Home » Air » Air-to-Air Combat » Iran’s F-5 Knockoff Fighter Now At Squadron Strength

Iran’s F-5 Knockoff Fighter Now At Squadron Strength

by John Reed on September 12, 2011

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.

Share |

{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben September 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Don't take this the wrong way, but I can't wait till somebody knocks Iran's teeth out. They go around touting how advanced and well-equipped they are, but everyone knows when push comes to shove, it'll be like shooting fish in a barrel.


@Cr4shDummy September 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I really want Israel to launch an expedition into Iran and project their power, just to put them in their place.

I don't think it would be a long, protracted war either.

Iran's been a nuisance for too long.


Barry July 6, 2014 at 9:08 am

The fact that they are able to make anything is significant. They do talk a lot, and you are right. They are merely grand standing right now. But make no mistake, as they develop, they will become more and more dangerous. That poses several problems. First, regardless of the “peace” projections, Islam is a religion developed by warring Arab tribes, whose primary means of sustenance was to loot others. Islam is a religion of war and submission, not peace. In fact that’s what Islam translate to. To submit. The other problem of course is oil. Since we are so petroleum dependent, strength in oil producing countries means embargoes and other acts of economic terrorism that will impact our lives in the west. That’s the reason why Carter removed shah and put the islamic republic in his place. The trade off was this runaway train that we can’t stop now. We should stop them, but doing so by force will have serious international impacts on us. It’s an interesting problem.


Steven R. September 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm

What a Statement haha. There is no way that this thing is just as good as a hornet or even a super hornet for that lol.


GySgt Salt USMC Ret, September 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Or even an "Old F8 Crusader Rabbit" Semper Fi


Joshua September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

That gave me a great laugh.


Dobbs September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I take it that the blue angels paint scheme is what gives the planes the performance of an F-18? Hilarious.


Cthel September 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Not just the paint-job – the twin vertical tails are just as important


jake September 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm

If they paint flames on it, it'll go an extra 15% faster and the pilots will be show quality pilots with real skillz.


jhm September 13, 2011 at 12:05 am

and if u put a grinning shark mouth, itll send others packing ahahahah


sdog September 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

almost as good as the wooden assault boats they said could threaten our carrier groups


Stan September 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

There are obviously very few pilots that post here.

I would take a good pilot flying one of these planes than an average joe flying a Hornet. The better pilot will always come out ahead. Fact.


Joe Schmoe September 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Then you wouldn't mind some Joe flying the F-22 and the best pilot in the world flying an F-86; because you know, it's all about the pilots and fair.



Ben September 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Good thing we have the best pilots in the world then. And I can't say for sure, but I'm betting Iran's aren't nearly as well trained or as competent. Better pilots + better planes beats bad planes + average pilots, peroid.


Joshua September 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

Funny to te poster above. We have the superiOr aircraft and pilit’s!


Booger May 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

But you have inferior spelling, dumbass…


M167a1 September 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

While I understand the point, you overstate the hand belonging to the pilot of the Saeqeh. Von Richthofen himself would be in a bind in an F-18 vs Saeqeh engagement.

The F-18 would see it first, be able to launch missiles first and have a better chance of a hit. quite possibly before even an ace Saeqeh pilot knew anything other than he had been acquired. Given and F-18E with AESA radar he might not know anything until a missile goes active for its terminal approach.

All this assumes the F-18 operates alone and without AWACS support. I would not want to be a Saeqeh pilot in this type of fight. Cleverly employed they might bag a few of our guys under ideal circumstances, but the exchange rate would be similar to baby seals vs polar bears.


jumper September 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

This post was as entertaining as the article…

Sorry, the best pilot in the world can't make an obsolete light-fighter go toe-to-toe with new 4th and 5th gen fighters in service. Fact.


Mastro September 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

Yeah I think that old saw can be placed in cliche land.

I heard it was still valid back in the Eighties when Reserve F-4 pilots- often Vietnam vets- would wax newbies in their F15's- but those were dogfight engagements where piloting skills count for a lot.

I think a competent, if average pilot in a 5th, 4.5 gen can launch an AMRAAM, and accelerate away from an F5 any day of the week.


blight September 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm

It's possible that in the minds of pilots, the F-4 acquired a terrible reputation because of Vietnam's rules of engagement and inferior missiles. And once the missiles got better for the Phantom and the ROE changed: they "looked better"…


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

especially in israeli hands

blight September 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

There's a lot to be said about the technological advantage trumping the more skilled recruit. After Meiji, the firearm trained, en masse conscript army (with some samurai backing) destroyed the career samurai force. Knightly cavalry disappeared when appropriate technology appeared, and the cavalry charge disappeared against the machine gun.


raimac March 17, 2014 at 4:46 am

Aggressor Squadron of Top Gun, flying F5Es go toe-to-toe with the Navy's most modern fighters, and routinely trash them.


@Earlydawn September 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

Iran doesn't have the Hornet nor the best pilots in the world, so I don't follow your point.


Booger May 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

Because there are loads of average Joe's flying hornets….. And Iran has the best pilot training anywhere… I hear their pilots go to an elite flight traing school called Kebab Gun…


Rusty May 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

I trained with Iranians in the 60's. Based on their expertise at the time, I very seriously doubt they have even a handful of pilots that come close to our average pilots.


