Nasser Karimi / Associated Press – 2006-09-07 23:41:00
Iran Unveils Locally Made Fighter Plane
Nasser Karimi / Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (September 6, 2006) — Iran unveiled its first locally manufactured fighter plane Wednesday during large-scale military exercises, state-run television reported.
The report said the bomber Saegheh is similar to the American F-18 fighter plane, but “more powerful.” It also said the plane was “designed, optimized and improved by Iranian experts.”
State TV said the Iranian air force had commissioned the Saegheh plane after many test flights in the past year.
Television footage showed the airplane taking off and launching two rockets. The plane had a small cockpit and only one pilot.
“Saegheh is capable of launching both rockets and bombs,” the report said.
General Karim Ghavami, commander of Iran’s air force, told state-run television that the war games were being held “to show the trans-regional forces that we are ready to defend our country up to the latest drop of our blood.”
The Islamic republic is concerned about the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan at a time when the international community has threatened to impose sanctions against Tehran because of its disputed nuclear program.
During the war-games, which began Aug. 19 and have been dubbed “The Blow of Zolfaghar,” Iran has test-fired short-range, surface-to-surface missiles, submarine-to-surface missiles, a new air defense system and laser bombs.
Iran’s military also test-fired a series of missiles during war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was undetectable by radar and could use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.
After decades of relying on foreign weapons purchases, Iran now says it is increasingly self-sufficient, claiming it annually exports more than $100 million worth of military equipment to more than 50 countries.
Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers and missiles, the government said. It announced in early 2005 that it had begun producing torpedoes. The government has not said how many warplanes it will build
Iran Develops 2,000-pound Guided Bomb
(September 6, 2006) — Iran has developed a 2,000 pound guided bomb named Ghased, or “Messenger,” aimed at enhancing its defensive capabilities.
“Within the framework of enhancing our defense capabilities and in accordance with our deterrent principles, we have designed and manufactured a 2,000 pound (900-kilogram) guided bomb,” Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was quoted as saying Wednesday by the ISNA news agency.
A guided bomb typically uses laser technology to more accurately hit its target and is a weapon commonly used by the world’s air forces.
Iran also said it has developed a war plane named Saegheh, or “Thunder,” which it described as similar to the American F-18 fighter jet.
The air force, army and navy have been showing off their capabilities and new hardware for the last month in war games, which come amid mounting international concern over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Tehran has insisted that it seeks only civilian nuclear power, but is facing a US drive for sanctions on the UN Security Council after missing a deadline ordering it to halt sensitive uranium enrichment operations.
Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse
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