Saturday, January 3, 2015

Iran to Unveil Modified Fighter Jet

Iranian officials announced on Saturday that the newly modified and upgraded Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter jet will be unveiled soon. The new Saeqeh is a modified version of F-5E Tiger aircraft, with twin-seat configuration and twin-tail vertical stabilizer, and improved payload capacity and operational range.  

“The new generation of Saeqeh is a twin-seat fighter jet, which has more power, mobility, navigation equipment, fire power, payload and operational range compared with its single-seat version,” Manucheher Manteqi, Managing Director of Iranian Aviation Industries Organization, said during an interview with Tasnim news. (Tasnim, 3 January)

Saeqeh, and its predecessor Azarakhsh, have been shown in air shows in non-tactical paint scheme, like the photo above, for many years, and used mainly as demonstration aircraft. Today’s announcement indicates that Saeqeh could be fully operational and integrated into IRIAF F-5 squadrons. Manteqi did not say, however, how many F-5s will be modified as Saeqeh fighters. 

File photos: Original Saeqeh demonstration aircraft, with single seat, shown during an air show in Tehran in 2008. Saeqeh is a modified F-5E Tiger aircraft. Iran announced on Saturday that a new Saeqeh is now modified into a twin-seater fighter jet and is fully operational. (Photo: Fars News Agency)


21 comments:

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

Still working on the F-5?? khodaye man!

Nader Uskowi said...

Yes, and they apparently have done a good job. Saeqeh will fill in a niche for IRIAF.

Anonymous said...

F18 is also developed based on F-5

Anonymous said...

Improving the F-5E design is a good incremental technological achievement since the duplications Russians have not provided Iran with any modern aircraft and western sanctions remain in place. IRIAF has a good record and technical prowess with the F-5E and with new airframes, avionics and engines even this light weight jet will provide a sound domestic capability.

Anonymous said...

Yes...your reaction is correct Piruz...I am not surprised as the F-5 Mafia inside the IRIAF is pretty strong... it has always been since the war time. One reason being the number of F-5s Iran owned,,,so you had a huge number of staff working with F-5. Second being its relative low cost to operate...it is really cheap compared to the other models. Another reason the fact that Iran could easily find repair parts and even whole air crafts...this was not the case with F-14 for example. Yet another reason being the fact that it performed lots of CAS operations...so all the ground units loved F-5 and favored it when it was time for budget discussions so the Mafia stretched itself even outside IRIAF.
Given Iran's current economic situation, sanctions and the fact that it has invested heavily on this plane Iran has currently no other choice. Let us hope it will be used for its niche in IRIAF as Nader is indicating and that Iran also goes for other options to fill the gaps in other areas. IRIAF is in desperate need of modernization.

Anonymous said...

Good job? In what exactly? All these 'new' aircrafts are nothing but old F-5 airframes, with a twin-tail mount on it. They haven't been produced in mass numbers, despite claims, nor are they operational.

Anonymous said...

Yes this is a new version of an F-5 light fighter plane and even if it happens to be just a demonstration aircraft it certainly does indicate that Iran is continuing on with its research and development and learning more towards producing better fighter planes. Iran is not a superpower and does not have their capabilities, but for Iran's population size and economy, plus what they have done and now know, is remarkably very well. This in time will lead to greater advancements not only with planes but in regards to other things.

I tend to see planes as just a smart weapons platform, where the plane take smart weapons to a releasing point as far away as possible from targets so the plane doesn't become a target itself, then the plane releases the smart weapons from that point and the plane does nothing more, then its the smart weapons job to reach the target avoiding all the counter weapons along the way and that are used today so that the smart weapons can reach their targets to destroy them.

With the above in mind think of this - if you just used old World War 2 planes and fitted them with today's weapons and targeting abilities you could destroy any targets that exist today.

