On August 21st, Iran unveiled its first indigenous fighter jet.
The jet is called Kowsar and it was revealed during a defense show in Tehran. The aircraft conducted its first public display flight during the ceremony in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and other senior military officials. At the ceremony, Rowhani said Iran’s defence programme is aimed at deterrence vis-à-vis the United States. “The enemy should see how expensive an invasion of Iran would be,” he said. “Why does not the US wage a military attack on us? Because of our power.”
On August 18th, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami announced the unveiling ceremony of the new aircraft, noting that Iran was acting within the framework of the active deterrence strategy to “acquire whatever is necessary for defense.”
The minister also added that Tehran would also continue developing new missiles. He claimed that the the defense programme was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the Islamic republic.
President Rouhani also sat in the cockpit of the new fighter jet and ordered the first flight. PressTV cited Tasnim news agency which reported that the fourth-generation Iranian fighter jet is equipped with “advanced avionics and fire control systems” and can be used for short aerial support missions. It uses digital military data networks, multi-purpose digital monitors, ballistic calculation computers and smart mobile mapping systems.
The Kowsar has an advanced radar system, enabling it to detect enemy targets. It further has a head-up display or HUD, which facilitates precision targeting.
PressTV also cited Fars News Agency, which said that the fighter jet may be manufactured in both single- and double-cockpit types, allowing for advanced pilot training in addition to combat missions.
State television, cited by South China Morning Post, said that the fighter jet had already passed successful testing.
As reported by PressTV in recent years Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite the sanctions and economic pressure in the country, mainly by the US.
Iran also maintains that the country’s military power is solely for defensive and deterring purposes and does not pose a threat to other nations.
South China Morning Post likens the fighter jet to the US-made F-5F Tiger, which first flew in 1974, is a variant of the 1950s-era US Northrop F-5 fighter that is a long-time mainstay of the Iranian Air Force. According to the South China Morning Post, Iran’s functional air force has been limited to a few dozen fighter jets, either Russian or old US models, including F-5, acquired before 1979.
The recent increase in Iranian military developments and movements comes as a result of the rise in tensions between Washington and Tehran. The relationship between Iran and the US has been a good one. However, after the May 8th US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal and the reimposing of sanctions on August 6th things turned for the worst.
On August 15th, Iran also revealed a new anti-ship cruise missile during a military training in the Persian Gulf. The training was organized as a show of force by Iran, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, shutting down 20% of global oil transit. This threat comes as a result of the forthcoming US sanctions, which are due to come into effect in November. They mostly target Iran’s energy and crude oil sectors.