No F-35 for You: Iran's Air Force Might Be Dying
Not good.Two incidents in late August 2018 involving Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-5F Tiger II fighter jets underscored the ongoing crisis in Iran’s air force.On Aug. 21, Iran unveiled what it described as a new, fourth-generation fighter jet. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani even sat in the plane’s cockpit and posed for photographs.One problem. The aircraft in question was conspicuously an F-5F, one of the 17 Iran bought from the United States during the rule of the Shah. It was not domestically-built.“Iran has probably upgraded the electronics systems, originally from the 1960s, and made other upgrades,” Iran analyst Nader Uskowi suggested. “But it is not clear why the president of the country should unveil a 40-year-old plane as a new fighter.”War Is Boring contributor Sebastien Roblin pointed out that Iran is in fact developing a new plane called the Kowsar-88, another in a long line of modified reverse-engineered F-5s that Tehran will either use as a trainer or light-attack aircraft.But that jet “wasn’t ready for display this August, so Tehran simply took an old, very well-known jet fighter and claimed it was a new one, in full view of domestic and international audiences that would know better,” Roblin wrote at The National Interest.
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