A senior Air Force commander praised Iran’s capability as the only country, besides the US, that can overhaul F14 fighter jets, adding that Iranian experts have mounted new radar and weapons systems on the aircraft to optimize it for new missions.

“We can firmly say that the only place in the world that F14 fighters are overhauled is Isfahan (base in Central Iran),” Deputy Commander of Air Force 8th Air Base Colonel Asqar Shafiyee told FNA on Sunday.

He also said that Iran has mounted its hi-tech home-made radar system on its F14 fighters, adding that the new radars are under durability tests.

“Also to prepare the fighter for air-to-ground assault missions, we have equipped the F14 fighters with air-to-ground missiles and with bombing capability,” Pilot Shafiyee added.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in the defense sector and gained self-sufficiency in essential military hardware and defense systems.

The country has repeatedly made it clear that its military might is merely based on the state’s defense doctrine of deterrence and that it poses no threat to other countries.

Iran on Wednesday announced plans to unveil a new home-made fighter jet in the near future.

“The Aviation Industry Organization plans to build new fighter jets based on the operational needs of forces,” Acting Chairman of the Iran Aviation Industry Organization Amir Karim Bani Tarafi said.

“Iran’s new fighter jet will be unveiled soon,” he added.

“In addition to fighter jets, building training jets is also on our agenda,” Bani Tarafi underlined, adding that the organization was trying to use fully indigenized equipment in its fighter jets.

Earlier this month, Iran unveiled a new home-made combat fighter, named Saeqeh 2 (Thunderbolt 2), which can also be used for training purposes.

“The double-cockpit supersonic fighter jet, which has been designed and built by the defense ministry’s aerospace industries organization in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force, can be used for combat missions, close-range cover and backup in tactical missions, and also advanced pilot training programs,” Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said, addressing the unveiling ceremony.

He said the aircraft had been built on the basis of a new design which had maximized its combat power, adding that the plane had also been equipped with advanced electro-avionics and weapons systems to train pilots for flying with the existing or new heavy fighters.

Also early February, a senior Iranian Air Force commander announced that the country was planning to build a new high-tech combat aircraft capable of tracing US and Israeli modern and stealth planes.

“… we will manufacture an aircraft on Saeqeh platform which will be equipped with Fourth generation (and even higher) avionics …,” Commander of Air Force’s Owj Complex Colonel Houshang Monfaredzadeh said in an exclusive interview with FNA.

He reiterated that Iran was reaching a level of expertise that it would soon be able to manufacture a totally different aircraft in terms of electronic, radar and avionic systems as well as weaponry equipment.

Asked why Saeqeh platform was used for developing new planes, Colonel Monfaredzadeh said, “In all parts of the world it is the same and they choose the platform of one of their aircraft (for developing others) and we have also selected Saeqeh for this purpose …”

In September 2010, Iran displayed the first squadron of its Saeqeh fighters in an air show staged during the military parades at the beginning of the Week of Sacred Defense, marking Iranians’ sacrifices during the 8 years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s.

In September 2011, the Iranian Air Force’s first squadron of home-made Saeqeh fighter jets started operations during the large offensive air drills codenamed “Fadaeeyan-e Harim-e Vellayat III” in Northwestern Iran.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Air Force Brigadier General Alireza Barkhor announced in February 2014 that the new model of Iran’s home-made Saeqeh jet fighter would be unveiled in the future.

“We will fly the new model of Iran’s new Saeqeh fighter very soon,” Brigadier General Barkhor said.

Also in the same month, Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah Safi announced that his forces had focused all their power and energy on building fighter jets as they believed that future wars were fought and won in the sky.

“It is obvious that future wars will be in the sky with massive air and missile raids; therefore, the Air Force has adopted a new approach and focused all its internal power on building fighter jets in a self-driven, but organized way,” Shah Safi said, addressing foreign states’ military attachés in Iran.

He said that the Iranian Air Force’s efforts had resulted in the building of Saeqeh fighter jets.

Yet, the Air Force commander reiterated the defensive doctrine of the Islamic Republic, saying Tehran had the narrowest military budget among the regional countries.