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Iran Air Force developing heavy fighter jets: deputy chief

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force has started to develop heavy fighter jets in line with plans to boost the country’s defensive might, a senior commander said.

“After the success in manufacturing the Kowsar warplane, the Air Force has started the process of manufacturing a homegrown heavy fighter jet,” Air Force Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi also said on Wednesday.

He noted that the new jet will be equipped with indigenized avionics and homegrown engines that are not the same as those of the F-5 fighter aircraft.

Brigadier General Vahedi also referred to military projects to upgrade the radar capabilities of the Air Force’s planes, saying good progress has been made in this field.

He underlined Iran’s “great success in increasing the stealth capabilities of various types of aircraft,” noting that the country will unveil the new achievements soon after their final tests.

The commander highlighted Iran’s progress in developing air-launched standoff missiles, saying local experts have extended the range of Sidewinder air-to-air missile, which is mounted on the F-5 jet, from 5 miles to 12 miles.

This enhanced range would be very effective in aerial combats, he added.

The general further pointed to the breakthrough that Iran has made in the drone industry, saying the homegrown Karrar pilotless aircraft has successfully dropped a 500-pound bomb which is going to become a weapon with pinpoint accuracy.

The Air Force has also furnished the Ababil-3 drones with rockets, Vahedi said, adding that programs are underway to equip the Ababil and Kaman UAVs with Qaem-1 and Qaem-5 smart bombs.

Iranian military experts and technicians have made great headways in recent years in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces mostly self-sufficient in the arms sphere.

Iran has also conducted major military drills to enhance the defense capabilities of its armed forces and to test modern military tactics and state-of-the-art army equipment.

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