Iran inaugurates production line of local fighter jets ahead of US sanctions

Source: Iran inaugurates production line of local fighter jets ahead of US sanctions | The Times of Israel

Defense minister says domestically made Kowsar aircraft symbolizes Islamic Republic’s battle against ‘global ‘arrogance’ led by the US

Iran's Kowsar fighter jet. (Twitter screen capture)

Iran’s Kowsar fighter jet. (Twitter screen capture)

Iran on Saturday inaugurated the production line of its domestically produced fighter jet, a day after the Trump administration announced the reimposition of remaining US sanctions on Tehran to ramp up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami said the production line highlighted the capabilities of Iranian experts despite “sanctions by enemies,” according to state-run news outlet Press TV.

Hatami said inaugurating production of the Kowsar fighter was “the very symbol of fighting the [global] arrogance and standing against the excessive demands of the imperial system, which is being led by the Great Satan, the United States.”

Speaking at an industrial complex in the Isfahan province, Hatami added that the “fourth-generation” fighter, with “advanced maneuvering capability” and multi-purpose radar would be service the entire Iranian Air Force “soon.”

Hatamui’s announcement comes days before the US sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal were set to be reimposed on the Islamic Republic. The sanctions take effect Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors. They are the second batch the administration has reimposed since Trump withdrew from the international accord in May.

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Mark Pyruz@INTELonIRAN
The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s regional rivals, and says the reimposition of the crippling sanctions is a bid to force Tehran to end its military deployments and support for militias in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the region.

Iran unveiled the Kowsar fighter in August, but analysts quickly noted similarities between the Iranian jet and the American F-5 fighter, made by Northrop-Grumman in the 1950s, and expressed doubts that the plane was actually new.

At the time, state TV said the Kowsar had already been through successful testing and showed footage of the plane on the runway, though the broadcast stopped before the plane took off.

The F-5 was sold to Iran in the 1960s and first entered operation in the Iranian Imperial Air Force in 1965. In the West, the F-5 line of jets is mostly used for training purposes.

Iran has already used the F-5 platform — and, some observers suggest, actual parts from its aging fleet of non-flying F-5s — to develop its newer jets. The Saeqeh, first flown in 2004, was one such plane.

In 2013, Iran unveiled its “first,” domestically-made fighter jet, the Qaher F313, but it was quickly derided by numerous experts in the West who said the plane was actually a plastic model, and was unable to fly.


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