The Shafaq (also written Shafagh, Shafag, or Shakhab, meaning "Before the dawn") was described as a look-a-like of the YF-17. The Shafaq is an advanced Light Attack/Trainer aircraft designed by the Aviation University Complex (AUC), part of the Malek Ashtar University of Technology. The Shafaq was reportedly a subsonic aircraft, made of radar-absorbing material. It has a large leading edge root extension (LERX) and a root aft of the wing, giving it an unusual circular sub-section. The Shafaq drawings show a subsonic attack aircraft with an empty weight of just over 11,000 pounds, an overall length of about 46 feet and a 39-foot wingspan. The design included seven stores hardpoints-three beneath each wing and one beneath the aircraft's fuselage centerline.
Reportedly there were plans are to produce three versions, a one-seat fighter, a two-seat light attack aircraft and a two-seat operational trainer. Other reports suggested that the Shafaq would be built in three variants, which include a two-seat trainer, two-seat light attack and a one-seat light attack variant. Shafagh would incorporate various technologies of materials developed for the Azarakhsh. It is speculated that the Shafagh will be powered with the Russian Turbojet Klimov RD-33 used on the MIG-29.
The design for a new Iranian light attack aircraft appeared to be a replay of a light fighter design developed around the end of the Cold War at the Mikoyan design bureau in Moscow. The design of a nearly identical aircraft was set forward for the Russian Air Force as both as a light multi-role fighter, and as an operational trainer.
Developed at Malek Ashtar University of Technology in Tehran, the project was initiated as an "educational exchange program" with Russia. More than 20 designers formerly employed at leading Soviet design bureaus Mikoyan and Sukhoi went to Tehran to develop the aircraft's planform and complete a full-up detailed design.
Despite the obvious connection to previous Russian design studies, a Malek Ashtar University of Technology official named insisted that "this is not a Russian-inspired" idea and that the Shafaq "concept started in Iran and is finished in Iran." At the start of the program Iran received help from Russia, but Russia later backed away from this project and Iran carried on the project by itself.
The otherwise unrenowned Soviet aircraft designer Fatidin Mukhamedov, D.Sc., said his company had been developing the "Integral" configuration since 1985. He said that multiple aerodynamic tests of various versions testified to the fact that the configuration could be used for aircraft of various types. Mukhamedov displayed the Shafaq design at the 1993 Dubai airshow, where the TOO 'Eurasia' company (later OKB 'Mukhamedov') introduced a long-term "integral" configuration combat aircraft project. Mukhamedov's first project was the "Eurasia-700" super capacity aircraft, unveiled in Le Bourget in 1993. The Shafag program had been funded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) rather than the regular armed forces.
In 2001, the "Integral" configuration was granted the first patent. This multifunctional fighter comprised a wing with a center section embodied in the form of a profiled disc, and was provided with a leading and rear edge arranged along a common line. Outer wings sections were connected to the center section. Outer wing sections embodied a curve and the aircraft was equipped with a droop nose. It was claimed that the point of application of the summarized positive or negative ascensional power of the aircraft at the motion of the rotatable outer wings was maximum approaching the point of aerodynamic center point of the aircraft, making it possible to fly the fighter without changing a longitudinal moment thereof in the ascensional power controlling system.
By late 2002 the first flight was planned for August 2004. By 2003 a 1/7 scale model of the Shafaq had completed testing in the AUC's wind tunnel and pictures had been revealed which showed that a Full-scale model had been built. By 2005 all that was known to exist of the Shafaq, other than paper drawings, were models and a full-scale mockup that had been seen on Iranian television. By 2005 the aircraft was to be rolled out for flight tests in 2008.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|