HESA Azarakhsh

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An IRIAF HESA Azarakhsh in Vahdati Airbase Air Show.JPG
HESA Azarakhsh displayed in Vahdati Air Base
Role Strike fighter
Manufacturer HESA
Introduction 1997
Status In service [1]
Primary user Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
Number built First Generation: 6 [2]
2nd Generation: 4 [3]
3rd Generation: 1
4th and 5th generation: unknown
Developed from Northrop F-5E Tiger II
Developed into HESA Saeqeh

(HESA) Azarakhsh (Persian: آذرخش‎‎ Āzaraxš, "lightning") is Iran's first domestically manufactured[4] combat jet fighter. It is widely regarded as a reverse engineered variant of the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tiger II.[2]

The Azarakhsh was developed in Isfahan by the Iranian army, Defense Ministry, and aircraft-manufacturing company HESA.[5]

Design and development[edit]

In April 1997 Iranian Brigadier General Arasteh, a deputy head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces declared that Iran had successfully designed, constructed, and tested its first fighter aircraft. By late 1997 Iran had begun mass-producing the aircraft [2] and by mid-2000 four aircraft were said to be undergoing operational tests, with production proceeding at a rate of around ten aircraft per year[citation needed].

Iran has yet to release any additional information about the aircraft and its capabilities are unknown.

On May 17, 2000, Iran's acting commander of the Air Force said that Azarakhsh had reached mass-production stage.[6] On August 5, 2007, Azarakhsh conducted a successful test flight.[7] On August 6, 2007, Ministry of Defense Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said, "[Azarakhsh] is now at the stage of industrial production and its mass production will start in the future." [8]


Mass production started by late 1997 and as of 2001 there were six in inventory, with a production schedule established for 30 aircraft over the following three years.[2]


Main article: HESA Saeqeh

The HESA Saeqeh is a follow on aircraft, derived from the Azarakhsh fighter.[citation needed] As with many previous indigenous Iranian developed weapons, no performance data has been released to verify official claims. An unknown number of this generation have built and said to have entered service with IRIAF September 22, 2007.[9][10]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ "Global Security". 
  2. ^ a b c d GlobalSecurity.org Azarakhsh (Lightning)
  3. ^ "Iran Defense Forum". irandefence.net. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  4. ^ [1] Tel Aviv University Publication, Analysis by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
  5. ^ John Pike. "Azarakhsh". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Pavyand.com Payvand's Iran News
  7. ^ Azarakhsh fighter conducts successful test flight IRNA
  8. ^ New fighter plane tested successfully: Defense minister IRNA
  9. ^ IRNA 4th, 5th generations of Sa'eqe jet fighters to be produced January 5, 2008
  10. ^ Payvand News Saeqeh fighter planes tested successfully in Iran September 20, 2007