AP: Iranian air force pilots made successful test flights Thursday in two of Iran’s new domestically manufactured fighter jet, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said. The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iranian air force pilots made successful test flights Thursday in two of Iran’s new domestically manufactured fighter jet, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.
IRNA said the Saegheh jet is a new generation of the Azarakhsh class of fighter planes. Both Azarakhsh and Saegheh mean lightening in Farsi.
“The test flights of a new generation of Azarakhsh jet fighters, called the Saegheh, were completed by brave pilots from Iran’s air force,” Iran’s defense minister, Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, was quoted as saying by IRNA. “The two will officially join the air force on Saturday.”
State television showed video of the two blue jets, each with one pilot, taking off and landing. It said the flights each lasted 15 minutes.
The jet was first tested in 2006 and is derived from re-engineered components of U.S. combat aircraft. Iran exhibited the plane last year during large-scale military exercises, claiming the Saegheh is similar to the American F-18 fighter but more powerful.
Iran said in August that it had begun industrial-scale production of the fighter as part of its efforts to become militarily self-sufficient after decades of relying on foreign weapons.
Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers and missiles, the government says. It announced in early 2005 that it had begun making torpedoes.