Iran’s F-5 Knockoff Fighter Now At Squadron Strength

So, Iran’s second locally-grown fighter jet, the Saeqeh has officially become operational with the Iranian air force at the squadron level.

This may be a big deal for Iran but not so much for us. As you can see in the grainy photo above, the Saeqeh is in many ways a reverse-engineered F-5 Freedom Fighter. You know, Northrop’s 50-year old design for a cheap and easy to fly light-fighter that the U.S. could sell to its Third World allies during the height of the Cold War. One of those (then) allies was pre-revolutionary Iran, which bought about 125 of them in the 1960s and 1970s. The Saeqeh is based on the F-5 body with Russian weapons and canted tails, among other “upgrades.” Tehran insists that the Saeqeh is on par with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18  Hornet. One thing’s for sure, Russia and China probably don’t need to worry about the Saeqeh competing with their latest fighter designs.

Here’s Iran’s semiofficial FARS news agency’s announcement of the plane’s entry into operational service.

Via Alert5.

  • Ben

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I can’t wait till somebody knocks Iran’s teeth out. They go around touting how advanced and well-equipped they are, but everyone knows when push comes to shove, it’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    • I really want Israel to launch an expedition into Iran and project their power, just to put them in their place.

      I don’t think it would be a long, protracted war either.

      Iran’s been a nuisance for too long.

    • Barry

      The fact that they are able to make anything is significant. They do talk a lot, and you are right. They are merely grand standing right now. But make no mistake, as they develop, they will become more and more dangerous. That poses several problems. First, regardless of the “peace” projections, Islam is a religion developed by warring Arab tribes, whose primary means of sustenance was to loot others. Islam is a religion of war and submission, not peace. In fact that’s what Islam translate to. To submit. The other problem of course is oil. Since we are so petroleum dependent, strength in oil producing countries means embargoes and other acts of economic terrorism that will impact our lives in the west. That’s the reason why Carter removed shah and put the islamic republic in his place. The trade off was this runaway train that we can’t stop now. We should stop them, but doing so by force will have serious international impacts on us. It’s an interesting problem.

  • Steven R.

    What a Statement haha. There is no way that this thing is just as good as a hornet or even a super hornet for that lol.

    • GySgt Salt USMC Ret,

      Or even an “Old F8 Crusader Rabbit” Semper Fi

  • Joshua

    That gave me a great laugh.

  • Dobbs

    I take it that the blue angels paint scheme is what gives the planes the performance of an F-18? Hilarious.

    • Cthel

      Not just the paint-job – the twin vertical tails are just as important

    • jake

      If they paint flames on it, it’ll go an extra 15% faster and the pilots will be show quality pilots with real skillz.

      • jhm

        and if u put a grinning shark mouth, itll send others packing ahahahah

  • sdog

    almost as good as the wooden assault boats they said could threaten our carrier groups

  • Stan

    There are obviously very few pilots that post here.

    I would take a good pilot flying one of these planes than an average joe flying a Hornet. The better pilot will always come out ahead. Fact.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Then you wouldn’t mind some Joe flying the F-22 and the best pilot in the world flying an F-86; because you know, it’s all about the pilots and fair.


    • Ben

      Good thing we have the best pilots in the world then. And I can’t say for sure, but I’m betting Iran’s aren’t nearly as well trained or as competent. Better pilots + better planes beats bad planes + average pilots, peroid.

      • Joshua

        Funny to te poster above. We have the superiOr aircraft and pilit’s!

        • Booger

          But you have inferior spelling, dumbass…

    • M167a1

      While I understand the point, you overstate the hand belonging to the pilot of the Saeqeh. Von Richthofen himself would be in a bind in an F-18 vs Saeqeh engagement.

      The F-18 would see it first, be able to launch missiles first and have a better chance of a hit. quite possibly before even an ace Saeqeh pilot knew anything other than he had been acquired. Given and F-18E with AESA radar he might not know anything until a missile goes active for its terminal approach.

      All this assumes the F-18 operates alone and without AWACS support. I would not want to be a Saeqeh pilot in this type of fight. Cleverly employed they might bag a few of our guys under ideal circumstances, but the exchange rate would be similar to baby seals vs polar bears.

    • jumper

      This post was as entertaining as the article…

      Sorry, the best pilot in the world can’t make an obsolete light-fighter go toe-to-toe with new 4th and 5th gen fighters in service. Fact.

      • Mastro

        Yeah I think that old saw can be placed in cliche land.

        I heard it was still valid back in the Eighties when Reserve F-4 pilots- often Vietnam vets- would wax newbies in their F15’s- but those were dogfight engagements where piloting skills count for a lot.

        I think a competent, if average pilot in a 5th, 4.5 gen can launch an AMRAAM, and accelerate away from an F5 any day of the week.

        • blight

          It’s possible that in the minds of pilots, the F-4 acquired a terrible reputation because of Vietnam’s rules of engagement and inferior missiles. And once the missiles got better for the Phantom and the ROE changed: they “looked better”…

          • jhm

            especially in israeli hands

      • blight

        There’s a lot to be said about the technological advantage trumping the more skilled recruit. After Meiji, the firearm trained, en masse conscript army (with some samurai backing) destroyed the career samurai force. Knightly cavalry disappeared when appropriate technology appeared, and the cavalry charge disappeared against the machine gun.

      • raimac

        Aggressor Squadron of Top Gun, flying F5Es go toe-to-toe with the Navy’s most modern fighters, and routinely trash them.

        • Wild Gray Younder

          That’s a matter of pilot experience, not aircraft abilities. Aggressor squadron are seasoned and experienced pilots. They fly against younger pilots. No substitute for experience.

    • Iran doesn’t have the Hornet nor the best pilots in the world, so I don’t follow your point.

    • Booger

      Because there are loads of average Joe’s flying hornets….. And Iran has the best pilot training anywhere… I hear their pilots go to an elite flight traing school called Kebab Gun…

    • Rusty

      I trained with Iranians in the 60’s. Based on their expertise at the time, I very seriously doubt they have even a handful of pilots that come close to our average pilots.

      • R_S_M

        The 60’s?
        Do you think those Pilot’s you assessed are still flying?

    • Nick

      I agree….I would never go against Jesus in a Fokker D7 even if I was in a F35….but whats was your originally meaningful point?

      • Lewis Doppeldecker

        Along the lines of “Go forth and disintegrate”? ;)

  • All these comments on here are short sighted and foolish…especially when our forces may or may not come up against anything like these in numbers in the foreseeable future. See, laughable as it may seem, it can take just one shot from these sub-USA standard aircraft to knock down a F35 or F18E…..if the pilot was lucky enough to get one off. Or how bout this….a wooden hulled speed boat fitted with a torpedo, rockets, or explosives sinking ships 10x bigger than its size? (PT Boats anyone?) See, no matter how arcane an adversaries technology is, it can destroy our technology 10 fold…and technology is our Achilles heel,seeing this from the way we depend on it to fight wars we are losing now, today.

    • Ben

      Sure, we may take some losses, that’s war. But I can guarantee you it’ll be NOTHING compared to the losses we inflict on them if we ever came into conflict. We don’t go in guns blazing without knowing our enemy and how to combat him, not when it’s a uniformed army.

    • TLAM Strike

      “Or how bout this….a wooden hulled speed boat fitted with a torpedo, rockets, or explosives sinking ships 10x bigger than its size? (PT Boats anyone?)”

      You do know that in the whole history of the PT boat only once has it sunk a capital ship? The SMS Szent Istvan in WWI. Not exactly a shining example of low end vs high end!

      • Mastro

        Beat me to it- although I certainly can’t remember the Szent Istvan.

        PT boats were “sexy” for 1910- all the navy wonks were writing purple prose about them. If there had been internet boards- the thing would have crashed for all the BS.

        Funny how a decent destroyer escort put an end to them.

        • blight

          You’re thinking of jeune ecole (“young school”), where torpedo boats would put an end to the capital ship arms race.

          If they had acoustically guided long lances in 1910, then…

          • “If they had acoustically guided long lances in 1910, then…”

            Like the Komars and the N-2 ASM? One or two small victories then totally useless against larger ships with better defenses.

          • lizzieb_23

            Sunburn. The Iranians have ’em. And, US Naval exercises have shown that Iran could beat the US Navy using swarm tactics.

          • STemplar

            In 2002, 9 years ago, and only because the tactic wasn’t on anyone’s ‘radar’. Small vessels in the littorals is very much on people’s minds now.

          • TLAM Strike

            Iran does not have the Sunburn. Nor the MiG-25, nor the MiG-31, nor the Su-30, nor the J-10, nor a lot of the stuff people claimed Iran had 8 years ago that turned out to be BS.

            They got the C-800 and C-700 series missiles, the Silkworm and the Ra’ad (A turbojet Silkworm). They have no LR Supersonic ASMs.

            Don’t believe what you see in wargames or naval exercises. They are always rigged and run on a script. The small boat tactics worked because they were not on the script for that wargame. IRL they would be on the script.

            Small boat tactics failed utterly in Operation Earnest Will and Praying Mantis. I go by ACTUAL combat operations for my opinions of tactics.

          • blight

            Praying Mantis is our primary case study for how the new Jeune Ecole was supposed to work, and it didn’t work out well for Iran, even though the tech gradient between Iran and the United States wasn’t as broad as it is now. The Iranians had a mix of American technology from the mid to late ’70s plus Soviet export gear against top of the line American tech of the ’80s.

            One wonders if the Soviets ever really gave Iran their best hardware…

          • TLAM Strike

            The Soviets didn’t even give them their second rate gear. The first model MiG-29, the bare bones Kilo variant (Algeria got a better version!) and used T-72s were what they got.

            The tech gradient is about the same or worse. Most of the stuff they are flying we consider two generations outdated.

    • Brian

      I’m sure our missiles are cheaper to build then these planes, so there is no quantity vs quality issue

    • B Rad

      lol, all the technology. But you have to remember, behind the tech, pushing the buttons and pulling the triggers is a sole warfighter, concentrating on his objective with pride. No some dupped up gamer trying to get a fix and only beliving what his puter’ tells him….

      • TLAM Strike

        That’s why the US is building a generation of fully automated weapons platforms. No warfighter to err or choke or chicken out in the middle of battle, just cold calculating algorithms that care for nothing but for the destruction of our enemy.

        I think it was Lothar-Günther Buchheim who said that “people fill the gaps in a machine left by engineers.”

        The gooey center of the weapon system is the weakness not the crunchy candy shell.

    • STemplar

      Except that the air bases these things fly from would be pock marked with craters and the hangars they are parked in smoldering ruins.

    • STemplar

      Your view of an air campaign against Iran sounds like an Xbox game, not how it would actually be waged. In point of fact most Iranian aircraft will be destroyed on the ground in their hangars before the Iranians even know what is going on. There won’t be some grand air to air battle in the skies. Honestly air to air combat has never really decided anything in war.

    • Ron

      I remember during Vietnam, a cousin told me that the Viet Cong rigged a truck spring in the fork of a tree and fired a 6-foot wooden arrow into the side of a Huey and brought it down. So much for technology in “backward” parts of the world.

      • crackedlenses

        How on earth did they get the Huey in question to sit still long enough to do that? Do you know how hard it is to hit a moving target in the air with anything unguided on the ground? Sounds like a cheesy Nav’i trick to me……

  • Mark Pyruz

    You’re reading too much into that Fars article. What they’re really saying is that the Saegeh is participating in the ongoing air exercise, nothing more. (Their English isn’t that good, particularly in uses of military terminology.)

    Previously, I think a couple of years ago, they claimed the Saegeh was operational at “squadron strength”; for them being about six aircraft.

    Personally, until I see one of these modified F-5s in paintwork other than Blue Angel copycat, I classify them as demonstration aircraft.

    -Mark Pyruz

  • Joe Schmoe

    I loved how Iran also toted these F-5 knockoffs as “Stealth Fighters”.

    • Wain

      By flying into the sand!

  • Han Solo

    I like the F5, very nimble, easy to fly.

    We should have used more of them as close air support role.

    • rdl014

      No underwing hardpoints to mount MERs and TERs to hang ordnance. No internal guns. I do not know how they could provide close air support

    • SteelRain

      I admit I do vloe the real F-5 especially the F-20 Tigershark. But as far as for clsoe-support, i will take the tried and true A-10 hands down anytime. Even the U.S. Air Force isn’t that stupid.

  • MCQknight

    Yeah, comparing it to the F/A-18 is a joke. It might (emphasis on might) have performance charachteristics similiar to the Northrop YF-17, which was developed from the F-5 and went on to serve as the basis for the larger F/A-18A, but being able to almost match a mid-70’s American jet fighter prototype isn’t exactly impressive.

    • Was not comparing the F35 or F18 to the Iranian aircraft. How ever, even our touted technological superiority, and better trained pilots are still able to be shot down by some country flying arcane technology like this Iran made F5 knock off. And like I said, that is where our problem lies…we think that our armed forces are the best trained, and best equipped….and those who do must be smoking crack. All it takes is one dedicated person with the will,and the best becomes cannon fodder.

  • Auyong Ah Meng

    I wonder what’s the optimum operational capabilities and strengths/weakness of this particular bird?

    The nose cone looks small…wonder what kind of rader it is packing.

    Finally, i wonder is it an effective fighting night bird too.

    A bit retro 70s/80s these iranian birds are though. No disrepect here from me for all other retro birds cos they rock.

  • Lois

    I guess that’s why the Aussies need F-35s then. :) (J/K)

  • Mark

    Northrup came out with the F-20 Tigershark hotrodded version of this aircraft. I believe it had the F100 in single engine configuration. I had a hugely upgraded avionics system and longer range. The people it was designed and built for wanted the F-15 et al and viewed the F-20 as an insult. As memory serves, this plane gave everyone a run for their money even without an experienced Experten at the stick. If an experienced F-5E driver at Red Flag/Top Gun could rip the visiting students in their megabillion kill em all jets a new one, what would they have done with 2X the power and all the other upgrades. Too bad, half the engines, half the maintenance, super high thrust to weight, just didnt have the F-14D, F15C, FA18c/e and F16 publicity.

    • Nadnerbus

      Yeah the F-20 impressed me, it was just a plane with no buyers. If it had the same kind of support and upgrade system as in-service US fighters, I think it could have been nearly up to the level of the F-16. Everyone wanted the cool toys that the US used though, not Nothrop export hand-me-downs.

    • William C.

      The USN and USMC are still flying F-5Es?

      The F-16 was certainly a better choice for the front-line fighter the USAF needed, but the Navy should have really gotten some F-20s instead of the short-lived F-16Ns they bought.

      • Riceball

        They were during the 80’s as aggressors at Top Gun, don’t know about now.

    • Dave

      Jimmy Carter insisted that the F20 was only for export to Third World countries and that it was not as good as the F-16 or F-15. If fact the fly off between the F-20 and the F-16 showed the F-20 superior in all areas. The USAF doesn’t like to talk about that fly off.

  • Nadnerbus

    Anyone here know how many F-5/20 type airframes are still in service with the US air arms? I was up in the woods in Sierra County (north of Tahoe) today and saw a couple of birds fly over in loose formation, that I suppose could have been F-16s but the silhouette looked too long.

    • Don’t forget the “Northrop T-38 Talon”, it’s still the USAs primary trainer.

    • Mastro

      Didn’t we buy about 50 Swiss F5’s a few years back? I think the Marines fly them.

      • blight

        From (

        “…The F-5N/Fs are third-generation F-5 fighter aircraft designed for replacement of the F-5A/B/E production models. These aging aircraft will be replaced by low-houred F-5N/F acquired from the Swiss Air Force surplus by United States Navy (USN).

        Currently, the Swiss F-5N Replacement Program replaces the present high-time Navy F-5Es with low-time F-5Ns allowing the USN/USMC to operate the F-5N aircraft to Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The Phase Depot Maintenance (PDM) required modifications to USN configuration provides a safer, lower-flight time Adversary aircraft with increased capability for Department of Navy (DoN) pilots. These aircraft are assigned to Government facilities, namely, NAS Key West, Florida, MCAS Yuma, Arizona, and NAS Fallon, Nevada.”

  • William C.

    This thing couldn’t hope to match the F-20 Tigershark, let alone any variant of the F/A-18 family.

  • Enrico

    I think that most people are forgetting one thing: Americans and Russians developed ICBM starting from the German V2, just being capable of copying someone’s technology is a first step; Iran recently announced that they can manufacture carbon fibers (, overall their military technology is improving with little external help.

    Actually I’d like to know which avionics (especially radar) this aircraft is using, does anyone know something about it?

    • blight

      Likely local tech, using what was top-notch pre-Revolution in the Iranian military as a starting point. The Shah was attempting to modernize his country, and probably was in the process of buying foreign machinery a la Meiji Restoration (a mission that likely continued through the Revolution, Iraq-Iran war and GW1). The US spent a lot of effort trying to deter F-14 parts purchases, which in turn shows the Iranians had a large procurement network out there buying “useful” machinery and technology.

      Against a local power without a fully integrated military they might do a little better than we think. Against the present Iraqi military they are likely to do pretty well. Their military is better equipped than the martyr brigades of old, and the Iraqi military no longer is as fully mechanized with full stocks of chemical weapons. It might be interesting to see if the air situation would reverse itself in any new Iraq-Iran war, as the Iranians had air superiority back then…and now the Iraqi Air Force is smaller, but might be eventually equipped along American lines with export-grade technology.

      Kind of doubt Iran will openly provoke the United States into an invasion, but Saddam was playing a bluff game, sponsored no Al Qaeda activity in the ’90s and still paid for it. When the right administration is in place they will bend heaven, earth and truth to destroy ideological enemies.

    • Roger4129

      I say happy hunting to any country that can out smart the Zionist running are country including the President lets forget get the bull shit and hear the fact we lost over $350 billion of research and 20 years of development in the RQ-170 the Iranian got it by taping are satellite and now have three to four back doors to get back in into are G.P.S system just like we looked at the end of the second world war and did not know what a jet aircraft looked like you will piss in your pants in the next generation of future aircraft coming out of Iran and by the way I love my country America but am not stupid and if you saw the underground factories under the mountain you will even if the war with Iran last 50 years we will lose and the winners will be China and Russia as eastern America die from duty Radio active bombs and yes as we drop atomic bombs on Iran, and kill 20 to 40 million people the hole Middle east will also be dead to the world as for me at age 74 I pray to God we dont get suck into war because that will be a win for Russia and China

  • pacifico

    Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) and Azarakhsh (Lightening), so let’s add a little rock and roll and all sing along …Thunderbolt and lightning – very very frightening me
    Gallileo, Gallileo,
    Gallileo, Gallileo,
    Gallileo Figaro – magnifico

  • Jsmith

    It may as well have a second wing, trying to use that antique as a fighter in the 21st century.

  • JSCS

    F-5 carried (2) M39 20mm gun sets. Do they have something similar tucked in the nose?

    • blight

      Sounds like a response to the sins of the Phantom, or as a concession to less-than-perfect missiles of the day.

      Would the 20mm even come into play in the modern environment? It’s not like the F-5s are good loiter and strafe platforms…?

    • TLAM Strike

      The Saeqeh also has twin 20mm Cannons in its nose:

  • roland

    Looks like a modified F-5.

  • Benjamin

    Does anyone know how it’s performance differs from an F-5? Slower? Faster?

    • Zap

      Better low speed handling , take-off and landing , that’s what the twin tale is for

  • lizzieb_23

    Ummm…arrogant much? This is their ENTRY into the field. And, the laws of physics haven’t changed in the last 50 years. Sure these planes won’t compete with the latest and best that we have – but then again, they’re spending less than 1/100th of our military budget too.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Ummm.. revisionist much?

      In their own announcements they claimed that this would more than match any American/Israeli threat and is stealth.

    • Guest

      Please. South Korea’s ENTRY in the “field” (I guess you mean fighter jets?), the FA-50 Golden Eagle, could give this Iranian POS a good spanking any day.

    • Carl G.

      And they get what they pay for. They are substituting Nukes for a modern air force. Cheaper, but not realistic, as the west found out to its pain in the 60s-80s. They are targets.

      • Nick

        Guys, remember who we are talking about here. Iran isn’t exactly a modern western power. Look at what happened to Iraq in the first half of the gulf war. Largest army in the middle east, modern equipment, An airforce that had relatively new migs and they lasted a whole 100 hours. Now things have changed for sure, but I’d put my money on an F 18 anyday against one of these flying bullseyes. Regardless of weapons and sensors they might carry.

    • parsa


  • Spaceman Spiff

    Hey lizzie, since you obviously love the iranian nutjobs so much, why dont you move there? That way, you can pilot one of those swarms against our obviously inferior Navy as you so elequently put it… Or you can join the non-Iranian backed hez cowards… See how far that gets you… what an idiot…

    • Michael

      Was Lizzieb_23’s post edited or something? Because I don’t see any comments from her about a love for Iran, or anything about our Navy’s incompetence.

    • JimBo

      I love one some arse makes the comment “why dont you move there”…… ITs free speech your arse…….. get it?

  • killo

    iran just gives our air force more targets to shoot at lol.

  • Jayson

    I agree it’s almost on par with an F 18 … in looks only at certain angles … and and some creative imagination.

  • drball

    I think that the new (old) fighter is a very creditable threat that should not be ignored. Why, because this fighter will be exported to any country that can afford them. Remember the U.S . Navy bought a few Swiss Airforce F-5’s and had them compleatly rebuilt….At a a cost of 6 Million per aircraft….Also with the new vert design might fix a long standing problem with the F-5 the horizantal stabs have a very low service life due to cracking of which could be due to the old design and air flow issues like the resaon the F-18 C/D has a LEX spolier and the F/A-17 did not…

    • jhm

      yeah, bought the f5s for what? exactly man, not for front line service. oooh, i fear this plane so much now. NOT!!!

  • George

    Well since they are in the copying business they might as well be copying the Phantom. This thing is close to useless. They don’t have the package to make it a viable air-to-air platform and it can’t carry the payload for air-to-ground. They’d be much better off with a Skyraider knock-off for air-to-ground but then again these are the Iranians – they are in love with showing-off and now they have their own pet jet!

  • one day Iran will open their mouth one time too many and someone is going to close it for good. I don’t think the US will do it, but the country that has the six pointed star may be the one to do it.

  • Lance

    The F-5 is a good dog-fighter the Navy still uses them for aggressors at NAS Oceania. Can it drop bombs and dogfight a F-16 sure it can. But taking on a F-15 or F-22 it stands no chance.

    • jhm

      WELL not the bombing part. payload is a bit too low

  • CEP

    Yep, of course we can’t underestimate any enemy….You can bet if they get to far along with their nuclear and other options, or send any of their IED’s into that country, ISREAL will do another “pre emptive strike…flying F 35’s probably ( or French Dassaults!) You may “count on it!”…Meanwhile, American made electronic components ( from our greedy, unpatriotic, mutinational corporations).. are being sold, knowingly to Iranian “front companies” and “appearing in IED’s in Afghanistan and Iraq! Just like the technology that enabled the Soviets to make MIRV ( multi warhead) ICBM’s…you can bet the Iranians and Russians know how to “deal” with traitors!

  • Karl

    Remember-the U.S. underestimated the abilities of Japan and got their butts kicked for a while (and that was before the atom bomb)! Overconfidence and arrogance has felled many a champion, and currently, the U.S. is teetering on shakey ground.

    • STemplar

      Somehow 11 carrier groups, and USN fleet HQ in the gulf, bombers on Diego Garcia constantly, and joint forces bases in Oman, and I don’t think anyone is taking Iran lightly or low balling them with counter capabilities.

    • Belesari

      The IJN was massive and pretty modern in some ways more modern than the US. Comparing them to Iranians its very wrong. Whats more the Japanese had the Zero which was a far worse threat to american warplanes than the Iranians.

    • M167a1

      True as far as it goes.

      The Japan analogy however is a stretch at best. Japan was a major regional power in 1941 and able to project that power and Its technical base was comparable to our own.

      Iran has no such advantages, they do have the advantage of shorter lines of supply and a reasonably secure line of resupply via Russia. But their Air Force and Navy would be in an untenable position in a fight with us. Their major Army formations likewise vulnerable.

      That said, they would quickly be forced into an Afghanistan style insurgency. And we do not have the money, troops, or political will to play whack a mole on that scale for any length of time.

  • JimBo

    Ive liked the F5 from the first time I saw one…….. on a barge in the Med. being delivered way back in 1965-66. The F20 is really killer… So this Saeqeh is an updated F5/F20 it will still fly the pants off many aircraft around that part of the world.

    • Joe Schmoe


      Aircraft in “that” part of the world:

      Mirage 2000

      And what does Iran develop to combat these threats? A knockoff F-5…

      • blight

        As long as they deploy good missiles and top-notch avionics it won’t be so bad…

        • TLAM Strike

          The best indigenous Iranian AAM is a sidewinder knockoff and a version of the old Hawk SAM fitted for launch from a Tomcat.

  • Nadnerbus

    So what is the 411 on the design and manufacture of this F-5/20 knockoff? Are these old US made airframes that have been rebuilt with a little local know-how? Are they made entirely in-country? The engines? Help from the Chinese or Indians?

    Obviously they aren’t anything for the west to get their panties in a twist over, but depending on how much of them is designed and built at home, it might be kind of impressive that a religious dictatorship with a massive international embargo against them came up with this.

    • M167a1

      They could be re-treads but I see no reason they could not be locally built. I would guess this bird is perhaps comparable to an F-16A, if they have a decent radar on it it could launch some decent missiles so call it an F-16A Air Defense Version like the guard used to fly with a ground attack capability.

      I suspect its strike abilities are on a par with the F-5E although I see no reason you could not hang an IR or Laser guidance pod on it.

  • Richard Kocher

    It’s a good lookin’ little jet. The idea that saying your weapons are scary actually makes them scary has always amused me. We took out Saddam’s forces, at the time considered by far the most powerful in the Middle East, practically in our sleep. The Iranians are full of crap and need a good knock in the head to sober up. I will say, though, that the Iranian people I have met in my life seemed to be real good folks. It’s those bozos running the show over there that need a lesson. Our warriors rule!


    When does Top Gun 2 come out? This thing looks like a movie prop.

