US vs Iran
with a firing range of 15,200 meters and a road speed of 65 kilometers per hour. It may use the Iranian-made Boragh chassis, a modification of the Chinese Type WZ 501/503 armored infantry fighting vehicle.
Thunder 2 / RAAD 2
In early September 1997 it was reported that Iran had successfully tested a locally built rapid fire mobile field gun known as "Thunder 2." The Defense Industries Organization claimed that the 155 mm self- propelled gun had a high firing rate, accuracy and mobility. It was described as being able to fire five rounds per minute and move with a speed of 70 km (43 miles) per hour in the battlefield. The gun's range was reported as 30 km (19 miles), and it also includes features such as a laser range-finder and a semi-automatic loading system.
The new 155mm/39 calibre ordnance is manufactured by the Hadid facility of the Iranian Defence Industries Organisation. "The establishment also builds a wide range of other tank and artillery barrels as well as towed artillery systems, rocket launchers and ground-based mortar systems...." In appearance, the Thunder-2 ordnance which is known in Iran as 155 mm Cannon HM44 looks identical to that of the 155mm/39 calibre M185 ordinance used in US Mo9AI.
The Iranian gun is fitted with a double baffle muzzle brake, fume extractor, screw breech mechanism, hydropneumatic recuperator and a hydraulic recoil brake. The top stated rate of fire is 4 rounds per minute. The elevation range of the weapon is -3 degree to +75 degree. Two spades are provided for stable firing position for the equipment.
Although largely a derived equipment, it has a general layout like the US MI09AI but it features a new turret and chassis. The suspension is probably a new design of torsion bar type with six dual rubber-tyred road wheels on each side. The rubber wheels appear to be of the Russian T-72 tank and possibly manufactured under license in Iran.
Incidentally the Hadid (Iron) Factory also makes a wide range of other barrels for armoured vehicles and artillery applications including the 122 mm for Thunder-I and the 125 mm barrels for the T-72 series (HM 50).
Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar