02/05/2013 11:14 am ET

Iran's New Stealth Fighter, Qaher 313, Dismissed By Skeptics (PHOTOS)

Iran's state media wants the world to know the country has developed a new "super advanced" stealth fighter jet capable of "evading radars."

To that end, the jet, known as the "Qaher 313," was unveiled Saturday at a ceremony involving Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other high-level officials.

"Qaher is a fully indigenous aircraft designed and built by our aerospace experts. This is a radar-evading plane that can fly at low altitude, carry weapons, engage enemy aircrafts and land at short airstrips," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on state TV.

Vahidi added the aircraft, now Iran's stealthiest, employs advanced materials. The Associated Press writes, however, that those claims are unverified because Tehran does not release any technical details about its arsenals.


Despite the country's elaborate press campaign, experts have more than a few doubts as to the jet's airworthiness. First and foremost, Foreign Policy notes, the cockpit seems to be lacking legitimate wiring or instrumentation.

"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," national security reporter John Reed writes.

In fact, there is no proof the fighter can perform the most essential of its jobs: actually flying.

A video released by Iran did not include footage of the Qaher 313 taking off or landing, the BBC notes. That, in combination with the poor quality of the video, led to speculation on Flight International that the film was actually of a remote-controlled aircraft modeled to resemble the Qaher 313.

"Overall, the plane seems to lack the characteristic rivets, bolts all aircraft, including stealthy ones, feature. Images released so far show it as a plastic-made aircraft," David Cenciotti, a military aviation expert, wrote on The Aviationist.

If, as speculation suggests, the Qaher 313 is indeed little more than "implausible aerodynamics and Hollywood sheen," it would only be the latest in a long line of questionable achievements.

In late January, Iran claimed to have launched a monkey into space -- a claim some experts later dismissed as likely "monkey business."

In November, Iran showcased a leap forward in drone technology, only to have bloggers point out the drone's real owners were researchers at Japan's Chiba University; Iran appeared to have doctored the image in Photoshop.

PHOTOS of the Qaher 313:



Iran's New "Stealth" Fighter

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