Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Report: Iran acquiring fighter jets that are based on Israeli technology

The Jerusalem Post

Iran has signed a deal with China to purchase 24 J-10 fighter jets between 2008 and 2010, Russian news agency Novosti reported. The jets were developed based on the technology of Israel's Lavi fighter jet, whose technology was sold to China against the wishes of the US.

Novosti stated that the J-10 has a range of 2,940 kilometers, bringing it within range of Israel. Iran's current MiG-29 jets have a range of 2,100 kilometers.

A Russian military expert, quoted by the agency, said that Iran plans to use the new aircraft as part of its defense of the Bushehr nuclear facility in the face of a possible attack.

The Israeli Lavi fighter jet was developed in the 1980s but the project was canceled following pressure from America, which feared that the new jet would compete with its F-16 in international markets. The US subsequently sold F-16s to Israel at reduced costs.

China began developing the J-10 in 2004 and currently has 89 aircraft in active service.

Novosti added that no response was given by the Prime Minister's office.

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