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Iran Announces Indigenous Carbon Fiber Production

August 30, 2011

Carbon Fiber

The Islamic Republic is an interesting regional power. At a little over 30 years old, it already has an impressive military history that includes fighting the longest conventional war in modern times. Other distinctions to its credit is pursuing both limited foreign interventions  (see Hezbollah) and a not so covert nuclear program that has earned it pariah status in the West and regional enmity among its neighbors.

Rather than buckle under the weight of  joint U.S.-E.U. sanctions, Iran is embarking on an extensive and much publicized drive to become self sufficient in its defence needs. These are of course in the realm of conventional armaments since its nuclear capability is an open ended question. To date, Iran has flaunted its long range missile technology and more than a few reverse-engineered marvels.

Without bothering to separate the hype from the fact, in the lasts several years Iran publicly showcased indigenously built copies of the TOW ATGM, UAV drones, its own bullpup assault rifle, as well as a small fleet of refurbished Cobra attack helicopters. Other impressive weapon systems include its Zulfiqar main battle tank, the Boragh APC, and a self propelled artillery similar to the U.S. M109. In 2010 Iran also claimed to have produced an indigenous version of the vaunted S300 missile system after a deal with Russia turned sour.

Iranian Zulfiqar MBT

Iran is also a prolific licensed and unlicensed manufacturer of various small arms including the MG42, G3, MP5, M16A1, several Kalashnikov variants and an accurized version of the ubiquitous RPG7.

Last Saturday Iranian officials announced that the country had acquired the technology to manufacture its own carbon fiber, thus joining an exclusive club of 10 other countries. It’s unknown exactly where Iran’s carbon fiber plant is, but such an omission is a sensible security measure. Carbon fiber is a dual use material and its sale or import is actually among the restrictions imposed by the U.S. and E.U. on Iran.

Carbon fiber’s multiple applications in the defense and commercial sectors makes it a highly sought after industrial asset. Not only does it function as excellent composite armor, but the nuclear and aerospace fields could benefit from it as well. In short, if Iran truly can produce its own carbon fiber, there is no limit for its uses.

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