Thursday, September 07, 2006


A Tale Of Two Planes

Iran's sabre-rattling continues, with the recent announcement of its first locally-produced fighter-bomber, the Saegheh:
Iran deployed its first locally-manufactured fighter bomber plane on Wednesday during large-scale military exercises, state-run television reported.

"The bomber Saegheh or lightening is similar to (the American) F-18 but more powerful. It was designed, optimised and improved by Iranian experts," the report said.

. . .

During manoeuvres dubbed "The Blow of Zolfaghar," which began in August 19, Iran test fired short range surface-to-surface, sub-to-surface missiles, new air defence system and laser bombs.

Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.
Sounds pretty scary, if you believe it. (Apologies for the photo of the scale model; it's all I could find.)

Thanks to VodkaPundit for pointing to this news flash. It's worth mentioning that VP's readers seem more than knowledgeable about such matters, and they're not impressed. Joe Katzman, for example, comments:
The new jet is a basically modified F-5, which was a 1960s design. Iran had and still has quite a few of them. Key systems like its radar and avionics are undiscussed, but are very unlikely to even reach the levels of the older F/A-18Cs flown by the Marines, let alone the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. I'd also bet strongly that its engines leave it underpowered. Not to mention the question of its armament, which is very unlikely to include modern-caliber missiles. Color me deeply unimpressed.
Indeed. Other commenters note that Iran seemingly has resources to burn for designing and building all their latest weapons systems, but they can't build a 1960s-era oil refinery -- which is why they still export crude oil and import gasoline. Still other commenters speculate on how this untested aircraft would fare against the F-22 Raptor, for example.

Myself, I wonder how this super-duper Saegheh fighter will fare against planes like this, and the expertise of the men flying it:

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