Iran Announces New Target Drones

From the Hindustan Times:

Iran deployed its first locally-manufactured fighter bomber plane on Wednesday during large-scale military exercises, state-run television reported.

“The bomber Saegheh or lightening is similar to (the American) F-18 but more powerful. It was designed, optimised and improved by Iranian experts,” the report said.

The report said the Iranian air force had commissioned Saegheh after many test flights in the past year.

Cool. Brand-new targets are always more fun than boring old MIGs and Mirages.


43 Responses to “Iran Announces New Target Drones”

  1. bolivar Says:

    Guess this means we have to shoot them up before they get a chance to launch em? Just kidding – our flyers would love the challenge of destroying “lightning” planes and missles that cannot be detected on radar.

    oooooooo be scawed be vewy scawed

  2. cirby Says:

    But from the reported size and other info, it’s closer to the F-5 than to the F-18, and if you think it’s ever going to make the sort of performance they claim, you’re dreaming.

  3. RPD Says:

    Iran seems to have quite the arms program going. This is supposedly the trainer version of it. The controls and a model of their upcoming stealth fighter. This guy gives an overview of their program.

  4. Ofc. Krupke Says:

    Wow, a super-duper jet to go with their invisible missile from a few months back.

    Didn’t they claim to have some kind of super-fast undetectable ginger-peachy submarine, too?

  5. lex Says:

    Something comes to mind about a pig wearing a rolex. Sure looks pretty on him, but there’s not much practical he can do with it.

  6. Boss429 Says:

    This along with their stealth flying boat and warp speed torpedoes soon they’ll dominate the world…BWAHAHAHAHA

  7. Sigivald Says:

    Even if it did outperform the
    F-18, which I really, really doubt, it wouldn’t matter.

    Iranian pilots don’t have the immense training advantage USN and USAF pilots do. They could be in planes superior to ours in every way and still be shot out of the air en-masse, for that very reason.

    All the airplane in the world won’t make you a top-notch pilot, and that’s more important in a dogfight, by all accounts. (Which is why veteran ANG pilots in F-5s could give trainees in F-16s a very hard time at Top Gun.)

  8. Will Collier Says:

    I doubt there are many trainees flying Vipers at the Navy school… but you’re certainly right about the rest.

  9. Amy Says:

    …not to mention the lack of technology that we have – in terms of instant satellite updates to the pilots and such.

  10. Greg Says:

    If a pair of F-22s could take out half a squadron of F-15s before the Eagle drivers even knew they were there, then these guys should be too difficult to deal with.

    I wonder how many out of work MIG and Sukoi designers are working in Iran right now? And do the Chinese have anything similar to this “Iranian” plane?

  11. Russell Newquist Says:

    Greg stole my point. As much as I’m laughing at this plane (it really does look like a beefed up F-5 to me, which isn’t even remotely scary), this is the reason why we developed the F-22. Even if it *is* the equivalent of an F-18 (which I highly doubt), the F-22 would mow through squadrons of these guys like grass.

  12. Steve Says:

    That model looks like a combination of the F-16, F-18, and F-14 (at the wing’s junction with the fuselage).

  13. Paul Says:

    Even if the new Iranian jet is mostly bluff, this is exactly why we need a fighter like the F-22. Maybe this new jet isn’t as capable as an F-15 or F-18, but you have new highly capable jets coming out of places like Russia and China all the time.

    You can’t fight future wars by planning your weapon systems on 30-year old platforms. The F-22, expensive as it is, is designed to shoot down any possible threat aside from alien spaceships for the next 50 years. You can’t wait for a new threat to suddenly appear and then cram 20 years of development time and pump out a new fighter in a matter of months. Guaranteeing American air superiority (especially in the face of cheap, sophisticated anti-air missiles) is what the F-22 is about.

    BTW, there was a good post about the F-22 over at

    “Exercises have tended to corroborate these pilots’ contentions. At Northern Edge in Alaska in June, the 27th Fighter Squadron’s Raptors killed 108 F-15s and F-16s for no losses. In one four-hour engagement teaming F-22s and F-15s against other U.S. aircraft, the Raptor team killed 83 and lost just one Eagle.”

    Even if the Iranian jet is roughly the equivalent to an F-18, the F-22 has a 108-to-zero kill ratio against the previous generation’s best fighters in war games.

    That’s well worth the money to have that kind of the security, in my opinion, especially if the U.S. military will be flying it for the next 50 years.

  14. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Iran
    RE: Yeah?

    Bring em on, Buckie…..

    I suspect our fighter pilots are itching for your boys to “come out and ‘play'” with these new toys.



