Iran’s “Stealth Fighter”

In the spirit of trying to run with the big boys, Iran has unveiled its first “stealth fighter”.  Yes, that’s right – Iran now has a high-tech stealth dog in the fight.  At least that is what they’d like us to believe.  I’m providing a link to an article covering the unveiling of this modern miracle which took place in Tehran.  I’m no expert in the field of aerodynamics, but the airworthiness of this craft is suspect to say the least.

Iranian Stealth Fighter

Take a quick stroll through the photos posted with the news article at arstechnica.com. It will be worth your time.

It doesn’t take an expert to see that this craft (I feel guilty calling it an aircraft) will never fly.  The placement of the intakes leads me to believe you almost need negative AOA to get airflow to the engine (which apparently doesn’t exist).  You typically need some form of thrust in order to get airborne unless you are on drugs or have entered the magical world of Peter Pan.  I think the former may apply to the engineers in Iran.

Iranian Stealth Fighter Cockpit

Not only are they trying to pass this off as an actual aircraft, they have even gone to great lengths to photoshop the “jet” airborne.  I think I could have done a better job at photo editing when I was in high school using the old green-screen Mac.

Nevertheless, such an unveiling should raise several questions in our minds.  Why does Iran feel they need to put on a show for the rest of the world?  If they are willing to fabricate such a ridiculous claim regarding a stealth aircraft, what other claims have they invented?  How can they expect to be taken seriously on the world stage when they do crap like this?  Didn’t China do something similar with the video clips of Top Gun?

I think it all comes down to fear.  The leadership regime of the Ayatollah has been able to survive based on fear, not competence.  I believe the good citizens of Iran – yes, I think we need to separate the sheep from the shepherd on this one – spend more time fearing for their lives than they do learning and studying how to build an actual stealth fighter.  By trying to expand its strategy of fear in the form of duping the leaders of countries around the world, Iran is only further isolating and alienating itself.  Just because a doctrine of fear has worked with the citizens of Iran does not mean it will work with anyone else.  The regime has obviously become so confident that it has lost touch with reality.

This leads me to a lesson we can all take away: Never should your confidence outweigh your competence.  This lesson applies just as much to us as pilots as it does to the Ayatollah.  We should never think we have something so locked down that we are invulnerable.  There is always the possibility that human imperfection may crop up.  Just because you say something confidently doesn’t mean you’re right.  You may lead some people to believe you in the short term, but you’ll just end up looking like a complete moron in the end.

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