R_S_M May 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

The 60's?
Do you think those Pilot's you assessed are still flying?


Nick March 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

I agree….I would never go against Jesus in a Fokker D7 even if I was in a F35….but whats was your originally meaningful point?


Lewis Doppeldecker January 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Along the lines of "Go forth and disintegrate"? ;)


@7thwave September 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm

All these comments on here are short sighted and foolish…especially when our forces may or may not come up against anything like these in numbers in the foreseeable future. See, laughable as it may seem, it can take just one shot from these sub-USA standard aircraft to knock down a F35 or F18E…..if the pilot was lucky enough to get one off. Or how bout this….a wooden hulled speed boat fitted with a torpedo, rockets, or explosives sinking ships 10x bigger than its size? (PT Boats anyone?) See, no matter how arcane an adversaries technology is, it can destroy our technology 10 fold…and technology is our Achilles heel,seeing this from the way we depend on it to fight wars we are losing now, today.


Ben September 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Sure, we may take some losses, that's war. But I can guarantee you it'll be NOTHING compared to the losses we inflict on them if we ever came into conflict. We don't go in guns blazing without knowing our enemy and how to combat him, not when it's a uniformed army.


TLAM Strike September 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

"Or how bout this….a wooden hulled speed boat fitted with a torpedo, rockets, or explosives sinking ships 10x bigger than its size? (PT Boats anyone?)"

You do know that in the whole history of the PT boat only once has it sunk a capital ship? The SMS Szent Istvan in WWI. Not exactly a shining example of low end vs high end!


Mastro September 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

Beat me to it- although I certainly can't remember the Szent Istvan.

PT boats were "sexy" for 1910- all the navy wonks were writing purple prose about them. If there had been internet boards- the thing would have crashed for all the BS.

Funny how a decent destroyer escort put an end to them.


blight September 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

You're thinking of jeune ecole ("young school"), where torpedo boats would put an end to the capital ship arms race.

If they had acoustically guided long lances in 1910, then…


TLAM Strike September 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

“If they had acoustically guided long lances in 1910, then…”

Like the Komars and the N-2 ASM? One or two small victories then totally useless against larger ships with better defenses.

Brian September 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I'm sure our missiles are cheaper to build then these planes, so there is no quantity vs quality issue


B Rad September 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

lol, all the technology. But you have to remember, behind the tech, pushing the buttons and pulling the triggers is a sole warfighter, concentrating on his objective with pride. No some dupped up gamer trying to get a fix and only beliving what his puter' tells him….


TLAM Strike September 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

That's why the US is building a generation of fully automated weapons platforms. No warfighter to err or choke or chicken out in the middle of battle, just cold calculating algorithms that care for nothing but for the destruction of our enemy.

I think it was Lothar-Günther Buchheim who said that "people fill the gaps in a machine left by engineers."

The gooey center of the weapon system is the weakness not the crunchy candy shell.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 3:44 am

Except that the air bases these things fly from would be pock marked with craters and the hangars they are parked in smoldering ruins.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Your view of an air campaign against Iran sounds like an Xbox game, not how it would actually be waged. In point of fact most Iranian aircraft will be destroyed on the ground in their hangars before the Iranians even know what is going on. There won't be some grand air to air battle in the skies. Honestly air to air combat has never really decided anything in war.


Ron September 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I remember during Vietnam, a cousin told me that the Viet Cong rigged a truck spring in the fork of a tree and fired a 6-foot wooden arrow into the side of a Huey and brought it down. So much for technology in "backward" parts of the world.


crackedlenses September 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

How on earth did they get the Huey in question to sit still long enough to do that? Do you know how hard it is to hit a moving target in the air with anything unguided on the ground? Sounds like a cheesy Nav'i trick to me……


Mark Pyruz September 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

You're reading too much into that Fars article. What they're really saying is that the Saegeh is participating in the ongoing air exercise, nothing more. (Their English isn't that good, particularly in uses of military terminology.)

Previously, I think a couple of years ago, they claimed the Saegeh was operational at "squadron strength"; for them being about six aircraft.

Personally, until I see one of these modified F-5s in paintwork other than Blue Angel copycat, I classify them as demonstration aircraft.

-Mark Pyruz


Joe Schmoe September 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I loved how Iran also toted these F-5 knockoffs as "Stealth Fighters".


Wain September 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

By flying into the sand!


Han Solo September 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I like the F5, very nimble, easy to fly.

We should have used more of them as close air support role.


rdl014 September 14, 2011 at 12:26 am

No underwing hardpoints to mount MERs and TERs to hang ordnance. No internal guns. I do not know how they could provide close air support


SteelRain November 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I admit I do vloe the real F-5 especially the F-20 Tigershark. But as far as for clsoe-support, i will take the tried and true A-10 hands down anytime. Even the U.S. Air Force isn't that stupid.


MCQknight September 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Yeah, comparing it to the F/A-18 is a joke. It might (emphasis on might) have performance charachteristics similiar to the Northrop YF-17, which was developed from the F-5 and went on to serve as the basis for the larger F/A-18A, but being able to almost match a mid-70's American jet fighter prototype isn't exactly impressive.