I do like technology and even technology within planes. Out of all the planes that are being built today that I would really love to have a fly in is this particular plane.
Now image having this plane at your home, in your back yard or on the top of your roof top, then whenever you like hop in the plane and go for a fly, then return back to your home and land, but then you would have to consider the noise and jet thrust effects on your home. These have been around for quite some years, but today with all of todays technology abilties and at Mach1.8, plus being a true STOVOL that is so intuative and easy to fly its a joy. This is so much easier to fly than a Harrier and where letting the stick go it just hovers itself.
Yes with this baby you could have it at your home, see video using this address here, and they are not being secretive like Iran is considering the volumes of information that is available to the public on their new planes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW28Mb1YvwY

Brig. Gen. Basrawi (IQAF.ret) said...

Quote: "With the above in mind think of this - if you just used old World War 2 planes and fitted them with today's weapons and targeting abilities you could destroy any targets that exist today."

This sounds highly doubtful. Propeller-driven aircraft from WW2 cannot gain sufficient amount of 'energy' in the air which is required to even match a mid to late first generation fighter jet, for example. Their acceleration is inferior, rate of climb is inferior, top speed is inferior, operational ceiling is less, its combat radius/range is less etc etc. Even the first operational fighter jet (the German Messerschmitt 262) was far superior to other countries propeller-driven fighter aircraft, and it came into action in 1945! Propeller-driven aircrafts, even newer types, are simply sitting ducks against jet fighters and weapon systems that exist today.

Brig. Gen. Basrawi (IQAF.ret) said...

Whether Iran is capable of producing F-5s is questionable. They take existing F-5s and modify them into the Saeqeh configuration. Twin canted vertical fins improve stability at supersonic speed and decrease the risk of stalling with lowered airspeed at high angles of attack. It also gives the pilot better control in pitching the nose up and down. Furthermore, canted vertical stabilizers reduces cross section making the F-5 harder to detect on radar.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly the Americans wanted a new fighter plane about the size of the F/A-18 and F-35, smaller planes the size like the F-5 simply were too small for the weapons loads they wanted to carry for many combat roles, and larger planes the size like the F-15 Eagle simply were too large and expensive for many combat roles.

So the Americans designed and built the F-5 primarily to serve as a starting point for a series of design studies which resulted in the YF-17 and the F/A-18, and most recently the F-35 which is part of that plus also the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development and acquisition program intended to replace a wide range of existing fighter aircraft, and which has an estimated program life-cycle cost of $1.1 Trillion.

When I first saw photos of what Iran had done with the F-5 till today, now take a guess what first struck my mind and Iran's program.

General. During World War 2 there were propeller-driven aircraft like the B17 which did carry bomb loads of 8,000 lb (3,600 kg), and in overload absolute max 17,600 lb (7,800 kg). With 3,600 kg of bombs in today's technology for accuracy a B17 could destroy a few main battle tanks, and with that in mind I think what I mentioned was correct.
As for sitting ducks then just keep the B17s well away from enemy planes and use long range technology where its a missiles job to get past defences.

Anonymous said...

how well will these planes do against the larger and faster F15s operated by others in the region?

Anonymous said...

I believe people here missed the whole point of Nader's and many other informed comments. This is not about Iran, a nation under the most extensive sanctions since 1979 competing with US, but about its capability to design and innovate on the F-5E an older aircraft on it has considerable experience. Before constantly knocking Iran, keep in mind that there is not one Arab nation that even design a car or a scooter, let alone an aircraft, or even a large open economy like India that can can produce an aircraft even as a prototype. Iranians engineers and technicians should be commended for their relentless efforts. Hopefully, when the sanctions are lifted Iran can acquire 5th generation aircraft and in the meantime these new versions can indeed fill a "niche".

Anonymous said...

Wrong regarding both Arab countries and India too for that matter.


Egyptian arms production dates back to the period of Muhammad Ali’s rule in the 1820s. Comprehensive and of high quality, it included warships, artillery, rifles, bombs and ammunition. Both resources and market were strictly domestic. But under European pressure, facilities were disbanded in the 1840s.

