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Azarakhsh (Lightning)

Iran was not known to have possessed advanced technology to build fighter planes or tanks. However, In April 1997 Iranian Brigadier General Arasteh, a deputy head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (serving under Major General Ali Shahbazi, the joint chief of staff) claimed that Iran had successfully designed, constructed, and tested its first fighter aircraft, the Azarakhsh(Lightning). According to one theory, Iran cobbled together an aircraft by reverse-engineered elements from a number of other aircraft. Reportedly either similar to the F-4 or derivative from the F-5, this Iranian design evolved from an examination of the wide variety of fighter aircraft in Iran's inventory [which include both the F-4 and F-5], along with training and experimentation. Brigadier General Arasteh stated in April 1997 that the "production line of this aircraft will begin work in the near future." And Iranian officials announced in September 1997 that Iran had started mass producing its first locally-designed fighter-bomber.

There are also reports of the development of another indigenous fighter design called the Owj (Zenith). Iran's Defense Industries Organization has announced plans for the production of the propeller-driven Parastu (Swallow) and jet-powered Dorna (Lark) training aircraft, and there are also claims of the testing of the first Iranian-designed helicopter. In April 1997 Acting Commander of the Ground Forces of the Iranian Army, Lieutenant General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani announced that the design and construction of helicopters has started and will bear results in the ground forces five-year plan. General Ashtiani also claimed that 14,000 various kinds of aircraft parts have been produced by the forces, with some of the parts manufactured at costs one thousandths of similar foreign made parts. He stated that Iran had saved the equivalent of 30 billion rials in hard currency. In the Iranian budget year which started on March 21, he disclosed that the aviation wing of the army intended to produce 90 percent of its spare parts requirement.


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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, November 07, 1999 7:38:09 AM