Iran has unveiled a new domestically designed and manufactured fighter jet that it says has stealth capabilities, a claim that aviation experts are already questioning.TOI adds:
Iranian authorities rolled out a single-seat bomber, the Qaher F-313 (“Dominant”), on Saturday to much fanfare, including an appearance by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who assured the jet is for defensive purposes only, a claim reminiscent of Iranian assurances that its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes.
The Tehran Times reports that Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi detailed some of the plane’s capabilities which he claims include:
• avoiding radar detection
• flying at low altitudes
• carrying advanced domestically-manufactured weapons
• taking off and landing on short runways
• able to combat other aircraft and targets on the ground
The Israeli paper Maariv interviewed aeronautical expert Tal Inbar who says the aircraft looked like a model made of fiberglass or cardboard. He said, “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,” Inbar added.
Aviation guru David Cenciotti, a freelance reporter, remarked on his blog that the plane sported “implausible aerodynamics and Hollywood sheen” and was laughably small for a fighter jet. He noted that the cockpit was far too basic for a sophisticated aircraft, and appeared “similar to those equipping small private planes.”Other aviation blogs were similarly skeptical.
“The nose section is so small almost no radar could fit in it,” he wrote. “The air intakes are extremely small, whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.”
“It looks like this pilot is in a miniature plane” and it appeared “nothing more than a large mock-up model,” he argued.
Iran also broadcast video footage of the Qaher F-313 in flight, which Cenciotti said appeared to fly like a “radio-controlled scale model more than a modern fighter jet.” He also noted it was suspect that Tehran did not release takeoff and landing footage of its new aircraft.
An aircraft that doesn't exist? Now, that's what I call stealth!