Saturday, 2 February 2013

Iran reveals its new stealth fighter! Wait... What?

Iranian F313 "Stealth Fighter".
Earlier today, the Iranian government made the aviation world do a double take when it revealed its Qahar F313 stealth fighter.  It is fair to say that the Iran isn't even close to replicating China's jaw dropping reveal of the J-20 during U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates' visit.

The F313 is hard to take seriously.  For one thing, it is very small.  It looks more like a plane built from a kit rather than a cutting edge 5th generation fighter.  It looks more like a 2/3rds scale mockup of a proposed real thing.  Also, some of the design elements look odd, like its folded down wings and its tiny air intakes.  Its cockpit looks like it was cobbled together from parts of a car stereo shop.  The only video of it "flying" does not show take off or landing, and the sound seems like it was dubbed in.  Many believe the video is of a remote control model rather than a real jet.

The HESA Saeqeh.  Basically an F-5 with twin tails.
Iran isn't exactly known for its aircraft technology or its credibility with such.  Its recent HESA"Saegheh" fighter looks like nothing more than a 40-year old F-5 with F-18 type tailfins.  This despite the fact that Iran states it is an equal to the the F/A-18.

Iran has been under economic sanctions for years, and it is doubtful they have the technology or the manufacturing base to construct a world class stealth fighter.

There are two small things to consider however, before we dismiss the Qaher F313 entirely...

First of all, Iran did manage to get its hands on a mostly intact American RQ-170 "Sentinel" stealth drone.  It is quite possible that some drone's stealth features could be backwards engineered, especially given the widespread amount of information to be found online.

The Saab 210.
Second:  In 1952, Saab first flew its small and odd looking Saab 210a demonstrator.  The 210 would prove the concept of the double delta wing design utilized in the future Saab Draken, a world class jet fighter that was built independently in a small country without outside help.

What the 210 grew up to look like, the Draken.
Maybe Iran is just pumping out propaganda.  Maybe they are actually on to something.

No comments:

Post a Comment