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HESA Shafaq (Before the Dawn)

Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

HESA Shafaq (Before the Dawn)

Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft


The two-seat HESA Shafaq is intended for the trainer role but can double as a light attack aircraft if need be.
National Flag Graphic
YEAR: 2015
MANUFACTURER(S): Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (IAIO) / Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA) - Iran
National flag of Iran
Technical Specifications

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the HESA Shafaq (Before the Dawn) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
POWER: 1 x Klimov RD-33 turbofan engine delivering 11,230 lb of thrust.







Unknown. Expected to include an internal cannon for close-in defense and a collection of air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, guided munitions, rocket pods and conventional drop ordnance.
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants / Models

• Shafaq - Base Series Designation; twin-seat advanced trainer retaining strike fighter capabilities.
• Shafag - Single-Seat Strike Fighter Variant
• Shafaq - Two-Seat Strike Fighter Variant


Detailing the development and operational history of the HESA Shafaq (Before the Dawn) Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/20/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Shafaq (formally known as the "Integral" and translating to "Before the Dawn") is a two-seat, lightweight-class multi-role fighter aircraft with Russian origins. After the dissolving of relations between the United States and itself, Iran went on to maintain a stronger military relationship with Russia and has purchased millions of dollars in equipment from the northern nation over the decades. Not until recently has the Islamic nation been working hard at producing indigenous military products with little help from the outside world. The Shafaq is intended as a multi-purpose airframe, resulting in the proposed construction of three distinct aircraft types emanating from the base design. These are said to be a two-seat advanced trainer (retaining its strike capability), a two-seat light strike fighter and a single-seat light strike fighter. In any case, the Shafaq will be offered in whatever configurations the Iranian Air Force requires.

Iran worked with Russian officials in the early days of the Integral program that eventually produced the Shafaq. In a some type of professional exchange program between the two nations, Russian officials from Mikoyan and Sukhoi were sent to Iran to assist in the development of a new lightweight fighter. Officials were quick to note that, while the involvement of the Russians was noted in the early portion of the program, the Shafaq is wholly an Iranian design. The aircraft itself was designed at the Aviation University Complex and, at some point, the relationship with Russia dissolved for unstated reasons resulting in the Iranians going along with the project alone. The resulting aircraft became the Shafaq that was unveiled in smaller 1/7th scale wind tunnel model form, ultimately leading up to a full-scale model. A patent related to the design was assigned in 2001 with a design showcased publically sometime in 2003. A planned first flight was set for 2004 though it is arguable that this ever took place for the first prototype was slated for completion sometime in 2008 though it is unclear whether even this target date has been met.

The Shafaq is said to offer stealth-like qualities by way of using a specially-coated, radar absorbing skin to retard radar signals and therefore remain less conspicuous to active radar. It sports two Russian-brand ejection seats (K-36D series) for both of her crew - seated in tandem with the pilot in front and the radar operator/instructor to the rear - and an all-glass digital cockpit comparable to Western fighter types of this class. The two-seat arrangement is only applicable in the two-seat Shafaq configuration.

Like most other new military developments coming out of Iran, the Shafaq has little in the way of public data available. It is reported that power will come from a single Russian Klimov RD-33 turbofan engine delivering some 11,230lbf of thrust (or possibly an indigenous form of the American J79 engine, technology the Iranians have had experience with in the past). Maximum speed is estimated to be approximately 715 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 55,040 feet and a rate-of-climb of 21,650 feet per minute. However, reports are contradictory when it comes to deciding whether the Shafaq will be a supersonic or subsonic aircraft. Armament is assumed at this point, encompassing the "Fatter" Shahbaz" and "Sattar" class of missile systems.

Judging from the available photographs of scale models and perhaps the single completed prototype, the Shafaq bears an uncanny resemblance to the proposed YF-17 Cobra lightweight fighter. The YF-17 was a competitor in the American lightweight fighter program that resulted in the selection of the excellent General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The YF-17 Cobra was eventually revised to become the production form of the larger multi-role McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 carrier-based fighter. The Shafaq maintains a similar outward design approach to this YF-17, with the exception of the elliptical surface area just aft of the cockpit, and is comparable in overall design to the Northrop F-5 Tiger as well. The two-man crew sit under a three-piece canopy with a nose come assembly just ahead, no doubt housing the internal radar array. The main wings are somewhat short and sport sweep along both the leading and trailing edges. The large fuselage area and wings allow for the use of up to seven hardpoints with three of these located under the fuselage itself and the remaining four the wings, two to a wing. The empennage is conventional by modern standards and sports two vertical tail fins angled outwards as well as a pair of horizontal planes with sweep along both edges and clipped wing tips. Intakes are mounted along the sides of the fuselage and aspirate the single powerplant buried deep within the system. The intake openings are rectangular in shape and angled inwards to contour with the fuselage sides. The undercarriage is conventional and made up of a pair of single-wheeled main legs and a single-wheeled nose landing gear leg.

Of note is that funding for the program is reported to have come by way of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as opposed to the regular military.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (715mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (2)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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