Iran just unveiled a new fighter jet to make sure its military is 'ready to fight' the US

Iranian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesIranian President Hassan Rouhani.
  • Iran unveiled the new “Kowsar” fighter jet Thursday, asserting that the aircraft will strengthen Iran’s military might and deter the US.
  • The aircraft resembles the F-5F Tiger, which had its first flight in the 1970s.

Iran unveiled a new fighter jet Tuesday, claiming that the “state-of-the-art” aircraft strengthens the country’s ability to stand up to the US.

“We should make ourselves ready to fight against the military powers who want to take over our territory and our resources,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address, arguing that Iran’s military might deter the US from attacking, Reuters reported.

“Why does the US not attack us? Because of our power, because it knows the consequences,” Rouhani explained. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made similar statements last week.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise since President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the US from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency claims the new aircraft is a “100 per cent indigenously-made” fourth-generation fighter with “advanced avionics,” according to AFP. The plane has reportedly already been through testing and is expected to fly for the first time Wednesday in honour of National Defence Industry Day.

Facing international sanctions, Iran has been forced to develop a domestic arms industry, as it can no longer reliably import platforms from overseas. “We have learned in the [Iran-Iraq] war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost,” Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami said Saturday.

The unveiling of the aircraft was foreshadowed over the weekend by the defence minister, who stressed that “our top priority has been development of our missile program,” CNBC reported. He added, “We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it.”

Some observers have suggested that the new “Kowsar” fighter resembles the US-made F-5F Tiger, which made its first flight in the 1970s.

With only a few dozen suitable aircraft, mainly older Russian models and American F-5s acquired before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Iranian Air Force has limited strike capabilities. The new “Kowsar” fighter jet is expected to carry out short aerial support missions.

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