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.