Iran’s new stealth jet, or is it?

Iran wants you to believe that it has a new stealth fighter with all the bells and whistles to compete with the U.S. military’s F-22 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran Defense Ministry Ahmad Vahidi attended a Feb. 2 unveiling of what the Iranians are calling the Qaher 313. 

Of course, plenty of questions revolve around the authenticity of the Iranian stealth fighter. From the pictures, the cockpit glass is a dead give away at how unreal this plane likely is. John Reed at Foreign Policy took a deeper dive.

“In fact, it looks like the Iranians dumped some rudimentary flight controls and an ejection seat into a shell molded in what they thought were stealthy angles,” Reed writes.

He goes further writing: “The jet is so small it looks like the man is sitting in a clown car, er, clown fighter. It’s seriously unlikely that such an aircraft has room to carry the avionics, radars, electronic countermeasures, heat masking gear, and, most importantly for a fighter, the weapons that make modern stealth jets effective.”

Below is a video of the unveiling. Enjoy.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Tad

    Yay, Thunderbirds!

    • Se1

      I am amazed. It seems that no one here (including the article’s author is familiar with Iran’s MO when it comes to these things or even bothered listening to what the IRGC general is saying. The clues as to whatthis is and why there appears to be so many anomloies are there. Nobody it seems has been able to understand it.

    • Baba Bisso

      They’ll put it on the Farsi version of “Thunderbirds Are Go!” starring Mahmoud A. as one of the puppeteers. If nothing else, they must have a pretty good R(adio)C(ontrol) & flying carpet club over there. If they build a full scale model they’ll be about ten years behind the ol’ Boeing B(ird)O(f)P(rey) when it first flew.

  • Lance

    Looks like the fictional F-19 from the 80s. Most other talk says its another run off of the F-5E fighter. I dont believe them at all.

  • IransStealth

    HAHAHAHA… The flying plane is an RC plane. You can tell by the oscillations.

  • Dingo

    Someone frankenstein’d together the body from the X36, tail fins from the JSF, and the winglets from the Bird of Prey… then tossed in the X32’s exhaust for good measure.
    Unfortunately, they forgot to scale the design. It’ll be a stocking stuffer come Christmas.

  • Dave Barnes

    Interesting mockup.
    Where is the armament carried?

    • guest

      armament? no, theres no room. to say it has enough room for a pilot it probably a bit much also. it looks like it should come with a saddle the pilots sits so high on top of it.

      • Menzie

        Almost the same size as an F35, and if you remember the F16 it has an even higher position for the pilot. Other than this being an obvious mock up and another of Iran’s misleading propaganda noone believes, it looks like a fighter jet. Why can the weapons not be wing mounted? I realize it wouldn’t be stealthy that way but they do not have to be on obvious hard points. Looks big enough for 1 or 2 AA missiles like the sparrow.

    • Jay

      Armament is strapped to the vest of the pilot.

    • ray

      Up the pilots a&*

    • Rick

      Armament? We were supposed to include armament? Oh crap!

  • IKnowIt

    MMMmmmmmmmm Bshitt…. Ehem.

  • Matrix3692

    ok, normally when a country (no matter China, Russia, or anyone else) unveils any piece of “their pride of nation”, i’m trying to be neutral, but this…… ok, i’ll be a skeptic for now……

  • Kole

    What in the hell is that thing? If it flies, even if it sucks in combat, I’ll give whoever designed it props. That’s IF it flies.

    • Deadeye

      ….meanwhile in Hollywood, on the set of Iron Eagle V, someone just lost their job guarding the prop storage area.

    • A1C Wright

      It can fly they have a video of it flying on CNN. Combat ready?? Who knows.

  • Roy Smith

    When I saw this “stealth fighter” on the RT TV website,I had to mention it. I also saw an article about it on Global It’s one thing to dissect the Russian stealth fighter & the Chinese stealth fighter,but I can’t even take this seriously. I’m just waiting for someone to say that the “stealth technology” is based on the UAV they claim to have captured from the U.S.

