From the loony regime that just figured how to shoot a monkey into space: Iran now claims it has its own homemade, radar-beating stealth fighter jet.
But aviation and defense experts say the tiny one-seater looks like a toy and might not even be able to fly — calling it a “laughable fake.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the Qaher F313 at a Tehran hangar last week and called it “one of the most advanced” aircraft in the world.
But the experts said it was too small for a human pilot — and the controls and wiring looked too simple for a real jet.
Ahmadinejad boasted it had “almost all the positive features” of the world’s most sophisticated jets. But among the features that seem to be missing are bolts and rivets — found on the simplest planes.
“It looks like the Iranians dumped some rudimentary flight controls and an ejection seat into a shell molded in what they thought were stealthy angles,” reporter John Reed wrote in the journal Foreign Policy.
“It looks like it might make a noise and vibrate if you put 20 cents in,” joked Andrew Davies of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “I can see (almost) how North Korea gets away with transparent nonsense due to isolation, but Iran has a population that’s much more switched on and connected, at least in the cities.
“I guess a possible explanation is that it plays well in the provinces, where people aren’t as savvy.”
Iran can’t buy new jets or even spare parts for its air force — much of it aging shah-era planes made in the US — because of the Western embargo designed to deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad said the Qaher — which means “Conqueror” — “carries a message of peace, friendship and brotherhood. Our military achievements do not pose a threat to anyone.”
Last week, in another propaganda bid, Iran claimed it had sent a monkey 75 miles above the Earth in a suborbital flight that would pave the way for the Islamic Republic’s first manned flights into space.