Iran’s Weird, Faux ‘Stealth Fighter’ … Can Actually Move!
Qaher F-313 taxis for the first time
Footage and photographs depicting a new prototype of Iran’s infamous Qaher F-313 “stealth fighter” have just emerged, at around the same time that Pres. Hassan Rouhani was participating in an April 15, 2017 exhibition celebrating the achievements of Defense Ministry Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan.
The “upgraded version” of the “stealth fighter” can be observed performing taxi tests. The aircraft appears to be slightly different than the one that Iran unveiled on Feb. 2, 2013 — which was nothing more than a poorly-designed mock-up that could never fly.
On the old mock-up, the cockpit was basic for any modern plane, the air intakes appeared to be too small and the engine section lacked any kind of nozzle — meaning that the engine would probably melt the aircraft’s back-end. Above all, the aircraft was way too small, so much so that its cockpit couldn’t fit a normal-size human being.
The new prototype. Photo via Defence.pk
The new prototype retains the original weird shape but has a more realistic cockpit that’s large enough to accommodate an Iranian test pilot on an ejection seat. The new airframe also features a “normal” canopy — the previous one was clearly made of plexiglass — and a dorsal antenna.
It’s equipped with dual exhaust nozzles. According to some sources, these are U.S.-made engines. According to others, they’re new turbofan engines or modified Iranian J-85s. And, interestingly, some sort of Forward Looking Infra-Red turret is attached to the nose of the aircraft, which also features a white radome.
Although the new prototype isn’t a complete joke like its predecessor was, it’s still pretty hard to say whether it will be able to take to the air and land safely without further modifications. The intakes continue to appear to be smaller than normal. The wing are small, as well, and feature a peculiar design quirk — the outboard sections cant downward.
As already explained here in the past, Iranian engineers have been responsible for some impressive achievements in spite of the international embargo imposed after the 1979 Revolution. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force remains the world’s only operator of the F-14 Tomcat. Tehran keeps the F-14s airworthy and has enhanced some of them with domestic avionics upgrades and weapons.
Moreover, Iranian drones are quite popular in the Middle East. Some of them have been extensively used in combat over Syria.
So let’s be prudent and wait for more footage of the F-313 before we decide if it’s propaganda, a hoax or simply the first step toward a strange but functional new fighter.
Thanks to “Al D” for the heads-up. This story originally appeared at The Aviationist.