    • Dave M

      Maybe they glued the UAV’s panels to the shell of this thing and called it a day.

    • Chops

      The thing I take seriously is that the president of Iran is in Egypt sucking up to their TERRORIST president right after Egypt takes delivery of 4 brand-new F16s.Any bets on whether Iran gets a glimpse of the new planes and engines?

    • shawn1999

      Roy! It is! It is! It IS based on the “captured” stealth drone! Don’t you see? It has the same shape and angles and everything! ;~)

  • JohnB

    It flies off the AC outlet from the wall. See the cable ?

  • FtD

    does the thing generates any lift from those tiny wings? looks like a toad about to go belly up

  • U.S.A

    lol iran is such a sorry nation. that thing is fake and they reallyt suck at trying to fool people.

  • SJE

    It also transforms into a giant robot

  • spthomas1

    The Iranians also made a new parachute. It deploys on impact.

  • Baduyo

    I got one of those for my kid at “Toys R US” works great; just have to peddle quickly to get it off the ground

  • blight_

    Someone make a model and throw it into the wind tunnel. I wonder if the Iranians bothered.

  • Hibeam

    I was against cutting our defense budget before I saw this video.

  • crshrsq

    Did they use Elmer’s or epoxy? Wonder how many gallons to keep it glued together…

  • Chris

    Where do I start…….first of all it looks like a copy of the old US HiMAT test aircraft. Now, the Iranian aircraft in this picture has many, many issues. If you buy that they designed this, which they’ve really shown no capacity for up until this point, then I can only assume this is a mock up and not a flight worthy aircraft. The ‘design’ (I hesitate to call it that) has a number of issues, not the least of which is a seemingly lack of space for radars or weapons, or even space for fuel. On top of that if you look at the engine inlets they’re located just above the leading edge of the wing which means no high alpha (angle of attack) maneuvers………seems like more bluster for the Iranians, that’s one thing they are good at.

    • shawn1999

      Its all a ploy!! Their photoshopped missiles, their mines, their aircraft, their submarines- its a gag! The US and Israel will see this and die laughing! They win!

      The only thing that worries me is if these are actually decoys and they have different, real, and functional, and our Intel isn’t able to produce data on the REAL threat for our warplanners to use. I mean, someone fed Bush bad data on Iraq’s nuclear ambitions and he believed it- may have even been the Iranians so their enemies would fight their enemies and give them some breathing room.

  • AAK

    I’m all for not underestimating potential foes, but this is ridiculous. This is laugh out loud hilarious. Iran’s S-S missiles? Sure. Chemical warheads? Wouldn’t surprise me. Nuclear? Some time down the track yeah. But lets not lose sleep over this 3/5 size unflyable mockup with no weapons or sensors.

  • Will Leach

    Its quite likely that this thing is a blusterous hoax. But if youll humor my playing the devils advocate…

    Just because there is a model on display, it doesnt mean that there isnt something in a hanger some where at some stage of completion. If that is the case, neither our design assumptions nor Iranian rhetoric would mean that Iran would go about building fighters like we do, or that they want them to do the same things. Iran surely cant afford to go the route we have, but then again neither can we. Its also unlikely they would show thier entire hand, even though they clearly cant help themselves when it comes to thier attempts at showing off.

    My guess is that they really want to build a new fighter, they will want to leverage thier geography and the tactical advantages of defense. I dont think they are ambitous enough, or stupid enough, to expect to achieve air superiority over Saudi Arabia or Israel anytime soon. An economilcally feasable very small fighter would however allow them to build up a fighter force that would allow them to operate defensively in and around Iran, and it would allow them to take off and land in many more places, making them more resiliant to strikes on thier bases. They would be unlikely to prevent any all out attacks, but it might make them more resiliant, and that might deter any attacks, or the continuation of an attack.