  15. Chuck Pelto Says:

    P.S. I think it an interesting ‘coincidence’ that Iran, in almost the same breath, announced a ‘breakthrough’ in AIDS treatments.

    I wonder if it is a 9mm to the head of everyone who has contracted the virus…..

  16. Joe Katzman Says:

    The new jet is a basically modified F-5, which was a 1960s design. Iran had and still has quite a few of them.

    Key systems like its radar and avionics are undiscussed, but are very unlikely to even reach the levels of the older F/A-18Cs flown by the Marines, let alone the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. I’d also bet strongly that its engines leave it underpowered. Not to mention the question of its armament, which is very unlikely to include modern-caliber missiles.

    Color me deeply unimpressed.

    And anyone who believes Iran can design and field a stealth fighter has been smoking way too much of Hezbollah’s hashish crop.

  17. Anachronda Says:

    The F-22, expensive as it is, is designed to shoot down any possible threat aside from alien spaceships for the next 50 years.

    So… alien spaceships are a possible threat? Interesting…

  18. jaymaster Says:

    Something has been bugging me lately. Iran can supposedly develop modern fighter jets, invisible missiles, nuclear

  19. Paul Says:

    “So… alien spaceships are a possible threat? Interesting…”

    Uhh, Anachronda, maybe your sense of humor is out of commission today….but in case you still don’t get it, the point was to emphasize the fact that the F-22 will remain the air superiority fighter of the next couple decades, period.

    Since, like, you know, alien spaceships don’t actually exist.

    Hope the extended explanation helps!

  20. Alex VanderWoude Says:

    They can

  21. The Narrator Says:

    Awash in their chest-thumping nationalism, the primates rarely paused to give thought to their actions.

  22. rosignol Says:

    And yet their most glaring strategic weakness goes unaddressed: They can

  23. Cybrludite Says:


    What’s the MSRP on a Raptor? Pre-Raptor western style fighters run something like $30-45,000,000 and modern MiGs & Sukhois(sp) somewhat less. If those kill ratios hold true in the real world, the Raptor is a steal! My main concern would be them somehow getting bounced by the aviation equivelent of a human wave attack. They only carry, what 8 missiles each and a few seconds of ammo for the 20mm? Even if they get a kill with each shot, they might be in trouble once they go winchester.

  24. rosignol Says:

    IIRC, the number I saw thrown around is $100M per unit when ordered in quantities of ‘just enough orders to keep the production line active’.

    If Congress had decided to stick to the original order, they’d have run around $50M per.

    Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
    -Mark Twain

    The man was ahead of his time.

  25. Paul Says:

    Bring’em ! 🙂

  26. Dana Curtis Kincaid Says:

    A real international power doesn’t take their most advanced equipment and tell you everything about them. The Iranians seem to be in a very wierd mode here, somehting like that little brat in high school who keeps picking on the jocks until they beat the crap out of him.

  27. Dana Curtis Kincaid Says:

    By the way, you have forgotten about the “secret” air to space fighter, the F-302.


  28. mr.a Says:

    The F-22 sells for around 120-140 m each, a new F-18 for about 1/3 – 1/2 of that. You often see a quoted sale price of 350m for an F-22, but that includes all the development costs (which have already been spent), and so is not really part of the price for each extra plane.

  29. Paul Says:

    “They only carry, what 8 missiles each and a few seconds of ammo for the 20mm? Even if they get a kill with each shot, they might be in trouble once they go winchester.”

    The reason the Raptor has a kill ratio of 100-to-1 in war games against the world’s best F-15 and F-16 pilots (not just against the machines themselves, mind you) is essentially, the powerful radars of the F-15s can’t even see the Raptor before a single Raptor has shot down 8 old-style F-15s.

    And when it’s out of missiles, a Raptor can high tail it out of there at supersonic speed – without the afterburners like F-15s require.

    And the only way F-15s can get a lock on the Raptor is to get close enough, which is basically impossible because the Raptors can fire off all its missiles and then supercruise its way back to base long before the F-15s even get close to their engagement range.

    Also, Raptors probably don’t fly solo against enemy air forces. There’s no need for a single Raptor to shoot down down 20 jets, and if a Raptor has to engage its 20 mm canons, it’s basically made a mistake because the Raptor loses much of its stealth advantage at canon range. Even if enemy radar can’t still lock on, a Raptor would leave itself open to lucky canon fire so you would never want to get in a situation where a Raptor is forced to use its canons.

    Also, it’s all about teamwork, and the fact that a single Raptor battalion can shoot down 100 plus F-15 in war games consistently (again, against the world’s best fighter pilots) with no losses basically means it can cripple any of the world’s air forces without even breaking a sweat.