Egypt began modern arms production after World War II with help from German, Swedish and French experts. The government built ammunition and small arms factories in the mid-1950s. An aircraft factory was set up at Helwan, near Cairo, in 1950 to produce primary trainers and prototypes of fighters, and the Helwan Engine Company was set up in 1960 to produce aircraft engines. The Sakr Factory for Developed Industries, set up in 1953 in Heliopolis, another Cairo suburb, was a munitions works which began to develop missiles in the 1960s. All of these efforts were based on imported technology. During the 1960s, Egyptian industry built several hundred aircraft; some were exported. But the Soviets, by then Egypt’s main arms supplier, discouraged local arms production. The arms factories ran into financial difficulties and many had closed by the end of the 1960s. Apart from light arms manufacture, Egypt’s military industry worked only on repair and maintenance of imported weapons.

Egypt broke its special relations with the Soviets after 1973 and turned to the West. The 1973 October war and the increase in oil prices spurred plans for expanded Egyptian military industries. So did the new economic program of infitah, with its goal of opening of the Egyptian economy to foreign companies and expanding exports. The Sadat regime proposed construction of a military-industrial complex called the Arab Organization of Industries (AOI). AOI was based on the idea that the Saudis and their partners would provide the capital; Washington, London and Paris would provide the technology and capital equipment; Egypt would contribute its four existing arms factories -- the aircraft and engine factories in Helwan, the Sakr munitions factory in Heliopolis and the Kader factory (aircraft and armor) -- and some 15,000 trained workers. AOI was formally set up in 1975 and some assembly and licensing agreements were reached in 1977-1978, but Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states cut off funding in 1979 in response to the Egyptian-Israeli-US peace treaty. Egypt assumed total control of the consortium at that point, with credits from the US and France and some money from arms exports. Since 1984, there have been reports of renewed Saudi funding.

AOI annual production was about $100 million in the early 1980s. Most of this output was for Egyptian forces, though Egypt exports to Iraq and some other Arab and African states as well. Military Production Industries (MPI) is a government-run arms complex under the Defense Ministry that is separate from AOI. MPI has 15 factories, mainly in Cairo’s suburbs. Its $240 million annual output of small arms and ammunition is mostly for local use. Together the two consortia oversee 24 factories and have a labor force of between 70,000 and 100,000.

Anonymous said...

Continuation...

AOI projects have built up the Egyptian aerospace industry. Between 1982 and 1985, the Helwan plant assembled some 37 French Alpha jets with almost half local components including flaps, rudders, tailcones and some avionics. Helwan is now assembling Chinese F-7 (MiG-21) fighters, and is beginning to assemble Mirage 2000 fighters. The Kader factory, perhaps with Saudi financing, is producing 110 Brazilian EMB-312 Tucano trainers, 80 of them for Iraq. The new privately financed Arab-British Helicopter Company is assembling two or three Gazelle light helicopters per month, and Aerospatiale has also agreed to provide technology for assembly of the Super Puma helicopter. Three factories at Helwan assemble, repair and overhaul aircraft engines. Benha Electronics Factory, in a co-production arrangement with Westinghouse, is assembling radar systems. It has a work force of 3,000 and annual turnover of 70 million Egyptian pounds. Egypt designed and developed the Walid armored personnel carrier in the 1960s. A new version, the Fahd, came off the assembly lines in 1984 and several Arab states have placed orders. General Dynamics, the US firm, won a contract in 1984 to build a tank factory outside Cairo. US and British firms have competed for contracts supplying tools for upgrading Soviet artillery. In 1982, Egypt sold Iraq $1 billion worth of refurbished Soviet military hardware, and the arms trade to Iraq has remained brisk.

Egypt currently assembles the British Swingfire anti-tank missile, and versions of the Soviet SA-7 and SA-2 portable surface-to-air missiles, as well as several kinds of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. These missiles are mostly built at the Sakr works. Egyptian factories are also turning out increasing quantities of guns and ammunition, some for export. And they are producing military electronics such as radios and telecommunications. France is Egypt’s major partner in developing more sophisticated assembly and production facilities. According to one French executive, “Egypt has become a profitable relay between France and the other countries in the region.” At a time of declining foreign exchange revenues, Egypt is counting on increasing its arms exports. Since Iraq takes two thirds of Egypt’s military exports, an end to the Gulf War could affect Cairo’s export plans significantly. Egypt also needs to increase arms exports to make its military industries cost-effective. Gamal al-Sayyid Ibrahim, minister of state for military production, discussing which main battle tank Egypt might assemble, remarked that the choice would not only have to meet Egyptian army requirements but would also have “to satisfy the market around us.” Apart from Iraq, some of Egypt’s main clients have been Somalia, Oman, Sudan and North Yemen. Shipments to these countries, including Chinese jet fighters and Soviet and US tanks, have been financed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Other important customers have been the Afghan mujahidin and the Washington-backed forces of Hissene Habre in Chad.