    Granted, such a small aircraft would be unlikely to carry all of the do dads we rely on. But defensively, with a gun or some missles and a good early warning system (including even old school air spotters and phones system) might allow them to launch quickly and engage attackers WVR, before disengaging and landing quickly. A small fighter might have the fuel for that, and if it has STOL capability such an approach just might work. Weapons, and maybe more fuel and even sensors would likely be external, although they might be able to fit a data link or passive sensor on board. Of course none of this would work against the USAFs supposed invisability, but if that is true than it would be just as true if it had a big radar and all the extras.

    Any external carriage would certaintly hurt any LO charachteristics, but you dont need perfect stealth to make yourself a smaller target. Some helpful shaping and small size would go a long way towards this, so would a lack of active sensors and communications. If this is a WVR fighter, the size would make it harder to spot visually, and that wouldnt hurt. It would have to have a competitive thrust to weight ratio and low wing loading, as its unlikely to get vectored thrust, and any exhaust uprgade would likely be thermal management. The Iranians are appearantly lagging far behind in engine development, so they may be attacking the weight side of EM formulas rather than counting on big wings and bigger engines. Keep in mind, they have a strong ground based missle industry, so WVR aerial combat might be looking to balance out thier current or future SAMs by adding some guns, especially if they can get some help


    Judging by the Iranian approach in other fields, they might just be going for a numerical advantage, or to lesson a numerical disadvantage, and to keep losses acceptable. If this is real, and again I doubt it, it would not fill the primary role air power does for us, rather they are probably wanted to give any attackers as many problems to deal woth as possible, in terms of width as well as depth. If real, and yet again I doubt it, it surely wouldnt be the kind of plane we would want, and it sure woudnt be perfect, but it might be good enough for Irans needs. Small, cheap, and not devestating if lost. With their economy and fuel refinery problems, we shouldnt expect much more than this, but that doesnt mean it couldnt be part of a bigger deterance and defense picture.

  • SDN

    Qaher F-313 Meerkat ☺

  • vrns

    origami, i guess :D

  • Chris W
  • Ronnie

    It could be the plane the monkey trained in for his space fight. So there!

  • Will Leach
  • IndiBoy

    I’m from India, saw this photo on newspaper and wonder Iran’s capacity at carbon composites, electronics (flying/counter measures/jamming), titanium production, AESA, testing..etc. More i think of more baffling it is. But i found Will Leach’s comment most practical. Given the size, it can utmost be an interceptor/short range bomber. No big threat, looks stylish nevertheless than our own LCA Tejas. Lets wait and watch. For American friends: we 3rd world r some 50 yrs behind u in MilTech, so just relax & have silent laugh at these things, but keep a close watch too.

  • l_veda

    the only danger this “fighter” give is to its own pilot, (assuming if it fly)…

  • Dfens

    I hope this isn’t true. Stealth aircraft have to cost hundreds of billions of dollars to design and have to cost hundreds of millions per airplane to build. Plus it takes at least 3 decades to design one. This is a threat to all that the US defense contractors have told us. It is a threat to the record profits Lockheed makes year after year!

  • Jayson

    Their intelligent engineers had their inspiration from Manga cartoons it appears.

    • UAVGeek

      No way, if they had their product would look much cooler.

      • crackedlenses

        And probably been that much less functional.

  • PolicyWonk

    Ya gotta love how it sits and spins on the turntable, though. It’s just like a display at a car show!

  • Brandon

    Is it just me or does the front look like some kind of hard plastic wrapped around a skeleton frame? Also, I don’t recall too many fighters being shown off with such a clean engine exhaust outlet and a butt plug installed. Yea and that glass is more like some really cheap plexiglass used for golf carts. I highly doubt it meets any civilian safety specs for flight not to mention military use.

  • Tom

    Is that Monkey going to Fly it?

  • GreenTeaLeaves


  • Keith

    Can anyone see a throttle in these pics?

  • Andre in L.A.

