- Iran unveiled its homemade Qaher-313 stealth fighter jet last week
- Experts spotted design flaws and expressed doubts about the aircraft
- Suspect pictures of the jet in flight thought to be fake
Iran’s freshly unveiled fighter jet has already been derided by aviation experts who likened the plane to a mock-up model and expressed serious doubts over whether it could actually fly.
And a new picture of the domestically produced Qaher-313 apparently soaring over Iranian mountains has done little to curb scepticism, amid claims the plane never actually left the ground but was simply superimposed over the snow-capped peaks using Photoshop.
Iran, which unveiled the stealth fighter jet at a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Admadinejad earlier this month, claims its aircraft is capable of evading radar, carrying weapons and flying at low altitude.
Doctored? The picture on an Iranian news site shows the jet apparently soaring over snowy mountains
Similarities: This picture of the fighter jet at its unveiling is virtually identical to the so-called action shot of the aircraft in flight
But when the picture of the jet supposedly in flight was published on the Khouz News website, eagle-eyed Iranians quickly pointed out the similarities between the image and a picture of the aircraft taken at the official unveiling in Tehran on February 2, according to a France 24 report.
The two pictures of the plane are identical save for the backdrop, with the Tehran aircraft hangar replaced by Iran’s Mount Damavand in the so-called action shot of the Qaher-313.
Photoshop: Eagle-eyed observers claim the Iranian jet was superimposed upon a generic picture of Mount Damavand
Aviation experts who examined photographs of Iran’s jet at its unveiling drew comparisons with a miniature plane.
David Cenciotti, of The Aviationist blog, said the jet appeared to be ‘nothing more than a large mock-up model’ and that the ‘basic’ cockpit would struggle to even accommodate a pilot.
Ceremony: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was present at the unveiling of the Qahar-313 in Tehran earlier this month
His views were echoed by experts from aviation magazine Flight International, who said they suspected poor-quality footage released by Iran of the aircraft in flight was in fact of a remote-controlled plane fashioned to resemble the Qaher-313.
The president of the Islamic republic insisted at the unveiling that the Qaher-313 reflected Iran’s will to ‘conquer scientific peaks’.
Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the jet had been designed and built by Iranian aerospace experts and was capable of flying at low altitude, carrying weapons, engaging enemy aircraft and landing at short airstrips.
Defiant: Iran claims its domestically manufactured jet boasts state-of-the-art technology and can evade radar
It is one of several military designs rolled out by Iran’s military since 2007.
Tehran has repeatedly claimed to have developed advanced military technologies in recent years but its claims cannot be independently verified because the country does not release technical details of its arsenals.
The Islamic republic launched a self-sufficiency military program in the 1980s to compensate for a Western weapons embargo that banned export of military technology and equipment to Iran.
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