Iran declared Wednesday that an Iranian-made warplane, called Saegheh (lightning in Persian) has become operational after successfully finishing a test flight during the massive military exercise held in the northwestern part of the country.
Iranian news agency, Fars, reported that the one-seater jet successfully completed Wednesday an operational flight and launched an air-to-surface missile, officially adding it to the ranks of the Iranian air force.
It was also reported that Iranian-made laser-guided bombs, named Raad, were also tested during the exercise. According to the report, the bombs were launched at ground targets and hit them precisely. Furthermore, these missiles, it was reported, are in use by other armies in the world.
Massive Iranian military exercise in northwest Iran (Photo: AP)
Spokesman of the exercise headquarters, Jawad Mahmadian, said, "The aircraft specializes in close-quarters air support and was planned and built by members of the Iranian air force."
He added that the plane is capable of carrying a range of missiles and bombs, and to launch them with the help of a sophisticated radar system. According to him, "after years of experiments, the operational capability of this warplane was proven Wednesday morning."
Iranian television broadcast images of the plane taking off, and reported that the plane "is similar to the American F-18, but stronger. It was planned and improved upon by Iranian experts." It was also reported that a number of trial flights were carried out in the last year and all of them finished successfully.
General Karim Gabami, an Iranian air force commander, said to Iranian national television that the purpose of these war games is "to display the force we are prepared to apply in order to defend our country until the last drop of blood."
The exercise was overseen by General Atallah Salahi, who said, "The embargo on Iran not only didn't cause a drawback in our self-production, it actually spurred us to believe in ourselves and to rely on ourselves in the weapons manufacturing arena. We didn't collaborate with any other country in producing this plane. This is one of hundreds of achievements of the Iranian army in the area of military research and production."
Since the middle of August, the Iranian military has been holding a large-scale military exercise named "The Blow of Zolfaqar." Zolfaqar was the sword of Imam Ali, the true successor of the Prophet Muhammad according to the Shiites. For the Shiites, this sword symbolizes strength and courage. During the exercise, regular troops were activated with the aid of helicopters, troops were parachuted into the field, and there was coordination between air and ground forces. Naval exercises were also carried out.
Iran held experimental launches of short-range land-to-land missiles. According to reports of the Iranian national television channel, the range of the missiles is between 80 to 250 kilometers.
Iranian television claims that the knowledge and technology for building the missile came solely from Iranian sources, but foreign sources claim that most of the technology came from other countries.