It’s Back! Iran’s ‘Fake’ Stealth Fighter Is Reportedly in Production

March 8, 2017 0

The F-313 in 2013. Fars News photos The F-313 Qaher first appeared in 2013 by DAVID CENCIOTTI Remember the clearly fake, prototype “stealth fighter” that Iran...
The F-313 in 2013. Fars News photos

The F-313 Qaher first appeared in 2013

by DAVID CENCIOTTI

Remember the clearly fake, prototype “stealth fighter” that Iran unveiled in 2013? Well, it’s in the final stages of initial production, according to Tehran.

Be skeptical.

Four years ago, the Iranian government declared the F-313 Qaher “one of the most sophisticated fighter jets in the world.”

Based on the first photos of the F-313 that Tehran released on Feb. 2, 2013, we concluded that the Qaher was just a mock-up, and would never fly in its current form.

In fact, the cockpit seemed too basic for a modern plane and the air intakes too small. The engine section lacked any kind of nozzle — meaning that the engine, with or without afterburner, would probably melt the aircraft’s back end.

The F-313 in 2013

Generally speaking, the aircraft was way too small. Some of our readers may remember a photo of an Iranian pilot sitting in a cockpit that obviously couldn’t fit a normal-size human being.

Four nearly four years, there was no new news about the F-313. That changed on March 5, 2017, when Iran’s defense minister Gen. Hossein Dehqan claimed that work on the Qaher was complete and ready for testing, as reported by the semi-official Fars News.

A video released in 2013 depicted a flying, radio-controlled model of the F-313. Indeed, some Iranian readers have said that the Qaher was actually meant to be a drone. That might still be the case.

In any event, Fars News has toned down its rhetoric. “Qaher is a logistic aircraft for short distances and is a light fighter jet used for military and training operations,” the news agency stated. “Some military analysts have stated that Qaher is a fifth-generation [stealth] aircraft.”

Manned or unmanned, the version of the F-313 we’ve seen so far hardly seems flightworthy. However, Iranian engineers have surprised us before.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force remains the world’s only operator of the F-14, which Tehran has been able to kept airworthy and enhance with domestic avionics and weapons despite an international arms embargo that dates to 1979.

Likewise, Iran has been able to produce and export several unmanned aerial vehicles, some of those have seen extensive combat over Syria.

So, let’s wait until we see new images or footage of the F-313 before we decide for good whether it’s a real plane … or just the product of domestic propaganda.

This story originally appeared at The Aviationist.