New photos emerged Saturday of a new prototype of Iran’s stealth fighter jet, previous models of which were mocked by aviation experts who predicted it “would never fly.”
The updated version of Qaher F-313 stealth fighter jet was unveiled during an exhibition for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, The Aviationist editor David Cenciotti reported. The exhibition showcased the achievements made by Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan within the last two years.
The prototype had the same shape as its 2013 predecessor but featured multiple changes, including a bigger cockpit, non-plexiglass canopy, dual exhaust nozzles, dorsal antenna and FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) turret installed to the nose of the fighter jet.
The F-313 was first unveiled in February 2013, though it was criticized for being too small. The cockpit couldn’t accommodate a “normal-sized” pilot and the wings weren’t big enough to get it up in the air, according to The Aviationist.
The original version also had a slew of technical errors. The engine was not properly built, putting the back of the aircraft at risk of melting from heat. The craft’s air intakes seemed too small, the blog said.
Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s defense minister at the time, said Iranian aerospace experts designed the jet to fly at a low altitude, carry weapons and land on short runways, according to DailyMail.com.
Iranian news site Khouz News did publish photos of F-313 appearing to fly over mountains in 2013, but was accused of photoshopping the image, DailyMail.com reported.
It’s still unclear if the new prototype would be able to fly. The jet conducted taxi tests on Saturday during the exhibition.
Recent statements released said that the F-313 fighter jet will be “a light close air support aircraft,” The Aviationist reported.