Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Technology

Iran Reverse Engineers Cobra Attack Helicopter 532

Posted by Soulskill
from the lightning-turnaround dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Continuing its tradition of reverse engineering and fabricating its stockpile of 40-year old American weaponry, Iran announced that it is about to unveil its first ever domestically produced Cobra attack choppers. Nearly 50 years after the U.S. introduced the legendary Bell AH-1 Cobra, once the backbone of the U.S. Army's attack helicopter fleet, Iran's locally-grown Cobras will be armed with 'different types of home-made caliber guns, rockets and missiles,' according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. 'All the phases of designing and manufacturing of the chopper have been done inside the country and the helicopter enjoys some capabilities which make it preferable to Apache Choppers,' says Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari. Iranian officials stress that Iran's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country, reports the FARS news release. More photos available here."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Iran Reverse Engineers Cobra Attack Helicopter

Comments Filter:
  • ..came on.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by martiniturbide (1203660) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:05PM (#40124491) Homepage Journal
    ...came on... make it open source. !!!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:08PM (#40124501)

      Some people have the weirdest fetishes.

    • Re:..came on.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @09:35PM (#40125391)

      Did anyone even bother to check the date of this so called news? The photo thread shows May 2010 as the posting date.

      Some of the photos in that thread are even 7-8 years old. The one about Pilot Helmet (post #21) show the defense minister of Iran in 10 years ago!!!

    • Re:..came on.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @10:15PM (#40125635)

      List of military equipments produced in Iran: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_equipment_manufactured_in_Iran [wikipedia.org]

      Iran has built :

      frigates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Frigate_Jamaran [wikipedia.org]
      fighter planes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa'eqeh [wikipedia.org]
      fully reverse engineered Bell 214: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_214 [wikipedia.org]
      stealth drone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofreh_Mahi [wikipedia.org]
      Normal drones: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karrar_(UAV) [wikipedia.org] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohajer [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ababil [wikipedia.org]
      long range radars like this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matla-ul-fajr [wikipedia.org]
      copies of Hawk SAM upgraded with phased array radars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mersad_(Air_Defense_System) [wikipedia.org]
      copy of SM-1(RIM-66) SAM: http://www.irandefence.net/showthread.php?t=70624 [irandefence.net]
      2nd country producing anti-ship ballestic missiles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalij_Fars [wikipedia.org]
      Sina class missile boats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_missile_boat_Paykan [wikipedia.org]
      Three classes of submarines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qaaem_Class_Submarine [wikipedia.org] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghadir_(submarine) [wikipedia.org] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahang_1 [wikipedia.org]

      To name a few.

      • Re:..came on.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:01PM (#40125927)

        considering they have 70 or so million people, which is about on par with France or the UK (actually slightly larger) you would expect them to be able to quite a diverse range of equipment.

        Given sanctions and their GDP you expect it to not necessarily be as good as comparable western productions, but it can still be in quantity and respectable quality.

  • I'm curious what their ability is as far as mass production. I'm also curious why they are producing a 40 year old variant instead of targeting a newer one - I suppose it's a lower barrier to entry and probably a lot easier to get pieces for...

    I find it interesting that they didn't release any specific armament specs. This may suggest they don't have any arms plants with sufficient production.
    • by ThePeices (635180) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:23PM (#40124585)

      I'm also curious why they are producing a 40 year old variant instead of targeting a newer one -

      Its a wee bit difficult to reverse engineer a helicopter that you dont own.

    • Re:Mass Production? (Score:5, Informative)

      by couchslug (175151) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @08:23PM (#40124971)

      They are great helicopters, and their size and simplicity are reasons the US Marine Corps still use both UH-1 and AH-1 variants.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_AH-1_Cobra [wikipedia.org]

      SuperCobra are up to a Z variant.

