Gas Week

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Iran unveils new home-grown fighter jet: “Our forces like a thunderbolt will blind the eyes of the enemies of our land”

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

Iran has unveiled a new home-grown fighter jet amid growing tensions with the United States, and said the plane could “blind the eyes” of its enemies, reported The Canberra Times (22/9/2007, p.15).

Them’s fightin’ words: State television showed pictures of two “Saegheh” (Thunder) fighters – said by Iran to be similar to the American F-18 – taking off in tandem and then landing for a ceremony at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport. State-run IRNA news agency quoted Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying this week, “This fighter plane has been researched, designed and built with indigenous means and this new generation of fighter plane is entering industrial production. Our forces like a thunderbolt will blind the eyes of the enemies of our land. And in the battlefield of defending our land, just like a thunderbolt, they will set ablaze the enemies’ camp.”

US sales of planes to Iran: The short clips on state television showed the planes painted in blue and yellow and with the double tail fins characteristic of the F-18 fighter. The legend “Air Force” was written in Latin letters in italics on the side. The Iranian Air Force has been hit hard by the US trade embargo, which meant the country must work intensely to find spare parts to keep its fleet in the air. Many of Iran’s planes were of American origin and were bought in a massive arms-buying spree by the pro-US shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was ousted by the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The Canberra Times, 22/9/2007, p. 15

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