@7thwave September 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Was not comparing the F35 or F18 to the Iranian aircraft. How ever, even our touted technological superiority, and better trained pilots are still able to be shot down by some country flying arcane technology like this Iran made F5 knock off. And like I said, that is where our problem lies…we think that our armed forces are the best trained, and best equipped….and those who do must be smoking crack. All it takes is one dedicated person with the will,and the best becomes cannon fodder.


Auyong Ah Meng September 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I wonder what's the optimum operational capabilities and strengths/weakness of this particular bird?

The nose cone looks small…wonder what kind of rader it is packing.

Finally, i wonder is it an effective fighting night bird too.

A bit retro 70s/80s these iranian birds are though. No disrepect here from me for all other retro birds cos they rock.


Lois September 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I guess that's why the Aussies need F-35s then. :) (J/K)


Mark September 13, 2011 at 12:08 am

Northrup came out with the F-20 Tigershark hotrodded version of this aircraft. I believe it had the F100 in single engine configuration. I had a hugely upgraded avionics system and longer range. The people it was designed and built for wanted the F-15 et al and viewed the F-20 as an insult. As memory serves, this plane gave everyone a run for their money even without an experienced Experten at the stick. If an experienced F-5E driver at Red Flag/Top Gun could rip the visiting students in their megabillion kill em all jets a new one, what would they have done with 2X the power and all the other upgrades. Too bad, half the engines, half the maintenance, super high thrust to weight, just didnt have the F-14D, F15C, FA18c/e and F16 publicity.


Nadnerbus September 13, 2011 at 2:54 am

Yeah the F-20 impressed me, it was just a plane with no buyers. If it had the same kind of support and upgrade system as in-service US fighters, I think it could have been nearly up to the level of the F-16. Everyone wanted the cool toys that the US used though, not Nothrop export hand-me-downs.


William C. September 13, 2011 at 4:12 am

The USN and USMC are still flying F-5Es?

The F-16 was certainly a better choice for the front-line fighter the USAF needed, but the Navy should have really gotten some F-20s instead of the short-lived F-16Ns they bought.


Riceball September 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

They were during the 80's as aggressors at Top Gun, don't know about now.


Dave September 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

Jimmy Carter insisted that the F20 was only for export to Third World countries and that it was not as good as the F-16 or F-15. If fact the fly off between the F-20 and the F-16 showed the F-20 superior in all areas. The USAF doesn't like to talk about that fly off.


Nadnerbus September 13, 2011 at 2:57 am

Anyone here know how many F-5/20 type airframes are still in service with the US air arms? I was up in the woods in Sierra County (north of Tahoe) today and saw a couple of birds fly over in loose formation, that I suppose could have been F-16s but the silhouette looked too long.


PacificSentinel September 13, 2011 at 3:16 am

Don’t forget the “Northrop T-38 Talon”, it’s still the USAs primary trainer.


Mastro September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

Didn't we buy about 50 Swiss F5's a few years back? I think the Marines fly them.


blight September 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

From (http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1050&ct=1):

"…The F-5N/Fs are third-generation F-5 fighter aircraft designed for replacement of the F-5A/B/E production models. These aging aircraft will be replaced by low-houred F-5N/F acquired from the Swiss Air Force surplus by United States Navy (USN).

Currently, the Swiss F-5N Replacement Program replaces the present high-time Navy F-5Es with low-time F-5Ns allowing the USN/USMC to operate the F-5N aircraft to Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The Phase Depot Maintenance (PDM) required modifications to USN configuration provides a safer, lower-flight time Adversary aircraft with increased capability for Department of Navy (DoN) pilots. These aircraft are assigned to Government facilities, namely, NAS Key West, Florida, MCAS Yuma, Arizona, and NAS Fallon, Nevada."


William C. September 13, 2011 at 4:05 am

This thing couldn't hope to match the F-20 Tigershark, let alone any variant of the F/A-18 family.


Enrico September 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

I think that most people are forgetting one thing: Americans and Russians developed ICBM starting from the German V2, just being capable of copying someone’s technology is a first step; Iran recently announced that they can manufacture carbon fibers (http://en.rian.ru/world/20110827/166230931.html), overall their military technology is improving with little external help.

Actually I’d like to know which avionics (especially radar) this aircraft is using, does anyone know something about it?


blight September 13, 2011 at 7:39 am

Likely local tech, using what was top-notch pre-Revolution in the Iranian military as a starting point. The Shah was attempting to modernize his country, and probably was in the process of buying foreign machinery a la Meiji Restoration (a mission that likely continued through the Revolution, Iraq-Iran war and GW1). The US spent a lot of effort trying to deter F-14 parts purchases, which in turn shows the Iranians had a large procurement network out there buying "useful" machinery and technology.

Against a local power without a fully integrated military they might do a little better than we think. Against the present Iraqi military they are likely to do pretty well. Their military is better equipped than the martyr brigades of old, and the Iraqi military no longer is as fully mechanized with full stocks of chemical weapons. It might be interesting to see if the air situation would reverse itself in any new Iraq-Iran war, as the Iranians had air superiority back then…and now the Iraqi Air Force is smaller, but might be eventually equipped along American lines with export-grade technology.