  • everyone will just copy whatever is developed.
  • lulz (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:13PM (#40124527)

    , Iran's locally-grown Cobras will be armed with 'different types of home-made caliber guns, rockets and missiles,' according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. 'All the phases of designing and manufacturing of the chopper have been done inside the country and the helicopter enjoys some capabilities which make it preferable to Apache Choppers,' says Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari. Iranian officials stress that Iran's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country,

    So, basically, you're copying 40 year old tech from your enemies, but because you can't buy the bullets or missiles to shoot, you're going to arm them with whatever you can cobble together. It's like Junkyard Wars, only with dictators instead of teams. Yeah... I can see why they say we shouldn't perceive it as a threat... but it's not because they're dangerous or anything. They'll probably kill more of their pilots in training flights than we would with a bombing run or twenty.

    • Re:lulz (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aurispector (530273) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:34PM (#40124671)

      They aren't really a military threat to anyone, at least not as a conventional military. It's doubtful they could produce reliable engines for this helicopter - even the chinese seem to have trouble with this.

      Who knows what they'll do when they finally make a nuke, but that's another issue.

      The main threat is their export of radical islamic revolution. This is a sideshow. Heck it might just be a dog and pony show and all they did was refurb an existing one.

    • Re:lulz (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @08:30PM (#40125013)

      So, basically, you're copying 40 year old tech from your enemies, but because you can't buy the bullets or missiles to shoot, you're going to arm them with whatever you can cobble together.

      You say that like they'll be building guns out of steel pipe and ball bearings. But the truth is, making guns in a new caliber and making ammunition to match is easy enough that some hobbyists do it in their garage.

      There are, apparently (I Am Not A Military Expert), valid military reasons to make your guns and ammunition incompatible with the enemy's. America and the rest of NATO were the first to use 5mm-caliber small arms - the M16, FAMAS, L86, etc. are all chambered for a standard 5.56mm round, and I believe most even have compatible magazines.

      The USSR and the rest of the Warsaw Pact could have used the same, but that would mean that, in a war, any ammunition supplies the enemy captured would be usable to them. While that would also mean that any ammunition supplies they captured could be used by them, they decided not to take that risk, and instead created an essentially-the-same-but-incompatible 5.45mm round. The Chinese, likewise, eventually created their own version, this one in 5.8mm. While none of their ammunition can be used in anothers' weapons, they have essentially the same performance characteristics.

      Iran is simply doing the same thing. Instead of using NATO-standard 7.62mm miniguns, 20mm autocannons, 40mm grenade launchers or 2.75" rockets, they'll use ones that are just slightly incompatible, but nearly identical in performance.

      From a theoretical standpoint, there's two reasons for doing so. One reason is economics - trying to stimulate their own arms industry, rather than import from others. If you mandate the use of incompatible ammunition and weapons, foreign production becomes useless, while the domestic industry gets nearly-guaranteed profitability.

      Another could be that they are more concerned about being invaded, rather than invading others. You are, after all, more likely to be the one capturing supplies, rather than having your supplies captured, when you are on the attack. History would seem to bear this view out - during the Cold War, neither side used intercompatible ammunition, and as it turns out, neither side much wanted to invade the other. The most notable case of cross-compatible weaponry was in WW2, when the British designed the Sten gun to use the same ammunition as the German MP40. And guess what (spoiler alert)? Britain later invaded Germany!

      OK, that's probably a massive simplification of things (remember, IANAME), but still, look at things from Iran's view for a second. The US, a country they have *very* poor relations with, just invaded two countries next to them and occupied them for years. And now it almost seems like they are, once again, manufacturing evidence of WMDs and putting out agitprop to get the citizens ready, once again, to invade some Middle-Eastern country. Even if they actually *are* guilty of trying to build nukes (honestly, I wouldn't be that surprised if they were), can you blame them for worrying that the 1st Armored is going to be driving towards Tehran sometime soon, and planning to defend themselves?

      • Re:lulz (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:32AM (#40126557) Homepage

        You say that like they'll be building guns out of steel pipe and ball bearings. But the truth is, making guns in a new caliber and making ammunition to match is easy enough that some hobbyists do it in their garage.

