Iranian State TV on Saturday showed an unveiling ceremony for what the Iran Defense Ministry claims is a new Iranian designed and built combat aircraft. Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the single-seat Qaher F-313 (Dominant F-313) can operate at low altitudes and was constructed from “advanced materials” that contribute to the aircraft’s “very low radar cross section.”
Iran’s state-owned English language Press TV says that although the aircraft resembles the F-5E/F Tiger II, it is said to be similar to the F/A-18. It follows in the footsteps (or flightpath) of Iran’s first domestically manufactured combat jet fighter, the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) and its follow up, the HESA Saeqeh (Thunderbolt).
The aircraft was unveiled by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the 34th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, who said the aircraft demonstrates Iran’s will to “conquer scientific peaks” and was built for deterrence rather than expansionism.
Independent verification of the aircraft’s stealth capabilities, or for that matter any capabilities, is unlikely to be forthcoming with Iran not in the habit of releasing technical details of its arsenal. If true, however, the Qaher F-313 would join a very select list of manned stealth aircraft.