Kind of doubt Iran will openly provoke the United States into an invasion, but Saddam was playing a bluff game, sponsored no Al Qaeda activity in the '90s and still paid for it. When the right administration is in place they will bend heaven, earth and truth to destroy ideological enemies.


Roger4129 February 3, 2013 at 3:02 am

I say happy hunting to any country that can out smart the Zionist running are country including the President lets forget get the bull shit and hear the fact we lost over $350 billion of research and 20 years of development in the RQ-170 the Iranian got it by taping are satellite and now have three to four back doors to get back in into are G.P.S system just like we looked at the end of the second world war and did not know what a jet aircraft looked like you will piss in your pants in the next generation of future aircraft coming out of Iran and by the way I love my country America but am not stupid and if you saw the underground factories under the mountain you will even if the war with Iran last 50 years we will lose and the winners will be China and Russia as eastern America die from duty Radio active bombs and yes as we drop atomic bombs on Iran, and kill 20 to 40 million people the hole Middle east will also be dead to the world as for me at age 74 I pray to God we dont get suck into war because that will be a win for Russia and China


pacifico September 13, 2011 at 6:15 am

Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) and Azarakhsh (Lightening), so let's add a little rock and roll and all sing along …Thunderbolt and lightning – very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro – magnifico


Jsmith September 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

It may as well have a second wing, trying to use that antique as a fighter in the 21st century.


JSCS September 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

F-5 carried (2) M39 20mm gun sets. Do they have something similar tucked in the nose?


blight September 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

Sounds like a response to the sins of the Phantom, or as a concession to less-than-perfect missiles of the day.

Would the 20mm even come into play in the modern environment? It's not like the F-5s are good loiter and strafe platforms…?


TLAM Strike September 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The Saeqeh also has twin 20mm Cannons in its nose:


roland September 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

Looks like a modified F-5.


Benjamin September 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

Does anyone know how it's performance differs from an F-5? Slower? Faster?


Zap September 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Better low speed handling , take-off and landing , that's what the twin tale is for


lizzieb_23 September 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

Ummm…arrogant much? This is their ENTRY into the field. And, the laws of physics haven't changed in the last 50 years. Sure these planes won't compete with the latest and best that we have – but then again, they're spending less than 1/100th of our military budget too.


Joe Schmoe September 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Ummm.. revisionist much?

In their own announcements they claimed that this would more than match any American/Israeli threat and is stealth.


Guest September 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Please. South Korea's ENTRY in the "field" (I guess you mean fighter jets?), the FA-50 Golden Eagle, could give this Iranian POS a good spanking any day.


Carl G. May 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

And they get what they pay for. They are substituting Nukes for a modern air force. Cheaper, but not realistic, as the west found out to its pain in the 60s-80s. They are targets.


Nick February 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Guys, remember who we are talking about here. Iran isn't exactly a modern western power. Look at what happened to Iraq in the first half of the gulf war. Largest army in the middle east, modern equipment, An airforce that had relatively new migs and they lasted a whole 100 hours. Now things have changed for sure, but I'd put my money on an F 18 anyday against one of these flying bullseyes. Regardless of weapons and sensors they might carry.


parsa March 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm



Spaceman Spiff September 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hey lizzie, since you obviously love the iranian nutjobs so much, why dont you move there? That way, you can pilot one of those swarms against our obviously inferior Navy as you so elequently put it… Or you can join the non-Iranian backed hez cowards… See how far that gets you… what an idiot…


Michael September 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Was Lizzieb_23's post edited or something? Because I don't see any comments from her about a love for Iran, or anything about our Navy's incompetence.


JimBo September 14, 2011 at 1:15 am

I love one some arse makes the comment "why dont you move there"…… ITs free speech your arse…….. get it?


killo September 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm

iran just gives our air force more targets to shoot at lol.


Jayson September 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I agree it's almost on par with an F 18 … in looks only at certain angles … and and some creative imagination.


drball September 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I think that the new (old) fighter is a very creditable threat that should not be ignored. Why, because this fighter will be exported to any country that can afford them. Remember the U.S . Navy bought a few Swiss Airforce F-5's and had them compleatly rebuilt….At a a cost of 6 Million per aircraft….Also with the new vert design might fix a long standing problem with the F-5 the horizantal stabs have a very low service life due to cracking of which could be due to the old design and air flow issues like the resaon the F-18 C/D has a LEX spolier and the F/A-17 did not…


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm

yeah, bought the f5s for what? exactly man, not for front line service. oooh, i fear this plane so much now. NOT!!!


George September 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Well since they are in the copying business they might as well be copying the Phantom. This thing is close to useless. They don't have the package to make it a viable air-to-air platform and it can't carry the payload for air-to-ground. They'd be much better off with a Skyraider knock-off for air-to-ground but then again these are the Iranians – they are in love with showing-off and now they have their own pet jet!


John Moore September 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

one day Iran will open their mouth one time too many and someone is going to close it for good. I don't think the US will do it, but the country that has the six pointed star may be the one to do it.