    Remember that Iranian aircraft would be operating over Iran, where fuel capacity and range are less of a concern than in strike aircraft coming from Tel Aviv.. A small, highly maneuverable aircraft, deployed in large numbers, could be devastating to stealth aircraft, vulnerable to detection from above. I actually met a Korean War ace, who said the tiny MIGs outmaneuvered the F-86’s badly (when the MIGs were flown by Russian vets). He earned all his kills by climbing high and diving on his prey. He said that if we had fought the Soviets in Europe, we would have been out of aircraft as soon as the airfields were all cratered by missile fire. The Soviets could operate theirs off of gravel roads. That said, this looks like a fiberglass model – it glistens like a ski boat with a fresh gel coat. Even if it flies, it takes years of practice to build up a functional air force , including personnel and infrastructure. That is why we slaughtered the MIGs in Korea, as soon as the Russian pilots departed.

  • Benjamin

    Maybe an experimental fighter, if it is an aircraft at all.

  • Eagle

    Ha ha ha.i think all of americans scared from iranian technology.ha ha ha.i know that if iran make the nuclear bomb or make kavoshgar5 you will fucked up.bastards if USA can do any thing against islamic republic of iran then come and challeng.all of your army are in hollywood and call of duty.and spoil your roten army.ha ha ha.

  • Stratgy

    Well….You develop two of these low radar signature plans that can carry a single non- nuke warhead. Then fly an Iranian midsized commercial plane from Iran with these two planes in formation on the commercial planes wing tips and it shows up like one larger plane. Fly from Iran and skirt the border between Turkey and Iraq, fly and land in Syria at night and refuel, continue on from Syria through Jordan at low altitude and then into Israel to Dimona nuclear power plant. Tit for tat. Israel wants to strike Iran’s Nuclear targets and Iran hits first. I doubt if Israel wouldneed to send 200 planes into Iran to bomb Nuclear sites, just what is needed. Just saying you don’t need a large number of aircraft for a surgical strike to be effective……Right or wrong.

  • Michael Church

    We laugh at the Iranians and call them stone age high tech wannabes, but look at what the Afghani taliban done to high tech professional militaries in Afghanistan..destroyed the economy of the USA and caused the greatest defeat the United States suffered since Vietnam.

    • Gus Roque

      What Greatest defeat are you reffering to?

  • Torpedo_Eight

    Kinda reminds me of those jets you could buy for GI Joe at ToysRUs where the GI Joe was half the size of the plane. Video of the ‘flight’ at 1:27 plane is maneuvering with its wheels down, so it’s probably an RC vid. This is one of those times when the people doing the spoofing aren’t even good enough to fake it well. At least show it moving under its own power. A lawn dart’s got more lift.

  • Bert Fletcher

    Looks pretty primitive to me!

  • BAJ

    Im no aerospace engineer, but those wings do not look to provide much lift. I do like that extension cord though; nice touch.

  • Rob C

    Did they actually say this thing flew? Without translation it seems like their showing mockup. Its rather small, does appear to lack alot basic modern equipment including room for life support and ejection seat. I could see them flying it as low end (dangerous to its pilot) jet If their that desperate. However, i think there alot problems this just propaganda piece with alot RC models flying around.

  • Jon Eod

    Guys lets not tell those f&$ckrs what we know is wrong with that piece of s:!t, they maybe reading the same thing we are and take it to their so called engineers to build off of it.

    • D.W.

      “The thing’s too small to hold its pilot, and you can’t even see through the canopy!”
      “Wait, WHAT? We need to build planes big enough to hold a person AND make the canopy see-through? Back to the drawing board!”

  • Marty

    Maybe this is a trainer?

  • J. Brown

    The video looks more like a Mirage fighter than anything else that I have seen that the Iranians might have in the air already.

  • fred b

    Just want to put this out there. The Iranians have about 50,000 centrifuges spinning as we speak trying to and probably making weapons grade material. So if you think this is phony that’s ok. Their leaders are their problem. The Iranian people are for the most part pro west. So even if this isn’t real they do have the capability if they decide to do it. They aren’t spinning those centrifuges for no reason. They fully intend to use that nuclear stuff at some point.

    • Will Leach
  • Stan

    This was probably done for local public consumption. They are not so stupid as to think anyone else would be fooled by this. And the design looks like fevered imaginings of a Russian aerodynamicists (although their fevered imaginings have done pretty well).

