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Check out the video below showing the wreckage of an Iranian F-5 Freedom Fighter that apparently crashed during the massive exercises the middle Eastern country is holding to coincide with the opening (after more than 30 years of trying) of the Bushehr nuclear plant — the Middle East’s first commercial reactor. This comes as the Tehran announced that its latest fighter, the F-5-based Saeqeh has become operational at the squadron level.

No word on the fate of the poor pilot who is seen being pulled from the wreckage while still strapped to his ejection seat. Click through the jump for the video.

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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.

So, Tehran is showing off yet another cruise missile (as it seems to do every few months). This latest weapon, dubbed the Ghader, is apparently designed to destroy warships sailing up to 124 miles off the nation’s coastline.

Now if the missile actually works, it will be able to take out targets anywhere in the Persian Gulf or Gulf of Oman. However, while Tehran’s got a bunch of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, it will be interesting to see if the Iranian’s have mastered the guidance and targeting systems needed to strike a moving target. Iran frequently unveils new tech that are nothing more that parade pieces. Furthermore, all the U.S. needs to do is park its ships beyond the reach this and Tehran’s other new “carrier killer” missile with a 185-mile range.  I mean, Tomahawks and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets launched from 400 to 1,000 miles offshore could easily strike Iran’s missile batteries if the Iranian military ever tried to close down the Persian Gulf. So while the missiles pose a limited threat to the region, they could be put out of action by the U.S.  Navy (or Air Force for that matter). Sorry Iran, you haven’t yet mastered area denial in the same way that China is.

Still, check out this interesting post over at DoDBuzz that lists what might actually be a bigger area denial threat to U.S. ships in the Gulf, albeit less glamorous one, than cruise missiles; Iranian sea mines.

From the AP:

Iran’s president claimed on Tuesday the country’s military can cripple enemies on their own ground as Tehran put a new Iranian-made cruise missile on display, the latest addition to the nation’s growing arsenal.

The state TV reported that the new missile, showcased at a ceremony in Tehran, is designed for sea-based targets, with a range of 124 miles (200 kilometers) and is capable of destroying a warship. The TV said it can travel at low altitudes and has a lighter weight and smaller dimensions.

“The best deterrence is that the enemy does not dare to invade,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during the ceremony. As he spoke, the TV showed footage of the weapon, dubbed “Ghader,” or “Capable” in Farsi.

By Kevin Coleman — Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent

In case you haven’t see the news yet, Iran is mouthing off and talking tough – issuing warnings to the United States and Israel.  If American or Israeli cyber spies attempt to wage an online campaign against Iran, the country’s state and intelligence agencies would combat any operations with their own “very strong” cyber defense capabilities, according to a piece by Iran’s state news agency. Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash, a member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy said, “In the cyber war, we (Iran) will definitely be the winner.”

Last year, Iran began recruiting cyber subject matter experts for a new initiative to enhance cyber defenses and build world class offensive cyber capabilities. Multiple Iranian government and military sources have claimed they are making considerable progress. Iran has made their efforts very public ; to send a message to the United States and Israel  that Iran won’t be humiliated again with another cyber attack like Stuxnet — that worm is thought to have infected 30,000 Iranian IP addresses (mostly government).

Is this rhetoric or for real? Theoretically, in this short period of time Iran could have not only improved its defenses by applying missing patches or even isolating sensitive systems from the Internet along with many other defensive measures. It is difficult to believe Iran has conducted the research and intelligence gathering necessary to develop advanced cyber weapons from scratch, but it could have acquired/purchased an offensive cyber weapons from multiple sources.

Is Tehran actually thinking about declaring a cyber war with the United States and Israel? Time will tell, but clearly it has ratcheted up the cyber war of words.

So Iran is claiming to have downed a U.S. spy drone that was collecting intel on an undergound uranium enrichment site located next to an Iranian military base.

From AFP:

Lawmaker Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari said the drone was flying over the Fordo uranium enrichment site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran, the state TV-run Youth Journalists Club said.

The report did not say when the plane was shot down.

Now, Iran has claimed to have shot down U.S. drones several times in the past. Heck, they apparently show the wreckage to Russia.

Let’s play the guessing game:

Who thinks this latest robo-casualty was a Global Hawk?

Who thinks it was a stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel (if this is the case, how was it downed)?

Who thinks Iran’s making this up?

Tehran, if you’re listening, show us some footage of the wreckage that proves you downed an American drone. Until then, I’ll be skeptical.