Kowsar is Iran’s first indigenous fighter jet. Image courtesy of Iranian Ministry of Defence.
The Kowsar fighter jet was developed by Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO). Image courtesy of Iranian Ministry of Defence.
The maiden flight of Kowsar aircraft was conducted in August 2018. Image courtesy of Iranian Ministry of Defence.
The mass production of Kowsar fighter jet began in November 2018. Image courtesy of Iranian Ministry of Defence.

Kowsar fighter jet is a fourth-generation fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by state-owned Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO). It is the first fighter jet developed in Iran.

The development of Kowsar fighter aircraft has gained much more significance due to an arms embargo imposed by the US.

Designed to upgrade and strengthen the aerial defence capabilities of Iran, the aircraft is deployed by the Iran Army and Iran Air Force. It can also be used to support the training activities of fighter pilots.

The fighter jet replaces Iran’s age-old fighter aircraft, which were imported from the US and Russia. It also reduces Iran’s dependence on foreign countries for defence imports.

Three Kowsar fighter jets were delivered to Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force in June 2020.

Kowsar fighter jet development details

Kowsar’s development began in 2009 and the first prototype was exhibited at the MAKS 2017 international air show held at Zhukovsky international airport, Moscow, Russia, in July 2017. It is designed to perform close air support (CAS) and light attack operations.

The fully developed version of the aircraft was officially unveiled by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Company, an affiliate of IACO in August 2018. The fighter jet demonstrated its capabilities during its maiden flight in the same month.

A new production line for the manufacturing of Kowsar has been set up at Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Company. Full-scale production of the aircraft commenced with the inauguration ceremony of the production line in November 2018. The aircraft flew over Tehran during the military parade at Iran’s annual National Army Day in April 2019.

Kowsar fighter jet design and features

The design configuration of the Kowsar fighter jet is based on the F-5 Tiger aircraft. The optimised airframe design offers superior performance by reducing the drag caused by harsh winds.

Its wings are mounted low on the extended fuselage section while the rear fuselage is integrated with the inverted Y tail configuration. The empennage features a vertical stabiliser in the middle and two horizontal stabilisers mounted on the sides.

The forward section houses a sharp-pointed nose section, while its large canopy offers a clear view of the surroundings. The aircraft can accommodate two pilots in a tandem seating configuration.

Kowsar is fitted with a retractable tricycle type landing gear comprising a single wheel unit under the nose section and two individual wheel units under the fuselage section.

The aircraft has a length of 40.68ft (12.4m), height of 11.48ft (3.5m), and wingspan of 35.99ft (10.97m).

With an empty weight of 5,346lb (2,425kg), the fighter jet can fly at a maximum altitude of 49,213ft (15,000m). It has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 13,618lb (6,177kg).

Avionics and armament

Kowsar features a state-of-the-art cockpit equipped with an advanced flight deck and avionics suite. It also integrates next-generation radar technology and hydraulically actuated flight controls.

The light attack aircraft comes with multiple hard-points under the fuselage section and wings. The hard-points can be armed with a range of weapon systems to enhance the firepower of the aircraft.

Kowsar fighter jet engine and performance

Kowsar fighter jet is equipped with two J90 turbofan engines, which have a maximum rated thrust of 5,000lb (2,268kg) each.

The power-plant enables the aircraft to attain a maximum speed of 1,500km/h. The aircraft can fly to a maximum range of 2,200km without any mid-air supplies. The higher climbing rate of 7,620m/min ensures the Kowsar fighter jet to reach higher altitudes within a short time.