Lance September 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The F-5 is a good dog-fighter the Navy still uses them for aggressors at NAS Oceania. Can it drop bombs and dogfight a F-16 sure it can. But taking on a F-15 or F-22 it stands no chance.


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm

WELL not the bombing part. payload is a bit too low


CEP September 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Yep, of course we can't underestimate any enemy….You can bet if they get to far along with their nuclear and other options, or send any of their IED's into that country, ISREAL will do another "pre emptive strike…flying F 35's probably ( or French Dassaults!) You may "count on it!"…Meanwhile, American made electronic components ( from our greedy, unpatriotic, mutinational corporations).. are being sold, knowingly to Iranian "front companies" and "appearing in IED's in Afghanistan and Iraq! Just like the technology that enabled the Soviets to make MIRV ( multi warhead) ICBM's…you can bet the Iranians and Russians know how to "deal" with traitors!


Karl September 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Remember-the U.S. underestimated the abilities of Japan and got their butts kicked for a while (and that was before the atom bomb)! Overconfidence and arrogance has felled many a champion, and currently, the U.S. is teetering on shakey ground.


STemplar September 14, 2011 at 3:28 am

Somehow 11 carrier groups, and USN fleet HQ in the gulf, bombers on Diego Garcia constantly, and joint forces bases in Oman, and I don't think anyone is taking Iran lightly or low balling them with counter capabilities.


Belesari September 14, 2011 at 8:10 am

The IJN was massive and pretty modern in some ways more modern than the US. Comparing them to Iranians its very wrong. Whats more the Japanese had the Zero which was a far worse threat to american warplanes than the Iranians.


M167a1 September 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

True as far as it goes.

The Japan analogy however is a stretch at best. Japan was a major regional power in 1941 and able to project that power and Its technical base was comparable to our own.

Iran has no such advantages, they do have the advantage of shorter lines of supply and a reasonably secure line of resupply via Russia. But their Air Force and Navy would be in an untenable position in a fight with us. Their major Army formations likewise vulnerable.

That said, they would quickly be forced into an Afghanistan style insurgency. And we do not have the money, troops, or political will to play whack a mole on that scale for any length of time.


JimBo September 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

Ive liked the F5 from the first time I saw one…….. on a barge in the Med. being delivered way back in 1965-66. The F20 is really killer… So this Saeqeh is an updated F5/F20 it will still fly the pants off many aircraft around that part of the world.


Joe Schmoe September 14, 2011 at 1:47 am


Aircraft in "that" part of the world:

Mirage 2000

And what does Iran develop to combat these threats? A knockoff F-5…


blight September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

As long as they deploy good missiles and top-notch avionics it won't be so bad…


TLAM Strike September 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

The best indigenous Iranian AAM is a sidewinder knockoff and a version of the old Hawk SAM fitted for launch from a Tomcat.


Nadnerbus September 14, 2011 at 4:08 am

So what is the 411 on the design and manufacture of this F-5/20 knockoff? Are these old US made airframes that have been rebuilt with a little local know-how? Are they made entirely in-country? The engines? Help from the Chinese or Indians?

Obviously they aren't anything for the west to get their panties in a twist over, but depending on how much of them is designed and built at home, it might be kind of impressive that a religious dictatorship with a massive international embargo against them came up with this.


M167a1 September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

They could be re-treads but I see no reason they could not be locally built. I would guess this bird is perhaps comparable to an F-16A, if they have a decent radar on it it could launch some decent missiles so call it an F-16A Air Defense Version like the guard used to fly with a ground attack capability.

I suspect its strike abilities are on a par with the F-5E although I see no reason you could not hang an IR or Laser guidance pod on it.


Richard Kocher September 14, 2011 at 6:02 am

It's a good lookin' little jet. The idea that saying your weapons are scary actually makes them scary has always amused me. We took out Saddam's forces, at the time considered by far the most powerful in the Middle East, practically in our sleep. The Iranians are full of crap and need a good knock in the head to sober up. I will say, though, that the Iranian people I have met in my life seemed to be real good folks. It's those bozos running the show over there that need a lesson. Our warriors rule!


J JJJJJJJJJJJ September 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

When does Top Gun 2 come out? This thing looks like a movie prop.


GySgt Salt USMC Ret September 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

You're right, isn't this the A/C that "Maverick and Goose" went up against?


TLAM Strike September 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

China already released a Top Gun: Part II:



DDPorkchop September 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

You my friend are thew idiot. Lizzie just making a statement about the way thing s are or may be. She shows no sigh of defending or favoring Iran. THINK before you leap off the cliff.


WOWOWOWOW September 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Saw an F-5or what ever we call it in Charleston SC about 2months ago.
Wow an F-5, remember people the F-117 that was cutting edge in 1990 was really designed and built in the late 70's.


mark September 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

when was stationed at Topgun fm '82-'85, we hosted an f-20 for a couple days for our pilots to check out. that was when Topgun was shopping for an alternative adversary a/c. we even fielded a proposal fm a company in tx i believe to sell us Indian made mig-21's to use as adversary a/c. i was disapointed that chuck yeager didnt come along with the f-20 but i do remember several of the instructor pilots raved about its capabilities and would have loved to have had it. i guess the downfall was unit cost as no foreign powers lined up to buy any. since the air force didnt buy them noone wanted to pay a higher cost per unit for small purchases. it certainly was a beautiful plane!


