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)