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HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning)


Strike Fighter Aircraft


Iran | 1997



"The HESA Azarakhsh is yet another Iranian take on the American F-5 Tiger II, the F-5E model in particular, and serves in the strike fighter role."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) Strike Fighter Aircraft.
2 x General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines developing 5,000 lb thrust each with afterburner (3,500lb thrust dry).
Propulsion
1,056 mph
1,700 kph | 918 kts
Max Speed
51,837 ft
15,800 m | 10 miles
Service Ceiling
2,299 miles
3,700 km | 1,998 nm
Operational Range
34,400 ft/min
10,485 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) Strike Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
47.4 ft
14.45 m
O/A Length
26.7 ft
(8.15 m)
O/A Width
13.5 ft
(4.10 m)
O/A Height
9,590 lb
(4,350 kg)
Empty Weight
24,725 lb
(11,215 kg)
MTOW
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) Strike Fighter Aircraft .
STANDARD:
2 x 20mm M39A2 internal cannons (assumed)

OPTIONAL:
Up to 7,000 lb of externally-held stores across seven hardpoints (including wingtips reserved for AAMs.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) family line.
Azarakhah ("Lightning") - Base Series Name; six of first generation completed with four of a second generation mark and one of a 3rd generation mark.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/12/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Iran received the first of its Northrop F-5 "Freedom Fighter" aircraft from the United States beginning in February of 1965 and these joined the Iranian Air Force at an operational level in June of that year. The original A- and B-model stocks were then sold off to make room in inventory for the F-5E and F-5F models ("Tiger II") that followed. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 eliminated any further deliveries of American-originated military equipment and forced a reliance other export nations friendly to the new regime or a decided evolution of current Iranian aero-industry prowess.

With the valuable experience in operating the F-5 line, the country eventually took to reengineering the F-5 line for its own purposes, producing all-new modern variants to fit ongoing over-battlefield requirements. One development was the HESA "Saeqeh" ("Thunderbolt") which appeared in 2007 for the fighter role (and is detailed elsewhere on this site). Twin, outward-canted vertical tail fins clearly differentiated this model from the original American design. Before this version was debuted, Iranian industry put together the foundation for what became the HESA "Azarakhsh" ("Lightning"), a strike fighter-minded off-shoot of the same F-5 Freedom Fighter / Tiger line.

The Azarakhsh, developed directly from the F-5E Tiger II model, was introduced for formal frontline service in 1997. It retains the same form and function of the original including its twin engine, twin intake arrangement, long and slender nosecone assembly, and low-mounted wing appendages. The aircraft is crewed by a sole operator and houses radar in its nose while being outfitted with missiles and holding an inherent capability to carry air-to-ground munitions in the form of conventional drop bombs, rocket pods and the like. The wingtip stations are reserved for short-ranged Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) that clearly resemble the American AIM-9 "Sidewinder". Unlike the Saeqeh, the Azarakhsh sees only a single tailfin fitted (as in the original F-5). Fixed standard armament is 2 x 20mm cannons with approximately 250 to 280 rounds afforded per gun.

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While performance specs remain largely under wraps, it is assumed that the Iranian aircraft displays some of the same numbers encountered with the original design. It is also assumed that the series still makes use of General Electric turbojet engines rated at about 5,000 lb thrust each with afterburner (3,500 lb thrust dry) which leads to a maximum speed of 1,050 miles per hour (Mach 1.6), a ferry range out to 2,300 miles, and a service ceiling up to 51,500 feet. Rate-of-climb may very well exceed 34,000 feet-per-minute.

American-made F-5E models were completed with Emerson Electric AN/APQ-153 and -159 series radars as well as AN/AVQ-27 Laser Target Designator Sets (LTDSs). Sources indicate the Azarakhsh to be of 2nd or 3rd Generation Fighter quality/capability (work on a possible 4th Generation Fighter form is unknown) and could carry these fits even today or an alternative, locally-derived radar fit instead.

Production of the system has reportedly been slow and a published three-year window called for some thirty or so aircraft to be delivered though this has not been verified. As such, its presence - and value - within the Iranian Air Force inventory is questionable.

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Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 6 Units

Contractor(s): Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (IAIO) / Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA) - Iran
National flag of Iran

[ Iran ]
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Image of the HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning)
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Going Further...
The HESA Azarakhsh (Lightning) Strike Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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