Iran presented a new version of the Qaher 313 stealth fighter, which has been described by the Western press as a “complete joke” – the first version was introduced in 2013. Despite this, the aircraft surprised observers by performing the first test of taxiing, one of the first stages of practical development of a new project.
The new prototype of the aircraft maintains the “exotic” design, but this time has a more realistic cockpit, large enough to accommodate a pilot and an ejector seat, and two engine exhaust vents, instead of just one, as in the first airplane, considered only a mock-up. However, some unusual details, such as small air intakes and wings with the outer sections pointed down, were maintained.
Because of these eccentricities in the design, the Iranian fighter is treated by the specialized media as a hoax. It is still difficult to say whether the aircraft, even re-engineered, is capable of flying, further increasing mistrust of its development and Iran’s ability to develop an stealth aircraft – which are not detected by radars.
However, the project can not be totally ruled out. Iranian engineers have already achieved important achievements in the aeronautical sector, even after the embargo imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. One example is the country’s ability to continue operating the world’s only fleet of F-14 Tomcat fighters, including avionics upgrades and locally developed weapons.
Currently, the only countries that have active stealth aircraft are the United States, with fighters and bombers, and China, which recently launched the Chengdu J-10 fighter.
In addition to Iran, other countries studying aircraft technology that are invisible to radars are Russia, with the Sukhoi PAK-FA fighter project, and Japan, with the Mitsubishi ATD-X “Shinshin” interceptor.