GySgt Salt USMC Ret September 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm

When I was working at Mc-Doug, we saw it also and thought it was really a hot item, you're right Northrup was trying to sell it O'seas and when it fell through, that was the end.


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

was? ich bin Americanish und kann nicht


Kski September 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Everybody relax. If Tom Cruise could down American F-20s, then some guy in any of our current fleet. Air Force, Navy, Marines. Could probably destroy double or triple that. With as always the rest being destroyed in pretty explosions on the ground. Some guy on the radio will say "Bandits 12 o'clock, I mean correction, there Iranian F-20s, sorry." At most they'll be real live targets. I feel a Top Gun 2 coming. Top Gun 2: Massacre of the Iranian F-20s. Now that would be worth money to go see.


Carl G. May 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Agreed Saheeb ! While the Iranian AF may even cause a few losses (at a tremendous Kill/loss ratio and mostly with the F-14s) to the infidel poopies, their air force will not be able to stop or seriously influence a pre-emtive attack by US and Israel (assuming our current admin has the guts). Their Russian air defense systems will be a much greater threat to our strained and absurdly reduced air power. Allah Ackbar !?


Neil Cooper May 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

These things are probably super cheap for Iran to make compared to buying in anything from a foreign power.
It seems they've already planned for their only viable tactic to deal with encountering anything relatively modern, which is sheer numbers and high but relatively cheap losses.


Killjoy May 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Their "upgraded" F-5 might be a considerable adversary for a P-51. Might be.


danial October 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

I guess Iran should grow up and make a fool out of yourself. Regardless of this combat aircraft, its just no more than an F-5 Freedom Fighter is a bolt on tail. If they were to develop similar to what Northrop did to the F-5 family, like the F-20 Tigershark, then its something, otherwise, its nothing more as capable as those 50s Jets. If you were to add AA-11 and AA-12 then its something the opposite pilot need to be worried about.


NVSpartan September 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

Why would anyone take a perfectly good F-5, and "improve" it by putting a vibrating vortex sensitive pair of canted twin vertical stabs on it? Hell, they had to retrofit the F-18's in the mid-80's with beefed-up hardware and extra surfaces because the vertical stabs were cracking at the connection to the airframes due to vortex generation from the LEX. Hell, even the Beechcraft V-tail Bonanza had empennage failure due to cracks in the airframe/tail surface connections because of excessive vibration of the stabilizers.

Sheesh! If you ask me, this is a merely a propaganda aircraft, a cheap attempt to inflate Iran's military status, and nothing more.


NVSpartan September 15, 2013 at 4:07 am

They must have spent a fortune modifying their F-5's to look like that. Except for the twin tails, the birds look exactly like the F-5's I worked on when I was in VFA-127 at NAS Fallon in the late 80's!


NVSpartan September 15, 2013 at 4:10 am

This is just like putting a T-tail on an A-4 Skyhawk and then claiming it's a new, modern design!


german March 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm

hey spaceman caome hear i want to show…….somthing can you eat it???? ahmadinejad fuck your obama


M167A1 September 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Whats the problem? Do your friends all the good you can and do your enemies all the harm you can. In the absence of a consensus to base a peaceful relationship on, there remains nothing else.


JimS September 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Hey Joe,

Wake up. This is MILITARY.com. In the Military, aggressive and violent is exactly what is called for.

Try US-Dept-o'-State.com for diplomacy

fuzzy-feelgood-pink-unicorns.com for "if we are nice to everyone, they will all love us and be nice to them delusions."

or here for weapons tech: http://www.nerfguns.net


Joe Mama September 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

and you sounds like Chelsea Clinton, (or any other liberal chic)


Matrix3692 September 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

well, the problem here is what’s THE definition of “friends” or “enemy” on an international political level? or better, whats your’s opinion and definition on this?


Ben September 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

It's ironic how you think we're the misguided ones ;)


Nadnerbus September 13, 2011 at 2:09 am

you logic is a train wreck of moral relativism.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 3:38 am

They have funded and under wrote the mess that exists for the Palestinians all to further their own pseudo religious tyranny. They have brutalized their own people whose only crimes were protesting over the cheating in their already rigged non elections. They are pursuing both nuclear weapons and ballistic technology. They have funneled weapons to insurgents that have killed US forces in Iraq, but more disgustingly resources that have killed even more innocent Iraqis, again for their own agenda.

In regards to your non argument about waking to planes over head, quite frankly the Iranian people have more realistic concerns like plain clothes thugs kicking in their doors at night for protesting the tyrants that rule them.


Brian Black September 13, 2011 at 5:57 am

Joe, the Iranian Quds Force have been supporting terrorism in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan and arming and funding Islamist revolutionary groups as far afield as Nigeria and Senegal in West Africa as well as many other countries.

They are certainly not minding their own business; and it's rather strange that you seem to think that there is no evidence of this sort of behaviour. It is common knowledge and it is the declared policy of the regime to promote armed Islamic revolution across the world.

