A senior Iranian Commander announced that the country has successfully mounted and tested new missiles on its F-7 warplanes, Fars News Agency (FNA) reported.
“New missiles and weapons have been successfully tested on F-7 fighter jets and different bombs are being tested,” Commander of Shahid Babayee airbase in the Central province of Isfahan General Massoud Rouzkhosh said.
Noting that the PC-7 aircraft has also been enabled to conduct combat operations, he said that machine-guns have also been mounted and tested on them.
General Rouzkhosh also said that Iran’s F-14 and F-4 fighter jets are capable of being used in naval battles, and underlined that the defense ministry has plans to build the fifth generation of radar-evading aircraft and equip them with the capability to trace different targets.
In February 2015, Iran unveiled a new home-made combat fighter, named Saeqeh 2 (Thunderbolt 2), which can also be used for training purposes.
“The double-cockpit supersonic fighter jet, which has been designed and built by the defense ministry’s aerospace industries organization in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force, can be used for combat missions, close-range cover and backup in tactical missions, and also advanced pilot training programs,” former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said, addressing the unveiling ceremony.
He said the aircraft had been built on the basis of a new design which had maximized its combat power, adding that the plane had also been equipped with advanced electro-avionics and weapons systems to train pilots for flying with the existing or new heavy fighters.
Also in the same month, a senior Iranian Air Force Commander announced that the country was planning to build a new high-tech combat aircraft capable of tracing US and Israeli modern and stealth planes.
“… We will 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 said in an exclusive interview with FNA.
He reiterated that Iran was reaching a level of expertise that it would soon be able to manufacture a totally different aircraft in terms of electronic, radar and avionics systems as well as weaponry equipment.
Asked why Saeqeh platform was used for developing new planes, Colonel Monfaredzadeh said: “In all parts of the world it is the same and they choose the platform of one of their aircraft (for developing others) and we have also selected Saeqeh for this purpose …”
In September 2010, Iran displayed the first squadron of its Saeqeh fighters in an air show staged during the military parades at the beginning of the Week of Sacred Defense, marking Iranians' sacrifices during the 8 years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s.
In September 2011, the Iranian Air Force’s first squadron of home-made Saeqeh fighter jets started operations during the large offensive air drills codenamed “Fadaeeyan-e Harim-e Vellayat III” in Northwestern Iran.