Iran has inaugurated the production line of its first locally-produced fighter jet, the Kowsar, one day after the US announced that sanctions would be re-imposed on the country. The announcement, carried by Iranian state television, said the move comes despite attempts by the US to increase economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Defence Minister General Amir Hatami said the production line showcases the abilities of Iranian experts, despite "sanctions by enemies."
The US announced that sanctions would be re-imposed upon Iran, to take effect on November 5th. The sanctions target Iran's shipping, financial and energy sectors. This is the second batch of sanctions the US has applied against Iran since withdrawing from the landmark nuclear agreement that was signed back in 2015.
In an AP report, Iran unveiled its Kowsar aircraft in August. Iran already has both US-made jet fighters and Russian-made Sukhoi aircraft in service. The country’s release of the Kowsar fighter was accompanied by no small amount of controversy. Many have said the jet is simply a copy of the United States F-5, a fighter jet dating back to the 1970s. According to Forbes, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) displayed what it claimed was its first domestically-designed and manufactured fighter jet. But many have said there are simply too many striking similarities with Northrop’s design from the 1950s.
Justin Bronk, a research fellow in airpower and technology at the Royal United Services Institute, said, “Yes, it’s a modernised F-5, first designed in the 1950s and in service since the 60s. One can get a lot out of modernising older airframes, but this is pushing it.”