Wake up, Joe.


ProjectThor September 13, 2011 at 8:16 am

Wow… talk about dissociation from reality. Are you on the same planet as the rest of us? There is plenty of proof that Iran has been sticking it's fingers into the pot… explosives with Iranian markings, RPG's with the same. I really wish i could visit this dreamland of yours but i stopped taking LSD when i was a kid.


Benjamin September 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

You ever here of Hezbollah? They are probably one of the largest terrorist organizations in the world and they are sponsored by the Ayatollah and his buddies in Iran


Guest September 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Cry me a f.u.c.k.ing river. All your post needs is violins playing in the background. I never supported the war in Iraq from day one, but it's clear that the Iraqi "freedom fighters" have caused more civilian death and destruction (and usually done intentionally!) than we ever have.


WRG01 May 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Khobar Tower, Joe. Tehran embassy hostages, Joe. US Embassy in Beirut, Joe. Subversion of US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Joe. Hi-tech IEDs killing scores of American personnel throughout SW-Asia, Joe.


blight September 13, 2011 at 7:40 am

It was defensetech.org when it was run by Noah, and once it joined the military.com family there was some serious mission creep.


Guest September 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Apparently the upper right hand corner of the screen is outside your field of vision?


lizzieb_23 September 13, 2011 at 11:01 am

Sunburn. The Iranians have 'em. And, US Naval exercises have shown that Iran could beat the US Navy using swarm tactics.


lizzieb_23 September 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

Yeah it is Iran's fault that Israel keeps ethnically cleansing them Palestinians. Oh, and incidentally, you may want to avoid MSM for your news, because in fact over 70% of Iranians turn up at their voting booths regularly, there was no evidence of election fraud in the last presidential elections, and they massively support their country's nuclear program. Even US polls have found this. Go around threatening to invade or "punch them in the teeth" and you end up with a lot of nationalistic resentment by the people of a rather large, significant , and far more ancient country than ours. We couldn't handle a bunch of pyjamas wearing Vietcong, and we're barely handling a bunch of cave-dwelling, sandal-footed desert dwellers even now. Surely, you will be on the front lines when it comes to punching IRan in the teeth, right?


lizzieb_23 September 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

Surely, thats not the same as our support for Saddam's chemical weapons use against Iran, is it?


lizzieb_23 September 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hezbollah are in Lebanon. They fought off an Israeli invasion, and are supported by the people of Lebanon who voted their candidates into their Parliament. What you call terrorists most of the world considers to be freedom fighters.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

In 2002, 9 years ago, and only because the tactic wasn't on anyone's 'radar'. Small vessels in the littorals is very much on people's minds now.


TLAM Strike September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Iran does not have the Sunburn. Nor the MiG-25, nor the MiG-31, nor the Su-30, nor the J-10, nor a lot of the stuff people claimed Iran had 8 years ago that turned out to be BS.

They got the C-800 and C-700 series missiles, the Silkworm and the Ra'ad (A turbojet Silkworm). They have no LR Supersonic ASMs.

Don't believe what you see in wargames or naval exercises. They are always rigged and run on a script. The small boat tactics worked because they were not on the script for that wargame. IRL they would be on the script.

Small boat tactics failed utterly in Operation Earnest Will and Praying Mantis. I go by ACTUAL combat operations for my opinions of tactics.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Iran doesn't have any politicians running that aren't 'cleared' to do so by the Ayatollahs, so their elections are a farce.

Iran is counting on the Israelis to keep doing what they are doing to the Palestinians. The Iranians couldn't care less about the Palestinians and for that matter neither does the rest of the Arab world. The Jordanians and Syrians have butchered more Palestinians than the Israelis. All the Arab leaders have used the Palestinians, so spare me the 'ethnic cleansing' BS.


Joe Schmoe September 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm

"Israel ethnically cleanses the Palestinians"

Well they must be doing a shitty job as they can't even equal in 40 years what the Jordanians did in a month.


Guest September 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Your comment about "not being able to handle" insurgents is pure hogwash. Militarily, our forces have easily defeated these apes in combat. It is political will and the fact that they can simply lay low and wait for us to lose our appetite to go on where they have the advantage. Ever notice that the Taliban's death toll is FAR greater than ISAF's?

And your Israel ethnic cleansing remark is hilarious. BTW, how do Arabs/Iranians/Turks treat Kurds? Or non Muslims? Or Africans? Lemme give you a hint: I'd rather be a Palestinian under Isreali rule.


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:11 pm

ever heard of the holocaust??? Ancient nation, hahahaha so that makes it better and more important??? how bout greece? the birth place of western cibvilization, i dnt hear u crying all over them. plus, if iran resisted with conventional forces, well it would be another 1991 or 2003. keep dreaming, people always down play the might of the US, which although declining, is still the greatest.


STemplar September 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Freedom from what? The representative parliamentarian government of Lebanon. The invasions they 'fought off', they caused, so no points there for your revisionist view of the world.


Nadnerbus September 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I bet you are a real riot at parties.

If you refuse to see reality, there is nothing anyone here can do to change that. When was the last time the US strapped a bomb to one of its kids and sent them into an Iranian or Palestinian coffee shop? Precision munitions in a declared war are not the same as random terrorist murder, and anyone that isn't soaking in a brew of their own ideology can see that.


