|Manufacturer||Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA)|
|First flight||July 2004|
|Introduction||22 September 2007|
|Primary user||Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force|
|Number built||at least 9|
|Developed from||Northrop F-5|
The HESA Saeqeh (Persian: صاعقه, "thunderbolt"), alternatively spelt Sa'eqeh; Saegheh, or Saeqeh-80, is an Iranian built single-seat jet fighter, derived from the American Northrop F-5. A joint product of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force and the Iranian Ministry of Defence, it is the second generation of the Iranian Azarakhsh fighter. Saeqeh aircraft were tested successfully in Iran 20 September 2007.
The first prototype of the jet was shown on state television making a test flight in July 2004. According to the translation by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) of a broadcast on Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), the Saeqeh became operational on September 6, 2006, when it participated in an Iranian military wargame exercise called "Blow of Zulfiqar". In that exercise, which began on August 19, 2006, the new fighter carried out actions described as "a mission to bomb virtual enemy targets" and "a mock bombing mission". Two prototypes, which appeared to differ from the one that had been shown previously, conducted a fly-past at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on 20 September 2007. Three prototypes took part in a military parade on 22 September 2007.
Iran has announced that it will test fly the other variants of the Saeqeh in the near future which will differ from the previous aircraft due to major changes in its weapon system, aerodynamics and operational range.
In September 2010, Iran displayed the first squadron of Saeqeh fighter jets produced during an air show staged during the military parades at the beginning of the Iranian Sacred Defence Week according to the FARS News Agency. In May 2012 Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated that three new-generation Saeqeh fighters had been manufactured and delivered to the Air Force.
Little information on the specifications of the Saeqeh has been released. The Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, Brigadier-General Ahmad Mighani, said that the Saeqeh is up-to-date in terms of aerodynamic balance and in possessing missile and radar systems. The Managing Director of the Aviation Organization of the Ministry of Defense and Logistics of the Armed Forces, Majid Hedayat, described the Saeqeh as a logistic and combat plane with high manoeuvring capability and an ability to bomb close targets. The airframe resembles a Northrop F-5 with two vertical stabilizers instead of one.
In 2008, Iran announced the aircraft has a range of 3,000 km (1,864 mi). The fighter-bomber has the ability to track down enemy aircraft, engage in combat, target locations on the ground and carry an assortment of weapons and ammunition.
The visual differences between the Saeqeh and the original Northrop F-5E remain limited to two vertical tail stabilizers instead of one, additional wing strakes and altered jet intakes. Fuselage, landing gear, engines, weaponry and cockpit instruments appear identical to the F-5E, which indicates that the Saequeh is not a new-built jet fighter, but a modification of existing Northrop F-5s. It is also possible that the Saeqeh airframes are actually taken from the large inventory of old F-5s in non-flyable condition. This would explain why so far serial numbers for only nine aircraft have been observed.
A new version was introduced in 2015 with 2 seats, more advanced weapon systems, electronics and avionics. This model can also be used for training purposes. According to one Iranian military source:
"… [Iran] will [soon] manufacture an aircraft on Saeqeh platform which will be equipped with Fourth generation (and even higher) avionics …,"
- Commander of Air Force's Owj Complex Colonel Houshang Monfaredzadeh, 2015
Data from
- Crew: 1
- Length: 15.89 m (52 ft 2 in)
- Wingspan: 8.3 m (27 ft 3 in)
- Empty weight: 4,400 kg (9,700 lb)
- Gross weight: 9,000 kg (19,842 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Ivchenko ai-322f afterburning turbojet engines, 24 kN (5,500 lbf) thrust each dry, 44 kN (9,900 lbf) with afterburner
- Maximum speed: 1,700 km/h (1,100 mph, 920 kn)
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.4+
- Range: 3,000 km (1,900 mi, 1,600 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 16,000 m (52,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 175 m/s (34,400 ft/min)
- Guns: 2× 20 mm (0.787 in) M39A2 Revolver cannons in the nose, 280 rounds/gun
- Hardpoints: 7 total: 2× wing-tip AAM launch rails, 4× under-wing & 1× under-fuselage pylon stations with a capacity of 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg),
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- The Solar Hijri year 1391 on the Iranian calendar
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