Warplanes: Iranian Azarakhsh Triumphs Again

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August 7, 2007: Iran announced another successful test of its locally made Azarakhsh jet fighter. This aircraft is basically a variant of the U.S. F-5, which Iran has operated since 1974. The use of the F-5 as the basis for the Azarakhsh is understandable. It is probably the simplest aircraft in Iranian service, and lends itself to easy reverse engineering. The Azarakhsh is about ten percent larger than the F-5, and contains Iranian and Russian made electronics. The 16 ton aircraft can carry about four tons of bombs and missiles.

Iran began working on the Azarakhsh ten years ago, and has built about ten so far. The aircraft performs mainly as a propaganda vehicle. Thus every successful flight is hailed as a major achievement for the Iranian defense industry.

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