The HESA Azarakhsh (Thunder) is Iran non-serial, single-seat, twin engine jet strike fighter/interceptor aircraft developed during 1990s. Primary user is Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. In April 1997, Iranian General Arasteh, claimed that Iran had successfully tested its first strike fighter aircraft, based of Northrop F-5, the HESA Azarakhsh (Thunder).
The Azarakhsh was selected by the Iran Air Force as a replacement for the American Northrop F5 and F-4 Phantom II. The Mass production never started and as of 2010 there were 10 prototypes in inventory. It have powerful American General Electric engines 17,000 lbf (76 kN), and had a length and enlarge fuselage, accommodating lot of fuel. Its wings were fitted with enlarged leading edge extensions, giving an increased wing area and high maneuverability. The aircraft’s avionics were sophisticated, crucially including N-019 Topaz radar. The Azarakhsh have the ability to track down enemy aircraft, engage in combat, target locations on the ground, and carry an assortment of weapons and ammunition.
The Azarakhsh final version seen in 2008 had finer lines, a ram air inlet aft of the wing and leading edge extension (LEX) “teeth” in the wings. The most visible feature is that the basic layout of the plane has been changed from a low wing aircraft with air inlets above the wing to a mid-wing aircraft with inlets below the wings. The wings were probably set higher to allow wider choice of armament.
The HESA Azarakhsh flying range is 2,950 km. It length is 14.4 meters (47 ft 4 in) and wingspan is 8.13 meters (26 ft 8 in). The height of this aircraft is 4.05 meters and empty weight is 5,000 kg (12,500 lb).