Iran's Qaher (Conqueror/Omnipotent) F-313 'stealth fighter' has undergone taxi trials that were broadcast on national media and posted to YouTube on 15 April. The aircraft - serial 08 - can be seen performing low-speed ground trials during the three minute report shown on IRIBnews.
While the single-seat aircraft looks broadly similar to the mock-up of the newly designed and developed domestic combat aircraft that was unveiled in early 2013, a number of modifications appear to have been made.
When it was first revealed on 2 February 2013, the original aircraft was immediately met with almost universal derision from the international press with design features that showed the aircraft to be fundamentally flawed. These included (but were not limited to) features that suggested no fly-by-wire control of the aircraft, poorly positioned air inlets, and an almost comically small cockpit (complete with a Perspex canopy).
While the recently broadcast footage shows the F-313 to be broadly similar in nature to the mock-up, some changes are apparent. While the original had shown a single-engined configuration, the new aircraft is a twin-engined designed. It has a beefed-up undercarriage, complete with a twin nosewheel; a two-piece canopy in place of the single-piece one of the mock-up; and is now at least large enough to accommodate a pilot.
Even so, many of the previously revealed design flaws remain. These include too small and poorly positioned air inlets that would likely cut air flow to the engines at even the slightest angle-of-attack; a wing-chord that is too thick for high speed performance; a retractable sensor turret that would limit the aircraft's speed when deployed; engines that appear to have no exhaust nozzles; and an overall design configuration that looks far from stealthy in just about every aspect. Aside from the apparent design flaws, a feature of the footage that casts doubt over the veracity of the aircraft is that the rudders do not seem to move in sync with the nosewheel, as should normally be the case.
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