Today Iran unveiled what it describes as a ‘super advanced’ fighter design. President Ahmadinejad described it “as among the most advanced fighter jets in the world ” a statement which is unlikely to be true considering Iran’s technology base. He added that it had been test-flown for “thousands of hours” by pilots who are “very satisfied with its performance.”
The aircraft appears to embody a reduced radar cross section design, including unusual dorsal intakes and downward drooping wingtips. It is a canard delta with twin tails and overall ‘stealth’ faceting. It is likely to be powered by a single engine based on the Russian RD-33. Several years ago Iran publicly displayed a mock-up of a stealth design with some similarities to this design. (see the latest F-35 feature here)
Of the film footage, some doubt that this is a real aircraft and believe it is a remote controlled model. The construction is certainly primitive in appearance, and this may be more of a mock-up or technology demonstrator than a fighter prototype. So far none of the flying footage is close enough to show a pilot , leading some to speculate that this is a remote-controlled model. The timing of the unveiling is interesting, coming in the same week as Iran’s ‘monkey in space’ and Israel’s bombing of Syria. One British aeronautical engineer commented “Super thick wing, single piece un-reinforced canopy – I could be wrong but its main advantage may be delivering the killer blow whilst the opposing pilot is laughing at it.”
It should also be noted that new aircraft from secretive countries are often met with skepticism, with many doubting both China’s J-20 and J-31 when images first appeared. Iran’s public display of a US RQ-170 was also suspected of being fake at the time. Statements from Israeli officials are categorical, stating it is a fake, and may even be based on a film prop. (Like to know about the MiG-37 and Russian stealth? Click here)
This follows the Azarakhsh (Lightning) and Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter jets which are modified variants of the US F-5 design.