  30. Murdoc Says:

    Plus, Iran just announced that they’ve taken 20 or 30-year old Hawk missiles and converted them to be used air-to-air off of its F-14 Tomcats.

    See if interested.

  31. Casey Tompkins Says:

    There’s a reason Congress cut back on F-22 purchases, aside from the huge price tag; UAVs. A fighter without a human passenger can rack in all sorts of manuevers, and the AI is a lot better than the Air Force wants to admit publically.

    Heck, just try going one-on-one against a full-up AI opponent in a combat air sim. Odds are you’ll get smoked.

    The F-22 and F-35 will most likely be the last manned fighters produced by the US Air Force. The future belongs to the droids…

  32. Lindh Says:

    The superiority of US military hardware (aircraft) no longer is relative to US military success. Note that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the US once again got its butt kicked by goatherds, resulting in insufficient recruitment for the military and a boost of morale for Iran, China, North Korea, Syria et al.

    Of course the F22, along with other hardware boondoggles, was mainly designed for political and propaganda purposes. It does, however, serve to provide incentive for Iran to develop a deliverable nuclear weapon. And once fission is achieved, fusion is simply a matter of packing the hydrogen – which the Chinese will help them do.

    Sorry State of affairs led by an idiot president.

  33. Murdoc Says:

    Note that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the US once again got its butt kicked by goatherds

    What channel are you watching?

  34. jaymaster Says:

    Hey Murdoc,

    No doubt, she

  35. Mark Buehner Says:

    The F-22 isnt designed or intended to be the meat grinder against waves of enemy jets. Its missions are indended to be air to air versions of the F-117: get in before the enemy knows the battle has started, destroy their AWACS support/ tankers/ other vulnerable targets and put the enemy in a bad position before the rest of the fleet arrives. Its described as ‘kicking the door in’. The point is to lance through the enemy defenses before he knows you are there.

    “Of course the F22, along with other hardware boondoggles, was mainly designed for political and propaganda purposes. It does, however, serve to provide incentive for Iran to develop a deliverable nuclear weapon.”

    One, if you think its the F-22 that has made Iran decide they need a nuclear weapon, you are exactly the kind of idiot we can never allow to run our government. Iran wants nukes so they can dominate the region and spread their violence even more than they are now with inpunity. But thanks for the input Neville Chamberlain.
    Secondly, if China ever attacks Taiwan, we’ll see if you still think the F-22 is a boondoggle.

  36. Neo Says:

    What was that famous line from the movie “Spies Like Us” ..
    “an unused weapon is a useless weapon.”

  37. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Stephen Green
    RE: [OT] Well!

    I had NO idea you were that way, Mr. Green.



  38. PatrickKelley Says:

    Fighter jets aren’t worth much if they are blasted before they ever have a chance to leave their bases. Or if they are deprived of a base to get back to, assumming they are able, and which would be very questionable.

  39. Mike Rentner Says:

    Those denigrating this as a modified F-5 don’t seem to remember that the F-5 is considered a superb airframe.

    Remember too that there is value in volume. If they can make enough of these jets, they can overwhelm a paltry number of raptors because of simple geography. If you have 30 raptors and 31 Iranian aircraft, if you space out the Iranian aircraft, then at least one will get through.

    The raptor is a waste of money.

  40. Steve Says:

    Of course, a line of 30 Raptors, (or Eagles, or Hornets, or Fighting Falcons) each circling as tightly as possible over its own spot, is still about 1800 miles long, which is on the order of 50% longer than the greatest distance between any two points in Iran. Which means you can’t space the Iranians out enough to matter, even in the ludicrous case where the defenders can’t maneuver. Try again, Mr Rentner.

  41. The Sanity Inspector Says:

    Cool. Brand-new targets are always more fun than boring old MIGs and Mirages.

    And not as sad as using retired, clapped-out old Thuds and Voodoos.

  42. Robin Roberts Says:

    The F5 is not a “superb” airframe. It was a cheap aircraft originally developed for third world nations’ air forces and used by the US almost exclusively as a trainer. It was obsolete for even those purposes decades ago.

  43. TM Lutas Says:

    Lindh – US armed forces recruitment numbers are public information and, for your information, they’re making their numbers and have been for a very long time. Frankly, it astonishes me to no end how good recruitment has been.

    As for the Iranians, the more they can frighten us, especially those of us who trade oil, the smaller the gaping holes in their budget. They’ve just instituted peacetime rationing for gasoline at a time of really high oil prices. So let us give this and other attempts to scare us into filling their treasury the good hearty laugh they deserve.

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