Source: Joe Stork, author at Middle East Research and Information Project ---> Merip.org

Anonymous said...

As to how this new version of an F-5 light fighter plane will perform against the F-15s in the region, well I think nobody would have any idea as they have not release details of the plane, but those who designed and built the plane may have some idea towards possible probable outcomes. There are too many unknown factors, even about what will be added to the plane, and even many unknown factors in what will the F-15s actually carry in what weapons and other added equipment will those planes have, and even what is the experienced practical skills of their pilots and ours. There are too many unknown factors that can determine outcomes.

Yes Iranians engineers and technicians certainly should be commended for their relentless efforts in designing and building this new version of an F-5 fighter plane. And what knowledge and experience they have obtained will help them in producing yet better planes in the future.

Anonymous said...

There is a considerable difference to what Iran did and Egypt did with their jets.

Iran pulled the imported American F-5 appart and got all the dimensions for everything and studied everthing. Then from that they designed a similar plane to the F-5 but there was added Iranian differences that they had designed and made, note the twin tail of Iran's plane where the original F-5 had only one single tail, this an obvious Iranian design added improvement, and where more improvements not so obviously probably would be there but internal inside the plane usseen.

The Egyptions ordered 30 "Alpha Jet" from the Franco-German Dassault-Dornier company, and it was that company that had designed and manufactured those 30 planes. They were delivered to Egypt as 4 completed aircraft by Dassault, with the other 26 aircraft in kit form with all the manufactured parts in the kits, Egypt just assembled the 26 others from the knockdown kits.

Nader Uskowi said...

Iran did not build a new plane. Saeqeh is the old F-5Es Iran already had, which are modified and upgraded.

Anonymous said...

Assembling simple weapons under foreign supervision does not constitute indigenous R&D, innovation or production. Thanks for the historical Egyptian tour de force, no wonder they lost every war.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anno 6:03 for confirming that the Arabs can only produce some radios and guns, and even this just with help by British Ingenieurs. Come on we are talking about "iranians that trying to built war planes like F5" and you write a hole book about Egypt 18th century and Egypt 21st century achievement to built radios ;-)
You made my day

Anonymous said...

Nader, The F-F Tiger and the Iranian Azarakhsh airframes are the same with one tail vertical stabilizer so from that there appears to be no changes so you could say its still the same plane. Now look at photos of the Saeqeh and note it has twin-tail vertical stabilizers which is a great departure to the airframe externally and internally plus different in its aerodynamics. To me the significant differences in visual look and differences in engineering and aerodynamics that to me is sufficient to call it a new plane,

The American used the F-5 and basically did the same as Iran did with the F-5 where Iran named theirs the Saeqeh and the Americans named theirs the YF-17m where both now had the twin-tail vertical stabilizers. Have a look at photos and note the twin-tail vertical stabilizers and which is not a one-twin-tail vertical stabilizer of an F-5.

The Iranian Saeqeh is like the American YF-17, the American then when went on designing furter where the YF-17 then turned into being the yet another new plane in the F/A-18 Hornet. THis is what I think Iran is doing in using similar steps in new planes where in the future the Iranian Saeqeh will become a plane like the F/A-18 Hornet. then that will lead to yet another in the Super Hornet then an F-35. Basically they were all a series of new planes originated from the F-5.

Nader Uskowi said...

The original post here was indeed about modifications and upgrades to F-5s, including twin seats and twin vertical stabilizers. Saeqeh, including in its latest version, is a modified and upgraded F-5, not a new aircraft. Actually they take old F-5 aircraft and modify them, that's how Saeqehs, including the new version, are built.