UPDATE: Hawk missiles on Iranian F-14s

For more on this story, see Strategy Page.

They point out that the Hawk weighs 30% more (1,300#) than the Phoenix (1,000#), which wasn’t a lightweight itself. But at least it weighs about 678,000# less than the Soyuz booster they used for a picture in the Iranian media report.

Strategy Page’s theory is that they haven’t really been able to do it. Murdoc’s theory is that they might have done it and, if so, they did it so badly that they may as well not even bothered.

UPDATE: Plus, Vodkapundit has the story on a new homegrown Iranian fighter that “is similar to (the American) F-18 but more powerful”. Vodkapundit’s post title?

Iran Announces New Target Drones. Love it! (via Milblogs)

UPDATE 2: Here’s a pic of the scary new Iranian fighter:

Looks like a single-seat F-5 with twin vertical stabilizers to me.

More pics below the fold.

Well, at least one of them flies:

But those don’t look like Hawk missiles (or Soyuz boosters, for that matter).

Here are a few more:

Pics from Mehr News. (via Alert 5)

UPDATE 3: OpFor has another pic. And calls it a “jalopy”.


  1. There seems to be no ‘there’ there. The ‘new’ fighter is the same as the F5, except there are two fins on back. Seeing as adding fins disrupts the balance and handling of an airplane, and since the fins look identical to the existing single-fin of an F5, I’m inclined to believe PhotoShop was the major tool here.

  2. I agree with Jerome. First of all, one of the fins on the ‘new-and-improved’ F-5 looks like it isn’t even fully attached to the aircraft! (Note the gap on the tail end.) Secondly, both fins have a faint black outline around them that doesn’t fit the lighting or contrast of the native picture. But check out the modified air intake. This may in fact be a real plane, albeit with the significant PhotoShopping mentioned above. Also, I’m wondering how long the landing gear on the F-5 is. Those bombs or whatever they are look like they might interfere with a landing. Unless they’re fake too. But definitely PhotoShopped. Is this really from MEHR?

  3. You do realize that the F-18 is derived from Northrop’s F-17, which was derived from the F-5, right? As for the intake, that’s the kind of thing you’d do if you wanted to add a ramp for a variable geometry intake. They could be looking for a little more speed which could explain the second vertical too. They have lots of oil money. You don’t suppose they might have spent some of it on an ex-Soviet aircraft designer or two? Nah, why would they do that when they could find all the expertise they’d ever need on the Strategy Page.

  4. I said the air intake was real, and judging from the picture over at OPFOR it appears that the black outline around the the stabilizers is actually the paint scheme–strange though it may appear. I’ll concede my second point, but not the first: Since you seem to know a lot about aircraft, explain to me why the vertical stabilizer isn’t completely attached to the plane?

  5. OPFOR http://op-for.com/2006/09/irans_new_fighter.html – has a pretty good write-up on the ‘new’ Iranian fighter. Has another picture that looks more realistic. (Sorry Photoshop conspiracy theorists)

  6. The OPFOR picture shows a plane that doesn’t have long enough legs for that monster bomb or whatever it is, especially since landing gear compresses when it hits the ground… so that part looks like photoshop. And as far as being more powerful than an F18, I don’t think so, your basic jet engine depends on sucking in lots of air, heating it up and blowing it out the other end; compare those engines to an F18. Fighters need power to fight drag in high-G turns, not just to go fast, that thing would get eaten for catfood in any kind of sustained turn.

  7. Buckethead, Good call; I didn’t think about that. (*slaps forehead at loss of internet credibility*) It just looked a little strange seeing a gap there. So that just leaves those giant bombs or fuel tanks or whatever. Like Fazookus said, they look large enough to interfere with a landing. Maybe I can get one out of three?

  8. The fins are not completely attached so that the stabs can move (stabilizers/stabilators). Most aircraft can’t fly without a rudder…. The intakes are square and have increased surface area to allow for the ingestion of more air – consequently more thrust which is directly proportional to the amount of air you take in. The big-arse store underneath is a munitions dispenser – look at the underside of it. C’mon it’s cute and useless – from the radome we can see that there has been no increase in firecontrol system which basically only allows for boresight (if they have even been able to maintain the tech).

  9. It is a fuel tank. They would have been better off to go with these, but what they’ve got will increase the jet’s range.

  10. They would have been better off to go with these’ actually a centreline tank produces less stress on the airframe than wing loading does due to bending moments and doesn’t result in harmonic loading either.

  11. I agree with statements that it looks like an old F-5 with twin tails. It would Probably do well in close in dogfights but it wont get that close. It will never see the plane that fires the AMRAAM that kills is. As for the bomber part of Fighter bomber, maybe the pilot straps on an Explosive suicide belt before takeoff and ejects over the target ! hehehe

  12. The F-14’s carying older sidewinders, sparrow missiles, and probably a couple of non functioning early phoenix missiles. They may as well dump the phoenix missiles cause againse an F-22 they are useless. Here’s how the engagement might go in a favorable situation for IRAN. 1. F14 sees f-22 at long range (not likely) and fires phoeniux 2. Phoenix climbs to 80,000 feet for cruise to target area (during which time f-22 goes to super cruise and closes distance ewxtremely fast ! 3. Phoenix decends in terminal phase to find no F-22 as its long gone and also by then its parent plane has made a hole in the desert floor.

  13. It’s academic to compare the Iranian Air Froce materiel to that of the USAF. Any protracted contingency would quickly devolve into asymetry. Like Powell said – you break it, you own it 🙁

  14. I should take most of the above comment were made by some American teenagers in a Pub, please guys do yourselves a favour and slap yourselves in the face as hard as you possibly can to wake yourselves up. Just listen to yourselves, please try to think, I know it’s hard to start with. This is the only way to help yourselves.

  15. …and James’ comment is the same, verbatim – probably cut-n-pasted – as his comment over at OpFor’s place. If you’re going to snark, James, at least be original. It also sounds as though English isn’t James’ native tongue; could our ‘ringer’ be the opposition? ‘The world wonders….’

  16. Stabilator vs photoshopping…………….who cares, it’s still an updated F5. What’s interesting to me is the F14 photo below it and the AA armament on the pylons. Looks like AA 11 Archers on the outboard pylons to me (not sure about the ordnance on the inboard struts). Combine those badboys with updated helmet cued targeting and I’m thinking close range (as in, inside 6 miles) inbound aircraft are in for a lively , if perhaps, shortlived time. Or is it just me, or the booze (detriment of reading on an early Saturday AM)?

  17. Iranian F-14: Outer pylon – AIM-9 Sidewinder(I would say old D type). Inner pylon – AIM-120 AMRAAM Under belly – AIM-54 Phoenix

  18. small correction – AIM-9 is J variant (front canards have more of a ‘swept back shape than other variants). Inner pylon carries AIM-7 Sparrow (visually similar to AIM-120) but it well may be the china-produced version of it.