New pictures circulating on the internet appear to show Iran's secret indigenous Sa'egheh fighter-bomber flying in formation with a Northrop F-5E Tiger, on which it is modelled, on a test bombing mission. Additionally, images showing a new Iranian fighter have also surfaced.

Iranian state media in Tehran say the country's military has carried out a successful test flight of Saequeh ("Thunderbolt"), a reverse-engineered F-5 with a revised butterfly tail configuration in place of the original vertical tail surface armed with weapons. Flight International reported the first flight of the Sa'egheh ("Thunder"), believed top be the same project, from the Hamedan air base on 8 July 2004. The reports say the locally-made jet carries missiles of the same name.

Iranian F-5s W445

Iran's armed forced chief of staff, Ataollah Salehi, says the new fighter carried out a mock bombing mission on Wednesday in northwestern Iran.

The Saequeh/Sa'egheh also features a raked engine inlet. Iran has released few official details of the aircraft programme, born from a desire to upgrade its ageing US-sourced equipment including its fleet of F-5s and Grumman F-14As.

A second photograph series (below) has appeared supposedly showing another fighter full-sized model or prototype in a hangar in Iran, with an airframe visually resembling that of a Yakovlev Yak-130.

New Iranian fighter