In the midst of tensions rising between Iran and its Mideast rivals, the Islamic republic revealed a new combat jet on Tuesday, according to state media.
The Kowsar fighter jet, domestically manufactured entirely and capable of carrying different weapons, will be utilized for brief aerial support operations, said Iran-run news agency Tasnim.
Iran’s Defense Ministry boasted the new jet as a fourth-generation fighter with “advanced avionics and multipurpose radar,” according to Reuters.
“We should make ourselves ready to fight against the military powers who want to take over our territory and our resources,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a live broadcast on state television.
Echoing Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s claim last week that the United States would not militarily confront the regime, Rouhani rhetorically asked, “Why does the United States not attack us?”
“Because of our power, because it knows the consequences,” he answered.
State television showed live pictures of a ceremony in Tehran in which the fighter jet flew in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani, a day before the country’s National Defense Industry Day.
Despite the pomp, experts note the jet’s similarity to the old U.S.-made F-5F fighter jets, which pre-revolutionary Iran bought hundreds of from the United States during the 1960s and ‘70s.
“An hour ago, a 42 yrs old U.S. made F-5F which is just a testbed for avionic of Iranian Air Force future training jet (Kowsar-88) was unveiled & claimed to be a 4th Generation Fighter jet completely designed & manufactured in Iran,” Iranian aviation historian Babak Taghvaee tweeted.
Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is known for sending weaponry and troops to Syria to prop up President Bashar Assad’s regime. Its air force, however, is limited, requiring Russia to provide air support to Assad as of 2015.