Iran unveils homegrown fighter jet at a ceremony in Tehran

Key Points
  • Iran has unveiled a new fighter jet which it claimed as domestically designed and built.
  • State television pictures showed President Rouhani sitting in the plane's cockpit.
  • Much of Iran's weaponry is produced in the country because of international sanctions.
Iran unveils new domestically-built fighter jet
Iran unveils new domestically-built fighter jet

Iran has revealed what it claims is a new domestically-produced fighter jet at a ceremony in Tehran.

On Tuesday, Iranian state television screened images of President Hassan Rouhani sitting in the "Kowsar" fighter aircraft, according to Tasnim News Agency.

Designed and manufactured solely by Iranian military experts, the Kowsar is described as a fourth-generation fighter jet, which classifies it among military fighters in service from approximately 1980 to the present day.

By contrast, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and China's Chengdu J-20 are considered fifth generation fighters because of their enhanced stealth abilities and computational power.

Tasnim, citing the state television report, said Iran's new jet had already been through successful test flights and would soon be ready to carry out shorter distance aerial support missions.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani sits in a "Kowsar" jet on Aug. 21, 2018. Military analysts argue the jet is in fact a Northrop two-seater F5-F.
Tasnim News Agency

The aircraft was unveiled ahead of Iran's National Day of Defense Industry, which is to be held Wednesday. Iran's military had a 2017 budget of $14.1 billion, or 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), according to figures supplied by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The country has developed a domestic arms industry as international sanctions have prevented it from importing weapons.

The jet's arrival had already been foreshadowed by comments from Defence Minister Amir Hatami on Saturday, who said Iran's military had mounted a locally-built defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time.

"Our top priority has been development of our missile program. We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it," Fars News Agency quoted Hatami as saying.

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