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More Details Emerge About The Aras Pickup Truck

May 30, 2019

Via Iranian media.

The Iranian military–both the Artesh and the Revolutionary Guard–employ the Aras pickup truck in large numbers for different roles. The Army Day parade last April 18 saw these vehicles decorated with flags and tarpaulin posters on their beds as they led immense convoys bearing military equipment. After the publication of a comparative analysis between the Aras and similar models from around the world this week a reader submitted a rare Defense Industries Organization (DIO) product leaflet to @21aar_show, the official Twitter account for this website. At last, a detailed enumeration of the Aras’ characteristics can now be shared.

It was earlier claimed the Aras shares many commonalities with the Toyota Land Cruiser 70/78/79. This is correct and proven by the vehicle’s dimensions, with the Aras having the same length as a Land Cruiser, albeit with a wider bonnet and grille for some reason. The Aras is also manufactured as an enclosed “troop carrier” and a single/double cab truck with an open bed. The ones that participated in the Army Day parade were of the single cab variant. A surprising revelation was the Aras’ engine type. The bestselling Land Cruiser family are renowned for their unfailing diesel engines. The Aras, on the other hand, runs on a smaller 133 horsepower engine imported from China–the “CYQD32TI” is based on a Nissan diesel engine model.

The US-made Dodge M880 CUCV truck is slightly better than the Aras.

The Aras is able to carry both human and material cargo with relative ease. The flatbed transports a maximum of 2.4 tons that’s good enough for a twin barrel ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun and its spare ammunition. The ZU-23-2, by the way, is mass-produced by the DIO along with several calibers of anti-aircraft artillery including 35mm, 57mm, and 100mm. The ZU-23-2 is a clear favorite of the ground forces, being installed on different vehicle types, and is maintained in substantial quantities. For the Aras to tow a one ton ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun on a wheeled carriage, this indicates its towing capacity is at least twice the ZU-23-2’s weight. Two lethal weapon stations for the Aras are an eight barrel Grad launcher (730 kilograms) and a 120mm mortar (140 kg). Both are light enough to be installed on pivoting mounts on the bed without stressing the rear axles.

What is still undetermined about the Aras is its chassis. It’s possible for the two front axles to have helicoidal springs while the rear axles have leaf springs. If a fully enclosed armored variant of the Aras is ever required by the Iranian military, the chassis still needs to undergo changes. Foremost is having double wishbone suspension on the front axles so these absorb movement over rough terrain better. The rear axles will do fine with just helicoidal springs. With a sturdier chassis it’s now possible for a larger engine, producing anywhere between 150 or 200 hp, paired with an automatic transmission for easy driving. The Aras as a protected APC could seat as many as eight passengers with one of them behind the rooftop on a ring mount.

Learning about the Aras’ true characteristics reinforces its perceived value for the Artesh and the IRGC. It’s a commendable pickup truck whose capacity and mobility are applicable to the whole Middle East; a deserving upstart that rivals the popular Toyota Land Cruiser. Iran’s DIO can do much better though since the domestic automotive sector is the largest in the region with a supply chain extending to East Asia. Even crippling economic sanctions haven’t prevented the development of the Aras or hindered its broad adoption. But the Islamic Republic’s sworn enemies should be pleased with the knowledge the DIO’s attempts at homegrown armored fighting vehicles are really poor and questionable. Pickup trucks? Good enough.

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