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Iran unveils homegrown Qaher F-313 "stealth" fighter

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February 3, 2013

Iran's domestically designed and built Qaher F-313 (Dominant F-313) combat aircraft

Iran's domestically designed and built Qaher F-313 (Dominant F-313) combat aircraft

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.

Sources: Iran Defense Ministry (Google Translate), Press TV, BBC

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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49 Comments

Can that thing even fly? It looks kind of fat.

Onihikage
3rd February, 2013 @ 11:21 pm PST

Design ques from a Klingon Battle cruiser?

Sean Brendan Phelim Moore
3rd February, 2013 @ 11:35 pm PST

according to aviation experts, no it can't. it's looks like a bad mock-up

http://theaviationist.com/tag/q-313

Oded Ya
3rd February, 2013 @ 11:39 pm PST

I think it looks neat.

Jeremiah Jordan-Fields
4th February, 2013 @ 01:23 am PST

it fly,and pass many tests.

AliSina Naghibi
4th February, 2013 @ 01:32 am PST

Assuming that the engine is of a much better designed I believe it will fly and be remarkably maneuverable (In other words almost fatally unstable) and I doubt it will be even transonic.

Stealth? Not a chance.

Slowburn
4th February, 2013 @ 03:01 am PST

Ofcourse it fly

it passed a perfessional 1000-hour test

Leo_tm
4th February, 2013 @ 04:00 am PST

Based on how it looks, it can't really fly, or if it does, it flies really, really fast.

AngusP
4th February, 2013 @ 04:22 am PST

Looks like one-way, suicidal mission, cruise missile. Does not need to be that much manoeuvrable, just fast and undetectable. Actually, not that bad DELIVERY solution!

Oleg Fialkovsky
4th February, 2013 @ 04:55 am PST

Anything will fly, given enough power. Look at rockets, although question is whether they 'fly' in the pure sense of the word. Add some protrusions resembling wings to that rocket, and a digital flight system to overcome instability problems and you have an airplane that 'flies'.

Have this done by people who have an above average understanding of aerodynamics, electronics, mechanical- and reverse engineering and you might end up with something that would pass for a modern fighter aircraft.

Also, the flying capabilities of a platform for weaponry is second in importance to the weaponry itself, meaning anything that flies and can deliver an advanced weapon is valid.

What is surprising is that Iran didn't go for a pilotless platform (UAV) because the pilot nowadays is more of a liability than an asset.

Bas Klein Bog
4th February, 2013 @ 06:01 am PST

It doesn't resemble the F5 or the F18. Neither of those aircraft have canards. And it's hard to believe this plane just sprung into existence with no news of it prior to yesterday. Planes also need engines.

But whatever

DemonDuck
4th February, 2013 @ 06:06 am PST

It looks like it is made of plywood

Artisteroi Rlsh Gadgeteer
4th February, 2013 @ 06:17 am PST

Interesting. The cap on the exhaust port has instructions written in english. I call BS.

Stradric
4th February, 2013 @ 06:17 am PST

Please note the fixed "hovercraft" style undercarriage complete with curtains designed for water and unimproved field operations. There is even a picture of their lead test pilot in the upper left hand corner ;-) Perhaps we should send Clint Eastwood in to steal it but, why even bother? All kidding aside: Even now, it's at least 20 years behind current technology. At this stage of the game, the greatest limitation to human piloted advanced fighter technology is the "meat in the seat". Let them develop their obsolete toys. It gives boys from wealthy, well connected families something to play with.

Bruce Williams
4th February, 2013 @ 06:18 am PST

Would love to see the 313 in a dogfight with an F-35C. It might be a fair fight with an A-10, possibly.

commonsense
4th February, 2013 @ 07:10 am PST

The Israelis probably had the plans a year or more ago.

JAT
4th February, 2013 @ 07:56 am PST

Remember a US drone crashed in Iran? Perhaps there were enough spare parts left to patch this thingy together? (Including the engine :)

Dmitry Sinelov
4th February, 2013 @ 08:12 am PST

While I'm skeptical of this aircraft's performance, it's never good to underestimate your enemy!!!

Bob Given
4th February, 2013 @ 09:06 am PST

This thing doesn't even win the psychological battle, let alone the air superiority. Less credibility than the wolf in Grandma's bed.

Martin John Smith
4th February, 2013 @ 09:27 am PST

Simple maintenance? Like a air cooled VW?

Paul Smith
4th February, 2013 @ 09:34 am PST

Looks like a model...notice the carousel with the tiny cord attached to it???

dfk288
4th February, 2013 @ 09:39 am PST

The included BBC link shows the A/C in flight but no T/O's or LDG's... am skeptical of its true performance or capabilities...as advertised. I have no doubt it could be semi stealth though.

dfk288
4th February, 2013 @ 10:08 am PST

I might be mistaken, but I think there's a picture of the designer of the left-hand side of the picture.

The wings do look remarkably thick, which means high drag, and those large pods at the end of the wings look a bit strange, but hey, it looks like a mean machine.

This is meant to deter American imperialism.Good luck to them.

