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Did Iran Just Unveil an Advanced New Fighter Jet or an Old American One?

With a lot of fanfare, Iran unveiled what it called an “indigenous” new fighter jet with “advanced avionics,” only to have observers note that the plane resembled the F-5, a plane designed by Northrop-Grumman in the 1950s, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

Ofir Gendelman, Arabic language spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted a comparison of the two planes and noted that the Kowsar was “in fact the same old 50-year-old American fighter f-5.”



An account at the Iranian website, Tasnim News, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, boasted that the Kowsar, “has been manufactured following extensive research and efforts by the Iranian Defense Ministry’s experts.”

According to the Tasnim account, the Kowsar “enjoys capabilities such as a highly integrated architecture and a fire control system using the fourth generation of the digital data networks.”

However, in a follow-up tweet, Gendelman wrote, “I immediately noticed that this is a very old American war plane (it was manufactured in the ‘50s). It is from the F-5 class of jets which has not been in use for decades.”

The Times reported that Iran, which purchased the F-5 in the 1960s, had previously used the plane’s platform, and maybe even actual parts to develop previous fighters. The Saeqeh, which was rolled out in 2004, was one example of a plane that Iran previously based on the F-5.

More embarrassing was Iran’s rollout of the Qaher F-313, which it had previously claimed was its first domestically produced fighter. However, many Western experts determined that the plane was really a plastic model that was too small to fly.

While Iran claimed that the Kowsar had been successfully tested, footage provided of its unveiling ended before it took off.

Rather than being a sign of an advanced military capability, Iran’s rollout of the Kowsar suggests that the regime is seeking to deflect attention from its failing economy and failure to provide for its own people.

[Photo: Tasnim News ]