On Tuesday, Iranian state media aired videos and photos of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in what they called the “first domestically manufactured” fighter jet. International aviation experts are now casting doubt on the claims of the “Kowsar” fighter jet being Iranian-designed and manufactured, and suggest that the design is actually of a U.S. F-5F jet built in the early 1970s, CNBC reports.
Joseph Dempsey, a research associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS,) shared photos of the two aircraft on Twitter with striking similarities.
In an interview with CNBC, Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for military aerospace at IISS, claimed that the Kowsar fighter jet appeared to be a two-seater F-5F. He claimed that Iran may have manufactured new parts, but the idea that the jet was an Iranian creation should be taken with “a massive pinch of salt.”
State media claimed that the jet can be used for “short aerial support missions” and has systems that “promote precision targeting.”
John Sneller, head of aviation at defense consultancy Jane’s IHS Markit, also told CNBC that the plane resembled a two-seater F-5F.
"The markings on the side, particularly the slightly unusual air intakes that slope backwards slightly, are those of the F-5F," he said."It is all a bit of a giveaway really."
Sneller suggested that Iran is attempting to show its own people that the government has a way of protecting itself from foreign threats.
"They are developing their own indigenous capability — but that is a long way from designing, certifying, and manufacturing their own aircraft, and that does not look to be the case in this particular set of images that have come out," Sneller said.
In a speech, Rouhani called for “the discipline, education, faith, motivation, weapons and readiness of our Armed Forces (to) reach a level that no one would dare to attack us.”
"Why does the U.S. not attack us? Because it is aware of our power and the cost [that it will entail],” he said.
Tehran purchased F-5Fs from the U.S. in 1974, five years before the 1979 Iranian Revolution when a new regime hostile to the U.S. came into power.