By Bijan Razzaghi
In early 2013 Iran unveiled the Qaher 313 which was a mock up of a stealth fighter design. A newer version that looks like a prototype was then videoed doing taxi trials. The aircraft features low observable design features similar to an F-35 or F-22 as well as frontal canards which offer improved maneuverability and higher angels of attack. The aircraft originally unveiled in 2013 had a single engine and lacked a cockpit that can fit a pilot and an ejection seat.
This latest prototype though is larger in size and has twin engines. The engine’s appear to be General Electric J-85s which are used on the F-5E Tiger II an aircraft used by Iran’s air force and one that has been extensively used by Iranian Engineers to experiment different indigenous systems and previously modified a number of their F-5s with twin vertical stabilizers and designated them Seqahs. Iranian military official’s claim the aircraft can be armed with 6 PL-12 air to air missiles which are Chinese radar guided missiles and two unknown types of 2000 Ib bombs. A FLIR pod can also be seen under the nose.
It is to early to know what the F-313 is, it could be an effort for Iran to build a light short range fighter aircraft for point defense, or a propaganda stunt to show self reliance in the defense industry. It is very possible that it is a highly modified F-5 with the F-5s engines and avionics and ingeniously produced material’s for the wings, fuselage and tail section. If this is correct the aircrafts capabilities will likely be limited and be under powered with a low maximum speed possibly around Mach 1.5 depending on the final aircrafts weight. Another possibility is the aircraft is a technology demonstrator that is exploring the possibilities of a future production aircraft that might be larger. Until the aircraft flies it is hard to determine if it is real or not. Iran has been able to produce many types of drones which it has sold to Syria and Sudan, as well as armored vehicles, light vehicles and missiles. Despite this it is very difficult to produce fighter aircraft without foreign help even China with the 3rd largest economy and India with the 5th largest economy depend heavily on Russia for assistance in production of military aircraft as well as European countries. Producing jet engines for fighter aircraft is a daunting task only a few countries have been able to do independently.