defence Industries Organisation (DIO). Although DIO was first established in 1924, it did not really begin to grow until late 60s when the country could finally afford the necessary investments. By mid 70s Iran had signed some co-production agreements with US and UK for production/assembly/repair of aircraft, helicopters and missiles. But a few years later there was a revolution (1979) and the subsequent embargo put a stop to all further cooperation.
Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar