Iran reveals a new 'all-indigenous' fighter jet with an uncanny resemblance to the American F-5

Iran reveals a new 'all-indigenous' fighter jet with an uncanny resemblance to the American F-5
2 min read
29 June, 2020
Iran has unveiled a new jet fighter, which seems based on a very familiar design.
Iran's F-5s appear to have been given an upgrade [Getty]
Iran unveiled a new jet fighter last week at a ceremony marking its delivery, which analysts have pointed out bears an uncanny resemblance to another plane.

Iran's air force announced the addition to the domestically-built HESA Kowsar jets, a "fourth-generation all-indigenous interceptor" according to Tasnim News Agency.

Analysts pointed out that the frame of the new-generation fighter jet bears an uncanny resemblance to the US Northrop F-5, designed in the 1950s.

"The unveiling of the Kowsar in August 2018 was heavily scrutinised by analysts since the fighter’s airframe is identical to that of the two-seater American F-5F rather than a wholly original indigenous Iranian design," wrote Paul Iddon for Forbes.

"The Kowsar is heavily based on the F-5F airframe, although likely with new avionics and additional upgrades. It is also the latest in a long line of Iranian-built F-5 derivatives such as the preceding HESA Azarakhsh (first introduced in 1997) and HESA Saeqeh (introduced in 2007)."

Iran's air force includes large numbers of then-cutting edge American aircraft supplied to Tehran before the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed shah.

Washington boycotted Iran after a siege by pro-government activists on its Tehran embassy, leaving many of its fighter jets - including the F-14 - without spare parts.

A UN embargo has meant that Iran has been unable to upgrade its antiquated fleet and instead relied on a domestic drones and missiles programme.

Iran's military capabilities are also hamstrung by an economic crisis caused by US sanctions on the country, but has continued to invest in weapons that could be used in asymmetrical warfare.

Iran has been locked in tensions with the US and a number of its neighbours which have intensified after President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Tehran and imposed tough sanctions on the country.

Since then, Iran has been blamed for attacks on shipping in Gulf waters and Saudi oil installations.

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