David Colton Clarke
4th February, 2013 @ 10:14 am PST

The grandsons of the "experts" who said Japan couldn't design its own fighter will deprecate this because of where it's from, not for what it is. The pilots who went up against the Zero early in the war don't have grandchildren.

The size ratio between canard and main wing is aggressive and innovative. That suggests high roll and pitch rates as well as high g-tolerances. Overall, it looks like a credible design that's bound to have its share of teething problems. If the Iranians work through them they'll have a quality dogfighting platform.

peterweicker
4th February, 2013 @ 10:57 am PST

@peterweiker,

I'm sure it will be very effective at fighting dogs.

Against other fighter aircraft however...

bergamot69
4th February, 2013 @ 11:27 am PST

Heres the thing. The design may be viable but this pic is of a mockup of a badly finished composite fabrication. My wooden model boat has better finish and I believe it still needs work. The mockup may fly but it will be a poor performer due to the poor finish. The intakes are smaller than required to give a modest single jet a decent airflow to the compressor inlet. I will withhold any comment on the weapon systems.

The design may work but this is not a final design by a long shot. This is a PR stunt for the Iranian government. Any aerodynamics expert worth his wings will point out these and many other flaws. The Military intelligence units of the world will merely shrug and say till it does better than fly 10,000 hours It is not a real combat threat. Till the aviaonics, aerodynamics and finite element analysis is complete it wont be a threat to any but the ignorant.

While UAVs are the safest cheapest way to go. I shudder when considering that a pilot in an aircraft is insulated when he decides to not fire his weapons on innocent civilian targets. The UAV pilot on the other hand is sitting within a couple feet of a superior's command and defying an irrational order to kill innocents will be much more difficult to achieve since an override may easily be achieved.

The drones are fast becoming a greater menace to innocent lives in war-torn nations than suicide bombers. I'd rather have Iranians fooling around in a piss poor plane than the state of the art UAVs at the fingertips of Washington.

Chris Mark D
4th February, 2013 @ 12:17 pm PST

I wouldn't write this aircraft off so quickly. Israel has the most advanced technology of all of its military neighbors in the Middle East. Especially so since most of it's technology comes from US...as in the USA.

David Zamora
4th February, 2013 @ 07:52 pm PST

This plane looks like an inflatable balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

alcalde
4th February, 2013 @ 08:06 pm PST

This looks very much like Boeing's X36 tailless experimental plane but with dual inward canted tails. See link:

http://www.unmanned.co.uk/autonomous-unmanned-vehicles/uav-data-specifications-fact-sheets/x-36-unmanned-vehicle-uav-specifications-data-sheet/

I would have thought that the downward slanting wing extensions would preclude the need for dual tails.

Peter W.
4th February, 2013 @ 08:29 pm PST

@ Artisteroi Rlsh Gadgeteer, more likely wood chip pressboard, easier to mold. must have a huge engine for that much drag from the wings, as a pilot I would love to have the engine air intakes right next to the cockpit, deaf

Bill Bennett
4th February, 2013 @ 08:39 pm PST

The scale on that looks weird. Like its the size of an RC plane.

Jim Dawkins
4th February, 2013 @ 11:30 pm PST

I guess it's on charge given that its plugged in. Wonder if it comes with a long cable or spare triple AAA's

Stuart Hirst
5th February, 2013 @ 02:52 am PST

It looks like a 15-year old kid's idea of how a fighter should look.

Almost all the features on it are aesthetic rather than functional.

The wings are far too short, yet very thick. The down-turned tips would serve no purpose at all, other than to look good. The Boeing Bird of Prey needed these for directional stability because it had no vertical tail, this has two huge f-22 style tails.

The cockpit instruments look like they are straight out of a Cessna and the pilot seems to stick out of the cockpit. His head extends over the top of the head rest.

How did it get on that pedestal? The roof structure has no cranes and there isn't the space behind the pedestal for it to have run up a ramp.

The frontal geometry looks very like an f-22 yet the inlets are in a completely different location. So it has been shaped like an f-22 for no reason other than aesthetics. The inlets themselves would not function over mach 1 due to being located deep in those ventral cuts that would make the airflow and shockwaves impossible to handle. The inlets and nozzle are also far too small for any kind of performance.

The 'stealth' features are also almost non-existent.

I suspect it is a wood and plastic propaganda tool with little-or-no engineering thought behind it

mommus
5th February, 2013 @ 04:19 am PST

Just by looking at it you can see all sorts of flaws in it's design and it's Stealth design. Just because something looks kind of cool and stealthy does not mean it's a stealth aircraft. Just because it's RCA is lower than a conventional aircraft that uses no stealth techniques, it does not mean it's a real stealth aircraft. This plane is not big enough, to be in the same league as an F-22, or even a T-50. (FYI, there is a relationship between size and fighter capability. USAF studies back in the 70's determined this relationship, which led to the development of the F-15 and the increase in size of the F-18 Super Hornet)

This is more of a PR campaign than a real military project. Lets see how many they manufacture and deploy, that's where the rubber meats the road. Same litmus test I have for the Chinese and Russian stealth planes.

