Iran is set to unveil a new fighter jet in the coming days and will continue to develop missile capabilities despite tough new US sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran’s missile program, the country’s defense minister announced.
“A plane, which has passed several stages, will be presented on the Defense Industry Day and people will see the fighter jet flying from a close distance as well as the equipment used for its manufacture,” Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by Iran’s Press TV.
According to the report the new jet , which passed “all tests,” would fly on Wednesday to mark Iran’s Defense Industry Day. The aircraft’s components would also be put on display.
While it was not revealed which jet Hatami was referring to, it is believed to be the locally-produced Qaher (Dominant) F-313, which Tehran began testing last year.
The single-seat twin engine stealth jet is reported be equipped with additional fuel tanks and internal bomb bays, as well as the ability to land on short runways. Local Iranian reports said the aircraft can also fly at low altitude and fly close air support and reconnaissance missions.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in 2013 that building the jet shows Iran’s will to “conquer scientific peaks,” but many aviation experts said the jet was too small to even fit a pilot, let alone carry its announced weapons payload.
In addition to the new fighter jet, Hatami said the Islamic Republic will continue to work on its missile program as “top priority.”
According to Hatami, Iran’s locally produced “Bavar-373” air defense system would come into service by March 2019 and once operational it could be mass produced and exported to countries friendly to the Islamic Republic.
“Our focus has been on priorities, with the top priority being the missile issue. We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it,” Hatami was quoted by Press TV.
“We have never sought and will never seek weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons due to our religious beliefs and as stated by Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], but we will not allow a violation of our interests and are looking for peace,” he said.
Despite new US sanctions placed on Iran last week meant to pressure Tehran over its military activity in the Middle East and its ballistic missile program, Tehran is continuing to improve its missile arsenal.
“We operate within the framework of Iran’s strategy based on active deterrence,” Hatami said, adding that “Iran has never invaded a country, but the enemy must understand that if its hits us once, it will be beaten ten times.”
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency also reported the country’s navy tested the short-range Kamand weapons system, which is reported to be able to engage and destroy targets two kilometers away.
According to Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the “coastal and sea testing of the short-range defense Kamand system were concluded successfully,” and that the system would be installed on vessels which “carry out missions in deep and distant waters.”
Last week, Hatami unveiled a new generation
of short-range Fateh missiles just days after the Islamic Republic fired a Fateh 110 ballistic missile. On Sunday, Fox News reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired a third generation Fateh-110 in an anti-ship configuration from Iranian soil crossing part of the Strait of Hormuz, before impacting a desert test range 100 miles away.
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