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm

um not all the citizens. heard of the christian and muslim civil war there?


Guest September 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Yeah right. That's why guys have brought guns to a presidential events. That's why you are on here spouting off your BS. That's why high school students read "Civil Disobedience" by Thoreau in English class. That's why basically every Hollywood movie about politics takes not so subtle jabs at various administrations. That's why people call the president a taitor, murderer, fascist, commie, and liar all in the same day.

I could go on all day. Spare me your paranoid ravings.


blight September 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Praying Mantis is our primary case study for how the new Jeune Ecole was supposed to work, and it didn't work out well for Iran, even though the tech gradient between Iran and the United States wasn't as broad as it is now. The Iranians had a mix of American technology from the mid to late '70s plus Soviet export gear against top of the line American tech of the '80s.

One wonders if the Soviets ever really gave Iran their best hardware…


Guest September 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Disgusting as that was, it does not change the fact that the actions of the plethora of Islamic militant groups and middle easter despots are, indeed terrorism. Strapping on bombs and setting them off in crowded places is terrorism. Flying planes into civilian buildings is terrorism. Beheading humanitarian aid workers in front of a webcam is TERRORISM.


TLAM Strike September 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

The Soviets didn't even give them their second rate gear. The first model MiG-29, the bare bones Kilo variant (Algeria got a better version!) and used T-72s were what they got.

The tech gradient is about the same or worse. Most of the stuff they are flying we consider two generations outdated.


blight September 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

Is the child reference an appeal to our soft spot for children? The Iranians had to use kids as their mine detectors, it was that or allow Saddam to win (then again, back then Saddam was on Team America, and didn't become Free Agent of Evil).


crackedlenses September 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

He's right, the cons and neo-cons have been getting snubbed and slapped down by the libs who own the media, the schools, and most of the government for some time now


crackedlenses September 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

Sorry, but the Shah for all his faults did not threaten to hurl nukes at his neighbors and butcher protestors in the streets. The current government is. I think the Shah was an improvement….


Guest September 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Oh the horror! The US overthrew a government 60 years ago! That totally makes it justifiable for the Iranians in 2011 to fund international jihadist terrorists.
Please. Do you realize that numerous Latin American and Asian countries were similarly manipulated by the US and/or USSR during the Cold War, yet almost none of them cause any problems like Iran does? Yep that totally justifies murdering Americans who weren't even born when the regime change happened.

I don't see Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Chileans, or Guatemalans lining up to fly planes into our buildings or strap suicide bombs on to go blow up innocent civilians. As a matter of fact, the Vietnamese are becoming an economic powerhouse and Chile has one of the highest standards of living in South America. What a shocker. They moved on from the past and are building a future. And they don't even have to blessing of sitting on top of massive oil deposts like Arabs and Iranians are!


PMi September 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Geez I should read all the comments before posting. :D


blight September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Khatami of the '90s is basically sidelined, just like their last attempt at a "free election" that ended with street violence.


Guest September 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

If he was arrested he wasn't kept in custody very long, because I remember him being interviewed on the news as a free man shortly after the incident. And my other examples still stand. Do you realize how many hundreds of people have posted critical messages about the government on places like Facebook and Youtube? Do you realize that musicians get RICH making anti government songs? Even anarchist punks' albums are sold freely and their bands play at concerts where they call for the destruction of the US government. I've seen albums for sale with pictures of 9/11 on the covers.

Yep, free speech in America is totally on the verge of extinction…


Guest September 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm

If by kids you mean consenting adults, and if by training to kill you mean train to kill combatants and specifically avoid civilians, then yes, you are correct.


crackedlenses September 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Saddam was not "Team America"; we just wanted the two dictatorships to blood-let each other good, and Saddam was not as bad as the Ayatollahs. If Saddam were still with us this would still hold true….


Nadnerbus September 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

In moral relativism land, they are all the same, which is why it's impossible to have a logical debate with the Joe/Lizzie types. The ONLY thing that matters to people like that is that the US sometimes does morally bad thing. Every other aspect of their ideology is built around that. Hence the old saw "blame America first."


jhm September 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

seriously, those people should try living in china or iran for a bit and try preaching democracy and anti- government doctrines lol


@PalaestinaF February 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Ben you're the usual loutish western neanderthal, if ever you should pray to your little star in the sky that Iran doesn't decide to kick some teeth in…either at the local, regional or international level…


@PalaestinaF February 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

"The Viet Cong were annihilated as a fighting force by the end of Tet…"

And if you repeat that nonsense long enough eventually you'll be able to actually believe it!

I always have a good laugh at how hard in denial you yankoo-yahoos are about Vietnam…you got your asses dissed!


@PalaestinaF February 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm

The Shah butchered protestors with Jimmy Carter's and the CIA's benediction…learn your history yankoo-yahoo!!!!


Ron K July 14, 2013 at 2:52 am

anyone that thinks this is an f-5 knock of is more retarded than the schizoid jewish cretin that insist on commenting here to exhibit their delusions of grandeur and "vast" aviation experience :)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: