Feb 022013

Fresh off their “Space Monkey” bait-and-switch, the Iranians are publicizing a supposed stealth fighter they’ve  built. Video here:

Iran president unveils Qaher-313 indigenous fighter jet

The thing looks like a rather sloppily assembled plywood mockup. The comments in that article are spectacular.




I can think of worse places to put the inlet, but not many. Along the trailing edges, perhaps. Inside the cockpit.

More photos here:

Iran unveiled new indigenous fighter jet

And a whole scad of photos collected here (you might need to sign up to see ’em, not sure):



[youtube ok2aMgfBdCs]

I think the most telling photo is this one:


When the pilot doesn’t even fit in the cockpit, you something’s up. Bonus: the canopy. Either they don’t want the pilots to look out and realize just how bad Iranian theocracy is, or they don’t want photographers to look in and see how embarrassed the pilots are.

 Posted by at 1:58 pm
  • LordJim

    Iran does have access to American stealth tech from that captured drone.

    • Anonymous

      Doesn’t mean they can do anything with it.

      • Anonymous

        And the whole thing appears to have been bodged from an F-5/T-38 airframe that was never consulted in the design phase.

        • B-Sabre

          The F-5 probably wants to file assault charges.

      • publiusr

        They just probably sent it on to China and Russia to see what they got out of it. The Chinese planes are quite large and can therefore carry quite a payload. Word is that they have cruise missiles that can head farther out to sea than a carrier based aircraft can reach inland.

        Also, fighter pilots have the saying that, if you run out of energy, you run out of options.
        Even if this were legit–this would be nothing more than a trainer. An old MiG or Mirage would be better.

        • B-Sabre

          I suppose that it could be intended as a stealthy strike aircraft and not a “fighter” much like the F-117 is really a bomber.

          Honestly, am I seriously considering that?

        • Peter Hanely

          Not having to make a return trip has advantages for strike range. So a cruise missile with longer operational range than a carrier based aircraft isn’t suprising.

    • Brianna

      A friend of mine who follows such things told me that about a decade after we lost an F118 in Kosovo, someone from Aviation Week asked the Russians what progress they were making with the stealth technology. The response was basically, “None, but not for lack of trying.” I really don’t see the Iranians being more successful than the Russians.

      • B-Sabre

        The irony of course being that the original theory behind stealth came from a Russian research paper.

        There’s a story that Ben Rich (of Lockheed Skunkworks) went to Russia after the Cold War ended and was generally wined and dined. At a dinner, they presented him a chunk of fuselage with stealth treatments they had recovered in Siberia, and complimented him on the advanced design features. What they didn’t realize is that it was from an old D-21 scramjet drone, and had lain in the snow for about 20 years before they had found it!

        • Anonymous

          Sounds like crap. The theory that Skunk Works used was based on a russian research paper. Skunk Works was rather a late entry in the stealth competition. Whether Northrop Grumman and the others used the same theory is doubtful. There is often not one single person that leads to a new idea. They are called Navier Stokes equations, not Navier equations or Stokes equations. Some people who say that without Einstein there would be no relativity theory better Google Poincaré, Hilbert and Lorentz. In your case, Google Northrop XST. From what I understand, the Skunk Works entry only provided lower radar return under some angles. And that was for the model on the pole, for a real fighter the difference might have even been less. From what I understand, the radar cross section of the airplane is so low, even the pilot’s helmet starts becoming a significant contributor under some angles. It is also just that there is no Northrop equivalent of Ben Rich that has a number of those things down in a book like Skunk Works: My Personal Memoirs of my Years at Lockheed, which I have at home.

  • Cambias

    What does it mean when a regime goes off into pure fantasy this way? Is the Iranian government trying to lie to their own people, or the rest of the world — and do they really think they are fooling anybody?

    Or is it the Iranian government itself which is being lied to? Technicians producing a bogus “stealth fighter” because the Minister of Aviation promised the President that he could build one?

    Either way it sounds ominous.

    • Anonymous

      It could be multiple levels of lying. The western world is unlikely to be impressed with this, certainly the Israelies will not be dissuaded from dropping the banhammer on the Iranians if they feel the need based on this little show. But it might perk up the home crowd, make ’em feel like maybe their country can actually make stuff. And of course it’s possible that it was designed and slapped together be people who know better, but who presented it anyway in the hopes that it might get them some funds, or get the secret police off their backs, who knows. This is not new… the reason why so many whackjob “Luftwaffe 1946” designs came out of the aircraft design firms of Nazi Germany in the last year or two of the war is because the designers were desperate to look useful, and avoid getting sent to the Eastern Front.

      • B-Sabre

        I would also note that, from the comments on the Iranian page, there are plenty of people willing to swallow this “mincemeat” whole, for any number of reasons.

      • BScCollateral

        That’s an excellent point. It’s very possible that the people being fooled are the Iranian government.

        In general, I think this is a very common thing in dictatorships, and that historians and analysts haven’t picked up on it.

      • Herp McDerp

        … the reason why so many whackjob “Luftwaffe 1946” designs came out of the
        aircraft design firms of Nazi Germany in the last year or two of the
        war is because the designers were desperate to look useful, and avoid
        getting sent to the Eastern Front.

        That happens here and now, too. Bidding on government projects, we used to see occasional desperation bids from companies being downsized, submitted by people who had convinced Upper Management that if they could just win this one they could turn things around … The bids often were non-responsive to the RFP, but they kept the people on the proposal teams employed for a few more months.

  • Nick P.

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like if it was an actual domestically produced fighter then all of the writing on it would be in, you know, Arabic.

    That they’ve painted everything on it in English just screams to me that it’s a show piece meant for propaganda purposes.

    • B-Sabre

      Well, English is the language of aviation. Most air traffic communications are done in English when dealing with international traffic. If you think about it, it makes sense. You’re overseas pilots only have to learn one foreign language rather than them all.

      Other than that, maybe they got a good deal on joke “Ejection Seat” decals on E-bay.

    • Brianna

      Farsi, not Arabic. The Iranians are Persians and Farsi is their native tongue. And B-Sabre, while you’re right about English being the language of aviation, given the nation we’re dealing with I’m not so sure that the government of Iran would care about that w.r.t. fighter jets as opposed to commerce aviation.

      • Nick P.

        Farsi, right.

        I vaguely felt I was wrong when I hit submit, but it was too late at that point.

      • Anonymous

        The persian script/alphabet is largely based on the arabic script.

  • Richard

    Those wings make it look like it’d have issues keeping up with a 747 let alone any other fighter aircraft deployed in the world today

    • B-Sabre

      There are so many issues with that thing (I refuse to call it an airplane) that I don’t even know where to start. I’m not even seeing any navigation lights on the thing.

      I saw better FX models in Stealth.

      • Herp McDerp

        To me, the landing gear looks normal size, and the rest of the “aircraft” seems to be sized at about 80%.

  • The flying shots scream model to me , and the canopy looks like a vac form from 40 years ago. I wonder if it wobbles when you move it.

  • You’re all missing the point, this has a secret weapon they’ll use against the Israelis, after watching Monty Python, they realized this design would make their enemy’s pilots laugh so hard they would crash their planes.

  • Anonymous

    It’s an export model, that explains all the writing on it being in english. King Barry already ordered a dozen.

  • ezio

    you think you are so funny but this is enough to destroyed israel

    • Anonymous

      A piece-of-crap wood and fiberglass *model* is enough to destroy Israel?

    • 16 bit

      Hopefully Israel destroys the arab world first. I am so sick of hearing about muslims. I am not religious in any way but I am seriously hoping that the jews get their shit together one day and rid the earth of the Islamic nightmare.