Iran originally bought close to 200 F-5s from Northrop Grumman in the 1970s. Most of these had been cannibalized in the years following first the Iranian Revolution and then the Iran-Iraq War to make up for normal attrition and war losses. The IIAF acquired over 100 F-5As during the 1960s and early 1970s. Most were sold to the South Vietnam Air Force, Greece or Jordan, eventually leaving the IRIAF with the 13 which are now either converted or awaiting conversion.
When the IRIAF was short of two-seat jet trainer aircraft, HESA embarked on a program called ''Simorgh'' to convert stored Northdrop F-5A's into F-5B two-seater models. So far six F-5As have been converted and the seventh is due to be rolled out shorthly, apparently a total of 13 F-5As will be upgraded. The modification necessitated to reconstruction of almost the entire front section. All the F-5As and converted F-5Bs were stored at HESA's Shanin Shahr factory where the conversions are carried out.
The Simorgh is a locally conducted Iranian conversion of single seat F-5A fighters to dual seat F-5B fighter-trainers, with the work being done by by the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (IAMI) at Shahin Shahr Isfahan. Iranian engineers managed the conversion by using cockpit instrumentation from cannibalized aircraft and ejection seats from the UK's Martin-Baker. All the work was done without any access to the factory tooling or other technical assistance from the original manufacturer, Northrop. Iran spent many years attempting to accumulate various parts for the F-5 series on the open market, achieving moderate success and even obtaining enough parts to attempt reverse engineering of the General Electric J85 engine.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|