  • Big-Dean

    The Iranian don’t have to “do” afterburner on this jet because they have a setting for “LUDICROUS SPEED” ;-P

  • kia ora

    its a manned missle, probably able to be launched by a larger plane, possibly rail launched. it has only one function

  • FtD

    just give another excuse for DoD to have another coffee break meeting to laugh over the video

  • obliteron_nebula

    I saw one of these in 7th grade! It was in my buddies’ geography notebook.

  • Zspoiler

    It looks like a “bad” movie prop from a B grade movie. The intake are to small for one thing. The fit and finish are terrible. We could always as target on the bombing range

  • Perdo
  • Sgt Bob

    Paper or plastic?

  • hibeam

    Very cool. The worlds first inflatable fighter jet.

  • Dark Knight

    The Qaher F-313 competition for an F/A-22 Raptor or F-35 Lightening II!?!! You’re kidding right? Not even in the same league with the American made fighters.

  • Marshall

    It doesn’t look big enough to carry a slingg shot let alone a set of heat seekers!

  • kenneth

    got to love the fly by wire flight controls this thing has. NOT they couldnt even copy one of the best flight control systems in Aviation like the F-16 digital flight controls. This is a joke at best.

  • Henry

    If it’s an Iranian plane, why are the logos and engine cover in english?

  • duff

    Looks like it’s made of plastic, and glued together.

  • eddsup

    This from a country that could not even get there F14 fleet back in the air and remember back when they were going to give the World there new jet fighter that was going to be like the F15 this thing is just a pile of s”t

    • Roy Smith
  • guest

    Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said that the Qaher (Conqueror) F-313 project “carries the message of brotherhood, peace, and security and it doesn’t pose any threat to anyone.”
    i have to agree, how can a cardboard and fibreglass oversized toy be of any sort of threat?

  • Se1

    Enter text right here!As I have said in my other posts here, they (the IRGC general on the video in this article literally tell you what it is supposed to be). A model of it actually has flown already. The Russians have already shown a video of this in their broadcasts. This is in all likelihood a wing in ground aircraft. This makes sense. They see the US fleet/bases both as a threat and a lucrative target all these have to do is to penetrate the multi layered defenses of the fleet to hit the ships or to take out the US halos/base. Now the Iranians are low level flying experts and their country is very mountainous (with mountains higher than the Alps/the Rockies). A small ultra low flying aircraft moving at 300/400 mph with stealth capabilities and carrying just one or two missile and operating within the cul-de-sac of the Persian gulf, needs very little range to reach all its targets (the US/Saudi/UAE fleets bases and oil installations) with relative ease and take them out without much difficulty.

  • Se1

    Enter text right hereTheir loses may be high, but they could absorb these losses. The corresponding losses to the US and its allies would not be absorbable. Also Iran’s last two combat aircrafts (which it fully manufactured based on reversed engineered F5s) were as much a step towards developing their technology as for their place in their defence arsenal. The real aircraft looks a bit different to the model they brought out for show. They always do that. Also if anyone doubts Iran’s capability to get close to the US fleet, just check out their 30 minute video of one of their drones shadowing and filming a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
    On a separate matter, they Iranians did bring several US made drones down by hacking them and they managed to darken NATO satellites on two occasions at least.
    In general the Iranians always exaggerate their capabilities and the west always underestimates their capabilities.

  • Steve

    The thickness of the wings, etc, makes me think it is an inflatable with the air pump line coming from the wall. Would be a cool beach toy if it were…

  • daivid
  • Infidel4LIFE


  • Roy Smith
  • Scooter Van Neuter

    Iran offers proof jet is real:

  • Anthony

    That air craft is just about as stupid as that little monkey of a president, they have in Iran.Israel is lol!

  • Joey

    I like the fact that the cockpit has a cassette deck with AM radio on the top of the dash. Who knows when your doing Mach 2 you might want to hear Cat Stevens, I mean Joseph Islam.