For example, F-22, ten years and counting. USAF already in planning stages for it's successor and it's not the F-35.

hec031
5th February, 2013 @ 06:16 am PST

LOL...might be a flying R/C mockup at best. Someones been watching too many movies...

Henry Davis
5th February, 2013 @ 10:30 am PST

This is clearly either a fake or a "fiberglass" etc. mockup. It lack the necessary details of any functioning aircraft. The most obvious is the lack of locking rails for the canopy and the pressure seal where it seats into the fuselage. Take this image for example: http://strikefighterconsultinginc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/url12.jpg

It's the little details.

Beisswenger Design
5th February, 2013 @ 02:14 pm PST

it does fly

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/iran-says-unveils-homemade-fighter-jet-090254875.html

jdadojr
5th February, 2013 @ 02:31 pm PST

Iran could get technology from other countries that hate the US, so even though it looks primitive, i don't trust them.

john.jbfin
5th February, 2013 @ 05:03 pm PST

Fake, fake, fake.

Ulf Lindroth
5th February, 2013 @ 06:51 pm PST

@jdadojr. Agreed on the flying. Its the touted performance as well as the finish of the prototype that scares me. The inlet size will starve any but a small turbojet. The size as another poster points out is quite small and reduces the likely fuel and weapon payload possible.

The wing tips are oversized winglets (which are supposed to reduce drag not as mommus attempts to say would remove the need for the vertical stabiliser) since they dont appear to have any controls added. Also putting controls out there would make the control horribly unstable. Flight would be more of a pipe dream than it is. They do however increase the drag by being too large.

They claim semi stealth which means low signature which any composite plane could claim. Low flight requires high performance flight computers to avoid downdrafts and low lying lines or other hard to detect obstacles.

Nothing here is newsworthy besides it having been built in iran. It is not groundbreaking in design or performance or level of finish. As hec031 said Lets see how many they manufacture and deploy, that's where the rubber meats the road.

Chris Mark D
6th February, 2013 @ 05:10 am PST

Every one… just read this nice technical article by aviationintel.com

"MY MESSAGE TO THE WEST CONCERNING IRAN’S F-313 “FIGHTER:” ARROGANCE CAN GET YOU KILLED"

http://aviationintel.com/2013/02/06/my-message-to-the-west-concerning-irans-f-313-fighter-arrogance-can-get-you-killed/

Amin Safi
6th February, 2013 @ 02:26 pm PST

If i invented a new STEALTH fighter, I wouldnt tell anybody about it (or its features). It makes no sense.

Vukile Mlonzi
7th February, 2013 @ 11:18 am PST

I'm just curious why there is an extension cord hanging from it ? Does it need to be plugged in ? It's probably a rope like one grabs onto like on a the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade float. This really looks like something my local model shop had in their window from some sci-fi series.

RESISTANCE
7th February, 2013 @ 12:39 pm PST

in another view of the so-called conversation with the pilot, yo can see multiple ripples in the canopy: it appears to be hand molded and that can only mean a mockup.

Patrick Bass
8th February, 2013 @ 05:31 am PST

"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"

Just a couple of point to remember:

1) This monstrocity doesn't look *anything* like a F-5E or F/A-18.

2) The F-5E is a more than 50 year old plane. The F/A-18 is about 40 years old now.

3) You know those kit cars, where you can put a plastic shell around a VW to make it look like a Lamborghini? Just saying...

PatrikD
8th February, 2013 @ 11:37 am PST

The problem Iran has is not building its fighter, it is mass producing them. So until we see the infrastructure to bring them into service, the whole made in Iran military industrial complex, sourced, designed and manufactured in the home country, the world need not concern itself. However if it is there and has been mass producing in the same way the F117 was introduced, different story. Something other than nuclear isotope cyclotrons might have been put into those underground factories.

L1ma
9th February, 2013 @ 02:33 pm PST

This wooden/cardboard mock-up. and in the fly video we can definitely see an RC model. you can see it by its flight characteristics and roll speed. another fairy tell about Iranian arms. they are weak and are very primitive, this is the reason they need nukes. look haw outdated north Korea spread fear among the countries with its nukes.

Edward324
10th February, 2013 @ 02:47 am PST

@ Edward324

If Iran had spent its wasted Nuke money on aerospace engineering it would now have real F-313's to defend its country with instead of a massive drag on its economy.

There is a big sales market for the first commercial stealth fighter, even if it has no radar and primitive avionics which for most of the world 'is' an advantage. Missiles have their own radar (i.e. R-37), in Britain we often had missiles fitted onto elderly aircraft who's radar and avionics were vastly inferior to that in the missile cone.

The nice point is the scale model flying, they never claimed this was the aircraft in flight, as yet it has never flown(as far as we know). However the model as proof of concept shows the airframe fly's quite well, which also shows that Iran has the technicians available to make 1/25 scale working jet model aircraft and if wars were decided by model competitions I would be quite worried.

L1ma
11th February, 2013 @ 04:17 am PST

Got my vote for coolest most furturistic looking.

Tom Swift
4th April, 2013 @ 03:36 pm PDT
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