HESA Azarakhsh

HESA Azarakhsh on display at Vahdati Air Base
Role Strike fighter
Manufacturer Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA)
Introduction 1997
Status In service [1]
Primary user Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
Number built 6 [2]
Developed from Northrop F-5E Tiger II
Developed into HESA Saeqeh

The HESA Azarakhsh (Persian: آذرخش Āzaraxš, "lightning") is a jet fighter aircraft manufactured by the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA). It is Iran's first domestically manufactured combat jet fighter.[3] It is widely regarded as a reverse engineered variant of the American Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tiger II.[2]

The Azarakhsh was developed in Isfahan by the Iranian army; the Iranian Defense Ministry; and aircraft-manufacturing company HESA.[4]

Design and development

In April 1997 Iranian Brigadier General Arasteh, a deputy head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, declared that Iran had successfully designed, constructed and tested its first fighter aircraft. By late 1997 Iran had begun mass-producing the aircraft [2] and by mid-2000 four aircraft were said to be undergoing operational tests, with production proceeding at a rate of around ten aircraft per year.

Iran has yet to release any additional information about the aircraft and its capabilities are unknown.

On May 17, 2000, Iran's acting commander of the Air Force said that Azarakhsh had reached mass-production stage.[5] On August 5, 2007, Azarakhsh conducted a successful test flight.[6] On August 6, 2007, Ministry of Defense Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said, "[Azarakhsh] is now at the stage of industrial production and its mass production will start in the future." [7]


Mass production started by late 1997 and as of 2001 there were six in service, with a production schedule established for 30 aircraft over the following three years.[2]


Main article: HESA Saeqeh

The HESA Saeqeh is a follow on aircraft, derived from the Azarakhsh fighter. As with many previous indigenous Iranian developed weapons, no performance data has been released to verify official claims. An unknown number of this generation have been built and are reported to have entered service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) on September 22, 2007.[8][9]

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


Wikimedia Commons has media related to HESA Azarakhsh.
  1. "Global Security".
  2. 1 2 3 4 GlobalSecurity.org Azarakhsh (Lightning)
  3. Tel Aviv University Publication, Analysis by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
  4. John Pike. "Azarakhsh". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  5. Pavyand.com Payvand's Iran News
  6. Azarakhsh fighter conducts successful test flight IRNA
  7. New fighter plane tested successfully: Defense minister IRNA
  8. IRNA 4th, 5th generations of Sa'eqe jet fighters to be produced January 5, 2008
  9. Payvand News Saeqeh fighter planes tested successfully in Iran September 20, 2007
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