Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Iran to Buy Fighters Based on Israeli Technology

Ha’aretz is running article today regarding a new deal between Iran and China under which Iran will buy two squadrons of J-10 fighter planes that are based on Israeli technology. According to the article, “The 24 aircraft are based on technology and components provided to China by Israel following the cancellation of the Lavi project in the mid-1980s. The engines of the J-10 are Russian-made. The total cost of the planes is estimated at $1 billion, and deliveries are expected between 2008 and 2010. The estimated operational range of the aircraft, with external fuel tanks, is 3,000 kilometers, which means Israel falls within their radius of operation.”

The transaction would provide an expansion to Iran’s current aging fleet ofpredominantly US equipment (F-14s and F-5s).

Iran also announced in August this year that it is developing a "new" Azarakhsh (Lightning) close-air-support fighter. The Azarakhsh “is simply an enlarged F-5 with a second vertical stabilizer and marginally better avionics. Various intel assessments indicate that Iran has about 50 F-5s left in its inventory; there are no indications as to how many of those airframes may be re-built as 'Lightnings.'"

No comments: