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Transmission

Analysts Say Tehran Cloaking Truth In Claims Of New Stealth Fighter Jet

Iran says the Qaher F-313 fighter jet can fly at low altitudes, take off and land on short runways, and has stealth capabilities. Some experts question whether the unveiling showed anything more than a fancy mock-up.
Iran says the Qaher F-313 fighter jet can fly at low altitudes, take off and land on short runways, and has stealth capabilities. Some experts question whether the unveiling showed anything more than a fancy mock-up.
Iran over the weekend presented what it called a "significant achievement in the field of aerospace technology" -- a domestically built fighter jet with stealth capabilities.

Some aviation experts, however, believe the tiny, angular fighter jet with stubby wings shown to the world may have been an expensive mock-up and that video footage of the black jet screaming across the sky may actually show a radio-controlled model aircraft instead.

Such skepticism may be understandable, given the recent questions surrounding Iran's now-dubious claim of having sent a monkey into space and returning him safely to Earth.

At an unveiling ceremony in a Tehran warehouse on February 2, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said that now "the speed of Iran's development in science and technology does not depend on circumstances, it depends on our will." He assured the world that the Qaher (Conqueror) F-313 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."

He also said the "deterrent" aircraft, built by the country's Aviation Industries Organization, had been test-flown for "thousands of hours" and that Iranian pilots were "very satisfied with its performance."

"We should set higher targets," Ahmadinejad said. "We see that it is possible. We have the capabilities."

WATCH: Footage from Iranian TV allegedly showing the aircraft in flight


Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi described the jet as having "unique physical characteristics," of being made of "advanced materials," and said that it boasted a very low radar cross section that enables it to operate at low altitudes. He also said it can take off and land on short runways and can carry advanced, domestically manufactured weapons.

Considering that Iran is operating under an international arms embargo and that spare parts for its aging fleet of domestic commercial aircraft and air force jets (some Russian-made and others being U.S. jets acquired before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution) are difficult to obtain, experts and analysts are calling into question the veracity of Tehran's claims.

"The Aviationist" website, run by former Italian Air Force pilot and freelance aviation journalist David Cenciotti, calls the Qaher F-313 a "really peculiar design," with "odd" canopy material and a tiny nose section where it would be difficult to house radar:

The cockpit seems to be basic (a bit too much for a modern plane – note the lack of wirings behind the front panel and the presence of few instruments, some of those similar to those equipping small private planes...).

The air intakes are extremely small (they remind those of current drones/unmanned combat aerial vehicles) whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.

Cenciotti concludes that the photograph released by Iran is "nothing more than a large mock-up model" and that the video more closely resembles a "radio-controlled scale model more than a modern fighter jet."

He notes that the Iranian footage, revealingly, does not show the plane taking off or landing.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad approaches the pilot of the Qaher F-313 during the unveiling ceremony. Experts question the quality of the material used to make the canopy.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad approaches the pilot of the Qaher F-313 during the unveiling ceremony. Experts question the quality of the material used to make the canopy.


The Israeli newspaper "Maariv" quotes Israeli aeronautics expert Tal Inbar as saying the fighter jet looks like a fiberglass or cardboard model:

“It’s not a plane, because that’s not how a real plane looks. Iran doesn’t have the ability to build planes. Plain and simple.”

"The Times of Israel," however, quotes an Israeli aerospace engineer on condition of anonymity as saying that, while the plane on display was "clearly not" a working prototype...

…it integrated advanced stealth design with extreme maneuverability. He said that while the Qaher’s design lacked bombing capability, it had the potential to be an effective interceptor capable of defending Iran’s skies from aerial threats.

“They need a defensive interceptor that gives them the element of surprise, and it is big enough to carry real air-to-air missiles,” he said.

Another aviation and defense writer, Dave Majumdar of the The DEW Line blog, says the aircraft on display in Tehran more closely resembles an old G.I. Joe toy than a modern stealth-capable aircraft.

The Iranians would have you believe this is some sort of highly advanced stealth strike aircraft that they've already designed, built and flown. But this, frankly speaking, looks unimpressive -- and if I had to put money down on it, I say it's a mock-up. I suppose it could be some sort of test bed, but I'm highly skeptical.

He questions almost every aspect of the jet, noting that if this is, indeed, supposed to be a combat aircraft, there can't be much room for fuel, let alone weapons onboard. He says the cockpit appears unfinished and that the canopy seems to be made of poor-quality Plexiglas "with some really bad optical qualities." He even questions whether there's actually an engine installed.

"Time will tell if this is a serious development or not," Majumdar concludes. "I suspect not, but we'll see."

-- Grant Podelco
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ben
February 04, 2013 14:27
For me-not an aviation expert- this is the evident art installation(for fools ). This is the example of the Muslims` Takyia - the lie for the jihad.
In Response

by: ben van lunteren from: canada
February 04, 2013 23:48
I'm sure you will see them at the next Paris Air Show, they left that out of the line of bull.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
February 05, 2013 19:45
The capability of a country in war is the industries capability
To produce a lot of tools of war, comparable to potential foe.
Iran has less expencive labor and no middlemen stealability
As does USA - however it does not have yet enough for war.

Also Iranians are geneticly very intelligent people, like Media,
In North-West - once part of pre-Georgian Caucasian home.
Oil money and participating in USA technology interlligencia
Makes realisticly too expencive try bomb Iran "for fan" alone.

It's hard to see vertical takeoff parts and wings are too short
For "short runways", it might be or not one of design models.
Important issurances of Iran's intentions, by peacefull words,
However can Iran follow it, if in Mecca their pilligrims stoned?

If "Muslem revolutions" demand Iranians pass technology on,
To "World Halifat Empire' - deviding World with pact of 1954,
(The Russia-British-Bechtel plot to squash us all in between)
Or to pass to terrorist branches of Brotherhood? Who wins?

Or more complex game typical of Russia, the Grate Dariush,
Vindictivly encouraged by Russia attack Southern Caucasus,
Devide to Darial territory, between the Great imperial-pushes,
Only end-up "Russia takes all" plus Northern-Western Iranus?

by: jgarbuz from: Queens, NY
February 04, 2013 14:50
We in the US and the West ALWAYS underestimate the capabilities of others. We are indeeds, as the Iranians call us, "arrogant."

The Russians underestimated the Japanese navy in 1905. The US underestimated Japan in 1941 before Pearl Harbor. We underestimated Russian technology before Sputnik. We live in denial.

Iran is a serious and capable foe! When are we going to stop living in denial and face reality?
In Response

by: earl from: indiana
February 04, 2013 20:26
The japanese naval code was broken before Pearl happened, FDR held it back to make the entry into WW2 easy!

by: Think People from: Earth
February 04, 2013 20:16
basically everything Iran makes is a sham and bad quality, everything made by the West is GREAT and that's why since 1979 Islamic government in Iran is the biggest challenge to Western domination of the Middle East. Iran must be really weak that Washington and its allies cannot overthrow the government in Tehran for over 30 years.

by: Ben
February 05, 2013 10:19
The comments ,particularly of Ben von der somebody,demonstrate Western panic and Muslims` fear accompanied by the liberal- imposed guilt - all that have brought Obama to power.

by: Rafiq al-Taneen from: Marseilles, France
February 23, 2013 17:40
I think Iran is doing like the Yankees as well as Soviets once used to do, disclose as little detail as possible on their military projects, whilst displaying only mock-up models to the public, whilst the actual project is being done somewhere in a secretive location. In addition, this article is spouting propaganda as you must realise the only nations participating in this "arms embargo" are the Western regimes we live under. China, North Korea, Syria, Russia, Belarus, Cuba, Venezuela, amongst others of their allies are cooperating together.

Moreover whilst it may seem Russia, one of the leading nations in the Axis of Résistance, is also embargoing arms, unofficially it is channelling military assistance into Iran, as is China. Furthermore, I must also tell you not to ethnocentrically classify other nations as incapable of anything when throughout history it has been proven that technology does not remain at one single location for long.

Iran sends aerospace engineering students to other nations, conductions cyber warfare operations, receives covert assistance from Russian as well as Chinese Intelligence services, sends Iranians to work in numerous Western engineering industries for a wide variety of military designs, moreover these same people may return to iran later with the information it needs.

In addition, might I also remind people of Pakistan's "indigenous" nuclear programme, forged with the help of clandestine networks to make up for certain things Pakistan itself was unable to provide for its programme? Remember, do not underestimate other nations, NEVER.

It is time you recognise the ability of your foes, as well as realise the truth in this world. Our regimes' imperialistic ambitions are over, moreover one day, we shall all be liberated from capitalism once then for all.

- Rafiq Al-Taneen; French political activist with an Arabic pseudonym.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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