Iran’s new stealth fighter jet caught out by bloggers in ‘faked’ Photoshop image blunder

News Commentary – Feb 14, 2013

There’s a curious double standard at work in the article below. Sure, it displays some scepticism about Iran’s stealth fighter but if only the same scepticism were displayed in regard to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Indeed, if the same sort of critical scepticism had been applied to claims about Saddam Weapons of Mass Destruction we might never have invaded and discovered that Saddam had no WMD to start with.
The same sort of healthy scepticism is all very well regarding Iran’s conventional armoury but it’s notably absent when it comes to similar claims about Western weapons.
For example, a few weeks ago Britain unveiled a new unmanned attack drone.
Capable of flying faster than the speed of sound and even selecting its own targets, the Taranis has yet to make its first test flight. Nonetheless, no one in the corporate media has suggested it is a fake or that the photos released to the press were of a mock up.
No, the Taranis is a prototype being prepared for its first test flight and the plane presented to the press may not have flown but it’s what the finished model will look like, eventually, when its finally been tested and approved for production.
So who is to say that the Iranian ‘stealth fighter’ isn’t a similar working prototype, like the Taranis being readied for its maiden flight?
Moreover, a similar level of scepticism is totally absent when it comes to claims about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. All the claims about Tehran’s nuclear program are treated as if they could be plausible and without the air of smirking cynicism evident in the article below.
Likewise, the U.S. is about to start testing a new carrier borne drone. Pictures of the X-47B in operation have already been released to the press where they were greeted without the sneering disbelief evident in the article below.
Cynicism aside there’s a real double standard at work here and in more ways than one. For the corporate media routinely ignores what is reported on the Internet’s independent news, except when it serves their purpose.
So why are they reporting on this and in this manner?
As we’ve noted, there is a double-edged strategy at play here. Numerous stories implying that Iran might be getting ready to produce WMD – just as there once was about Iraq – coupled with suggestions that Iran’s claimed conventional weapons technology are false.
So that if we have to face Iran militarily over its alleged WMD, the prospect might not seem so daunting. Because, after all, Iran’s claimed advanced conventional weapons are false anyway. Unlike its alleged WMD, which like Saddam’s pose a threat to us all and must be dealt with, or so it’s implied by our corporate media.
Nor is this sort of coverage confined to the ‘conservative’ media, which might be assumed to support a hard line against Iran. It can also be found in the more ‘liberal’ media like the Independent (below) and the Huffington Post; which only goes to show how ‘left’ and ‘right’ in Western politics are two arms of the same beast.
The article below is part of this game plan and follows a spate of similar pieces in the corporate Western media.

Iran’s new stealth fighter jet caught out by bloggers in ‘faked’ Photoshop image blunder

Adam Sherwin – The Independent Feb 13, 2013

The image of Iran’s new stealth fighter patrolling the skies was designed to induce awe among the country’s enemies. But Iran’s claim to military superiority crumbled after bloggers discovered that the jet had actually been superimposed upon snowy mountain peaks using Photoshop.

Experts had already expressed doubts over the Qaher-313, Iran’s second domestically-produced plane, unveiled this month at a special ceremony attended by President Ahmadinejad.

The jet, said to combine the features of the US F-35 and the F-22 fighters, could not fly because it was too small and made of plastic, critics claimed. Lacking rivets and bolts, the plane was a miniature model or a working prototype at best, aviation experts said.

So the Khouz News website published an image of the Qaher-313 in majestic flight, soaring over a mountain peak.

Iranian bloggers however spotted that the image of the plane was identical to that issued at the February 2 unveiling in Tehran. The angle of the plane, the reflection of the light and shadows were the same.

All that had changed was that the image had apparently been superimposed on to a background of Iran’s Mount Damavand, taken from the stock image site, and slightly lightened.

Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s Defence Minister, had claimed that the plane could fly low to avoid radar, carry a weapons payload and was constructed of “high-tech materials”.

However the “faked” flight shot confirmed the view of sceptics such as David Cenciotti, who writes for the Aviationist blog.

Analysing the initial image released by Iran he said the cockpit appeared to be too small to accommodate a human pilot, and was filled with controls “of a type you expect to find on small private planes”.

The plane appeared to be “nothing more than a large mock-up model made out of plastic”, lacking “the characteristic rivets (and) bolts all aircraft, including stealthy ones, feature.”

Mr Cenciotti said: “The air intakes are extremely small whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.”

Aviation magazine Flight International said that the poor-quality footage released by Iran of the aircraft in flight was most likely of a remote-controlled plane fashioned to resemble the Qaher-313.

John Reed, military and defence expert at Foreign Policy magazine, said: “It’s seriously unlikely that such an aircraft has room to carry the avionics, radars, electronic countermeasures, heat masking gear, and, most importantly for a fighter, the weapons that make modern stealth jets effective.”

Iran dismissed the doubts as “enemy propaganda.” But the publication of the photo on Khouz News, a website focusing on news from the southwest province of Khuzestan, suggests the regime is primarily seeking to impress an internal audience with “evidence” of scientific advancement.

Although the Islamic Republic may be no closer to building the perfect stealth fighter, it is getting better at using Photoshop. Previously Iran was caught out when the authorities digitally added a fourth missile to a 2008 picture of a missile test.

Claims that Iran successfully sent a monkey into space this month were questioned when two different animals were featured in the pictures released by state media.

Last year Iran claimed to have built the Koker 1, the world’s first vertically launching drone. After closer examination of the photos, pilot and blogger Gary Mortimer concluded that the design bore a striking similarity to a vehicle which had been built and launched by a team from Chiba University, Japan, in 2008.


Also see: F-313 Qaher (Conqueror) New Iranian Stealth Fighter

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