Dave Hirschman

Iran’s comical “stealth” fighter

February 11, 2013 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor

Iran’s recent unveiling of what it claims is a new stealth fighter was supposed to instill fear in adversaries — but so far it’s mostly produced laughter and derision. Military aviation experts point out some of the craft’s many flaws: uneven coatings in the supposedly radar absorbent coating; terrible canopy optics, no head-up display (HUD), no weapons systems, and no actual jet engine. General aviation pilots also will note the avionics are mostly Dynon and Garmin units designed for the civilian market. (There are two small Dynon screens, one large one, a Garmin transponder and SL30 radio, an AvMap GPS, and what looks like a Bendix/King AV8OR touch-screen GPS. Of course, U.S. military pilots use commercial, off-the-shelf avionics from many of the same manufacturers. But Iran’s choice of the touch-screen GPS seems inspired. When Iranian pilots are shot down, they can still use the portable unit to walk home.

6 Responses to “Iran’s comical “stealth” fighter”

  1. Phillip Graves Says:

    I would not dismiss this aircraft as comical, I remember we made the same mistake with early aircraft attempts in Japan in the years before the war, as well as the Soviets and more recently with the Chinese aerospace programs. Now who has a manned space program? With a few years, some more bought technology in airframe, engine and weapons as they did the avionics, all it takes is lots of money and the will. If they have a nuclear program to scare the Isrelies, they have lots of both, the rest is a matter of time. Besides, who says it will be a manned fighter? I think with the capture of a US drone last year, they may looking at a UAV combat aircraft on the cheap. They are smart and resourceful and ambitious for a place on the world stage.

  2. Jim Jernigan Says:

    Perhaps the airplane’s greatest value to the military is the perceived contribution it makes to air defense/offense in the eyes of the Iranian population.

  3. Mike Perkins Says:

    Comical? . . . How about an oxygen delivery system that poisons its pilots? Or a fly-by-wire system tuned such that it encourages PIO to the point that the test aircraft crashes? . . . . . They might have rushed something out the door, which is not unusual for such a political regime, but there’s time to improve. And in the mean time, the Israelis have yet a new potential threat to counter, causing more money to be spent. Sort of like how the US fought the cold war in a spending race against the USSR, and won it. . . . It’s only funny until it isn’t.

  4. Tom Gordon Says:

    Does anyone know if they have plans for LSA certification?

    If they bring it to market, I’m interested.

  5. Paul Henderson Says:

    Looks like Van’s first kit jet. All it needs now is a jet

  6. Luis Luciani Says:

    Sadly for us, they can probably build 1000 of these for the cost of one F35. At those odds, they can be laughable and still win.

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