Iran’s Battle Buggy Looks Like It’s From a Bad ’80s Sci-Fi Movie
The Fallagh is a strange vehicle
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN
In May, the Iranian military tested the Fallagh tank for the first time during the Beit-ul-Moqaddas 28 war game. But the term “tank” is pushing it. The Fallagh is more a tracked, armored battle buggy with a 12.7-millimeter DShK machine gun bolted onto the top.
Iranian army Gen. Masoud Reza Zawarei told Mashregh News — an agency affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps — that the Fallagh “has incredible power considering its weight and is very quick.”
Tehran relies on theatrical military displays to project an image of strength. As a result, Iran produces a plethora of weapons with dubious practicality, such as jam-prone assault rifles and dressed-up Bell helicopters. Some weapons, such as an outrageously fake stealth fighter, are strictly for propaganda.
Armored buses are a more useful Iranian innovation — as riot-control vehicles — though we can’t help but notice a resemblance to props from ’80s sci-fi B-movies. The Fallagh is also ridiculous looking, like a machine from the schlock fest The New Barbarians.
The driver appears terribly exposed inside what is supposed to be a combat vehicle.
The Fallagh has appeared sporadically in Iranian media, which claims the vehicle has a purported top speed of around 60 miles per hour off road, 80 miles per hour on road. The total weight is around four tons.
It both resembles and has similar characteristics to the unmanned Ripsaw, which the U.S. Army has evaluated as a convoy escort vehicle but has not formally adopted.
O.E. Watch, the monthly newsletter of the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office, doubted the Fallagh is useful for more than crowd control.
While Iran’s claim of equipping it with stabilizer automation does not seem credible, the possible use for such a platform is not clear, as such a lightweight tank would not be able to stand up to the resistance it would face in an extended international conflict. Nor is it clear that it would be of much use in the difficult terrain in which Iran faces insurgency, specifically along the Afghan border or in the Zagros Mountains along the Iraqi frontier. However, it would have utility in crowd control if and when the Iranian government faces any uprising.
The Fallagh may be a Ripsaw copycat.
But don’t let the Fallagh’s impracticality fool you. It’s just one vehicle. Iranian espionage skills and engineering ingenuity — coupled with self-sufficiency — enable the country to keep and improve on its weapon systems. Iranian F-14 Tomcats are still combat worthy, and Tehran has produced working armed drones.
O.E. Watch also noted Iran unveiled a new tank carrier at Beit-ul-Moqaddas 28, which could be significant.
The Army analysts noted the carrier “suggests that the Iranian government has begun to work to counter logistical holes and weakness which face its military … an ability to transfer tanks and other heavy equipment from one side of the country to the other is crucial for Iran’s defense.”