  • DDPorkchop

    You my friend are thew idiot. Lizzie just making a statement about the way thing s are or may be. She shows no sigh of defending or favoring Iran. THINK before you leap off the cliff.


    Saw an F-5or what ever we call it in Charleston SC about 2months ago.
    Wow an F-5, remember people the F-117 that was cutting edge in 1990 was really designed and built in the late 70’s.

  • mark

    when was stationed at Topgun fm ’82-’85, we hosted an f-20 for a couple days for our pilots to check out. that was when Topgun was shopping for an alternative adversary a/c. we even fielded a proposal fm a company in tx i believe to sell us Indian made mig-21’s to use as adversary a/c. i was disapointed that chuck yeager didnt come along with the f-20 but i do remember several of the instructor pilots raved about its capabilities and would have loved to have had it. i guess the downfall was unit cost as no foreign powers lined up to buy any. since the air force didnt buy them noone wanted to pay a higher cost per unit for small purchases. it certainly was a beautiful plane!

    • GySgt Salt USMC Ret

      When I was working at Mc-Doug, we saw it also and thought it was really a hot item, you’re right Northrup was trying to sell it O’seas and when it fell through, that was the end.

  • jhm

    was? ich bin Americanish und kann nicht

  • Kski

    Everybody relax. If Tom Cruise could down American F-20s, then some guy in any of our current fleet. Air Force, Navy, Marines. Could probably destroy double or triple that. With as always the rest being destroyed in pretty explosions on the ground. Some guy on the radio will say “Bandits 12 o’clock, I mean correction, there Iranian F-20s, sorry.” At most they’ll be real live targets. I feel a Top Gun 2 coming. Top Gun 2: Massacre of the Iranian F-20s. Now that would be worth money to go see.

  • Carl G.

    Agreed Saheeb ! While the Iranian AF may even cause a few losses (at a tremendous Kill/loss ratio and mostly with the F-14s) to the infidel poopies, their air force will not be able to stop or seriously influence a pre-emtive attack by US and Israel (assuming our current admin has the guts). Their Russian air defense systems will be a much greater threat to our strained and absurdly reduced air power. Allah Ackbar !?

  • These things are probably super cheap for Iran to make compared to buying in anything from a foreign power.
    It seems they’ve already planned for their only viable tactic to deal with encountering anything relatively modern, which is sheer numbers and high but relatively cheap losses.

  • Killjoy

    Their “upgraded” F-5 might be a considerable adversary for a P-51. Might be.

  • danial

    I guess Iran should grow up and make a fool out of yourself. Regardless of this combat aircraft, its just no more than an F-5 Freedom Fighter is a bolt on tail. If they were to develop similar to what Northrop did to the F-5 family, like the F-20 Tigershark, then its something, otherwise, its nothing more as capable as those 50s Jets. If you were to add AA-11 and AA-12 then its something the opposite pilot need to be worried about.

  • NVSpartan

    Why would anyone take a perfectly good F-5, and “improve” it by putting a vibrating vortex sensitive pair of canted twin vertical stabs on it? Hell, they had to retrofit the F-18’s in the mid-80’s with beefed-up hardware and extra surfaces because the vertical stabs were cracking at the connection to the airframes due to vortex generation from the LEX. Hell, even the Beechcraft V-tail Bonanza had empennage failure due to cracks in the airframe/tail surface connections because of excessive vibration of the stabilizers.

    Sheesh! If you ask me, this is a merely a propaganda aircraft, a cheap attempt to inflate Iran’s military status, and nothing more.

  • NVSpartan

    They must have spent a fortune modifying their F-5’s to look like that. Except for the twin tails, the birds look exactly like the F-5’s I worked on when I was in VFA-127 at NAS Fallon in the late 80’s!

  • NVSpartan

    This is just like putting a T-tail on an A-4 Skyhawk and then claiming it’s a new, modern design!

  • german

    hey spaceman caome hear i want to show…….somthing can you eat it???? ahmadinejad fuck your obama