Iran has presented its first domestically designed defense fighter-bomber jet with limited stealth capabilities. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that the plane was designed for defense purposes, and will not be used for aggression.Codenamed Qaher-313 (‘Conqueror’), the jet is an advanced single-seat single-engine military plane. It is reportedly capable of engaging targets on the ground, as well as achieving air superiority in dogfights.
According to photos published by Fars news agency, the jet boasts impressive technical specifications, with a ‘stealth’ design similar to that of the US F-22 and Russian T-50. The large wingspan and inclined outward tail fins resembles the F-35, as well as the unusual-looking wings and modern seamless canopy. The jet may have been constructed using composite materials. Iranian engineers have claimed that the Qaher is capable of short take-offs and landings, and can be repaired easily.
Video of the jet suggests that is already undergoing flight tests, and Iranian pilots have reportedly said they are fully satisfied with the new aircraft. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the Qaher is a “fully indigenous” aircraft, designed and constructed solely by Iranian aerospace experts. “This advanced fighter jet with unique physical characteristics has a very low radar cross section and therefore is capable of operating at low altitudes,” Vahidi told Mehr news agency
The presentation of the fighter jet coincided with Iran’s ‘Ten-Day Dawn’ celebrations commemorating the 39th anniversary of the end of country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The ceremony was attended by Iran’s top brass and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Qaher is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, and insisted that the jet is intended for defensive deterrence.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad reiterated that “Iran’s defense might does not serve purposes of expansionism and aggression against other countries,” Press-TV quoted him as saying. “This project carries the message of brotherhood, peace, and security and it doesn’t pose any threat to anyone. There is no intention to interfere in any other country’s affairs.”
Ahmadinejad also boasted that the Qaher is a vivid example of Iran’s growing technological self-sufficiency. “Now the speed of Iran’s development in science and technology does not depend on circumstances, it depends on our will,” Ahmadinejad said on state television on Saturday. “We should set higher targets. We see that it is possible, we have the capabilities.”
Iran unveiled its first domestically manufactured fighter jet Azarakhsh (‘Lightning’) in 2007. An advanced version of the jet, Saeqeh (‘Thunder’), was presented in 2010. Iran desperately needs new military fighter jets due to an international arms embargo imposed on the country immediately after the 1979 revolution; the country’s air force is composed mostly of outdated US and Russian jets. Many foreign-made aircraft in Iran’s possession are inoperable due to the impossibility of buying spare parts.