  • Rob

    This aircraft cannot have much range. By judging the size of the cockpit there is not much room for fuel in this design. Future concept craft nothing more.

  • Sean Dione

    Well, here is my take on this, assumming that this is a legitimate aircraft in the first place (and that is a stretch) I would assume that the weapon(s)……..bomb(s) are encorporated in the structure and given the muslim tendency to blow themselves up in order to get more virgins in the afterlife, I will venture to guess that this is the muslim version of the suicide aircraft. I mean thnk about it: small, cheap, claimed to be stealthy to keep skeptics skeptical, and the promise of paradise for the pilot for a one-way mission.

  • Roland

    It doesn’t look it can fly. Although I may be wrong. It could be a real RC jet.

  • Carl

    An Iranian scientist told me they were going to land on the Sun. I replied, “Unh, unh, its too hot!’ His response was, “You Westerner’s aren’t very smart. We are going to land after dark!”

  • Shandy
  • johnvarry

    It has taken Iran years just to get the Saeqeh into service at squadron strength and several have crashed already. The Saeqeh is basically the F-5 design enlarged to take bigger more powerful engines and twin canted tail fins to improve high angle of attack maneuvers. Northrop studied similar F-5 improvements as the P530/P600 Cobra in 1966.

    Going on Irans difficulties getting the Saeqeh operational IMHO it is possible if unlikely that they have produced a indigenous aircraft design prototype.

    Getting the Qaher into service in any numbers will be a whole different story.

    Iran has stated that the aircraft seen flying were two scale models. One was prop driven the other was jet driven. The models were flown to test the aerodynamics and flight worthiness of the design. The actual full size aircraft has not flown yet and is expected to begin flight testing later this year.

  • Twobirdsflyingpub

    How is it even generating lift?

  • Roland

    This could be the mother of all rc jets….hmm..

  • AERO

    totally bogus “aircraft”. Wing thickness prohibits supersonic. Inlets too small for an engine of any real modern value and blanked above about 20 degrees AoA. No exhaust nozzle. No IR signature reduction. The “coatings” reflect visible spectrum so I dont see them eating up radar waves. 70’s era facet based “stealth technology”. It doesnt even have any brakes! how did it get up on that platform without a crane? Maybe b/c its fiberglass. You can even see the fiberglass in the cockpit shots. Plexiglass canopy is heavily distorted. The canopy is just held open with a red metal rod. No doors for internal stores and no hard points for external stores. Those goofy anhedral winglets smack of yaw instability as well as an induced drag nightmare. The flaps are like almost nonexistent and the “canard” is huge and directly in front of the “wing” which would play havoc with the airflow over said wing. Trying to look like you know what you are doing when you have no idea what you are doing is really obvious. I assure you US DoD contractors are laughing their asses off at this one.

  • Jo the Nipper

    Wasn’t 313 the licence plate number of Donald Duck? – quit suitable…

  • RyanD

    Truly something to fear. The crappy video quality, that is. I d be majorly surprised if this pile of stinko can actually roll out the hanger under its own power. Iran is a joke, the Chinese stealths are the ones to actually fear. They have the cash (trillions) to actual build something not half-bad and then what will they do with it ? Thats the bigger question.

  • Papi1960R
  • Papi1960R

    My other thought was that I built a very similar model out of spare Testor model kit parts in 1970. And yes I was a Sting Ray, Fireball XR5 and Thunderbirds fan as a boy in England.
    I do wonder how far these Iranian “engineers” with 12 years and $18 Billion dollars?
    Without Lockmart leading the way I bet they might have a real problem free F-35 by now.

  • PSHoover

    Lets send Clint Eastwood, I mean, Colonel Mitchell Gant to go in there and steal it!!!

  • SSGAccola

    Where do you put the batteries?

  • Arachnoid
  • Woody

    Psshh….a 15 year old F-15 would knock that POS outta the sky in 30 seconds

  • Munsif

    It’s true I’m commenting 10 months after the fact, but China has announced it built the same aircraft. Won’t you think they’re working in cahoots!