Yesterday in “Meanwhile, in Tehran,” John noted Iran’s announcement of a new fighter jet. Reader Brad Mitchell directs our attention to the report (with lots of links) by Defense Industry Daily on the jet:
[T]he general consensus among more informed observers is that Iran’s new fighter is a modified F-5E Tiger II fighter. The F-5E was an early 1970s era low-cost export fighter update of the 1960s-era F-5A fighter/ T-38 supersonic trainer, and it proved very popular with US allies. While Northrop Grumman’s F-5 page doesn’t mention Iran as an F-5 customer, the Shah’s air force most certainly was.
I was an Air Traffic Controller in the USAF back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Wasn’t good at it and hated the job! The moment I saw the picture ot the Saegheh fighter I figured it had to be a modified F-5/T-38. Went and looked it up, the above is what they said.
Brad’s sums up: “More BS from Teheran.”
UPDATE: Reader Al Woodley comments:
I worked on the F-5 when I was stationed at Nellis. They were the aggressor squadron before the F-16 took over the job. The F-5/T-38 does not have afterburning capacities. In fact, a couple of AC still had skin repairs from bullet holes during Vietnam. The aircraft in the picture is an F-20A Tigershark that was designed, built and tested by the Northrop Corporation in the early 1980’s. It had one engine with full afterburner instead of two un-afterburning engines, like the F-5. The engine used for the F-20 is also used in the F-16/F-15, PW 100-100/200, at least that is want they had until I retired from the USAF in 93. For more info go here. Iran probably bought the plans for the F-20.
JOHN adds: The Forum thread on my original post has a number of comments on the Iranian aircraft, as well. Among other things, Reuters may have mis-identified the airplanes in the photo.