        That's making one, or at best a small handful of weapons that will babied on the range. It's cool and all... But it's not building weapons by the gross lot capable of withstanding field conditions, being maintained by the lowest common denominator, etc... That's a very different problem.
         

        I Am Not A Military Expert

        Yet, that doesn't stop you from pontificating at length.

    • by guttentag (313541) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @09:06PM (#40125231) Journal

      should not be perceived as a threat to any other country,

      They're not a threat to other countries. They're a threat to their own people [latimes.com]. Currently the regime discourages dissent and protests through beatings and jailings, but people still stand up against them. How many will still do so when threatened with a helicopter gunship... Whether it works as advertised or not?

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:14PM (#40124531)
    Blast them with patent infringement suits. The mullas are screwed now.
  • by porsche911 (64841) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:15PM (#40124545)

    I can see them off-shoring production to China and getting 100's a month. Their big problem is going to be training pilots fast enough.

    As far as the "age" - it was a good design then and is still a good design. Upgrade the weapons to something more modern and they are going to be very dangerous on a battlefield.

    • because all the trained ones go down thud. God/Allah/yo'momma forbid they ever try and fire any of that backyard armament. gas pipe ain't good gun barrels. and I'm not going to say why ;)

    • They are a fine design, presuming Iran has all the parts working right (there's more to making a perfect copy than making it look similar). However they've got nothing on modern choppers. It isn't even so much the actual bits that have to do with flying, but the electronics for communications and attack.

      What makes the AH-64D so fearsome is the whole "longbow system". So one helicopter with longbow radar, could even by a Cobra with it, sneaks forward and peaks its radar dome up over the trees or buildings. T

  • On the red plate in this http://www.jamejamonline.ir/Media/images/1389/02/11/X00873991516.jpg [jamejamonline.ir] picture is that writing in English?
    • by jonnythan (79727)

      Yeah, and so is the "Rescue" label and some other printing on the side of the cockpit. The plate says something like " TOP IMPORTANT REMOVE BEFORE OPERATIONAL FLIGHT."

      Why would they do that?

  • Have we made any advances in helicopter technology that is beyond Iran's reach? I understand the purpose of this article is to mock Iran, but what if they start copying nuclear weapons from that era? And how long will it take them to build equivalents to our modern helicopters?

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      The Cobra is a widely used and available helicopter. The US uses the chassis for forest fighting: they aren't exactly difficult to find or examine closely. They probably could have bought one on the open market (maybe even indirectly from the US itself). Nuclear weapons are slightly harder to find.

      However, with that said, the problem with building a nuclear weapon has never been (not for 40-50 years or so) the design. That is actually quite easy, most physics graduates could probably design you one. The ba

  • by datorum (1280144) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:40PM (#40124707)
    I just figured out that the "more photos" link actually points to a forum thread from 2010.
    • by Lancer (32120)
      Not only are the "more photos" two years old, they're pictures of upgraded American Cobras that were sold to Iran before the 1979 coup.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:52PM (#40124793)
    If you want to bring them to their knees accidentally loose some F-22s over Iran. If they tried to reverse engineer then deploy them it'd bankrupt the country. Even better yet would be a 30 year old Osprey prototype. The point is we're the only country that spends enough on their military to maintain such cutting edge aircraft. They can mimic 40 year old aircraft but the modern ones are too expensive to build and are drastically more expensive to maintain. It's not just that all they have access to is 40 year old aircraft it's that they were far more practical than modern aircraft. Look at the A-10s they are phasing out. They were wildly successful and the basic technology wasn't all that different than was used in the 50s. The joke is the technology has both gotten so good and so delicate as in the breakdown rate that far more planes are lost due to mechanical failure than enemy gunfire.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @08:04PM (#40124857)

    In related news, Adobe announced that the Iranian government has purchased several licenses of Photoshop CS6.

  • They often seem to portray President Ahmadenijad as one of the world's greatest geniuses. I expect to see a patriotic picture of him flying one of these.
  • by axlr8or (889713) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @08:46PM (#40125121)
    To fire the weapons, you must think in American
  • The photos show the "Cobras" sporting Royal Air Force roundels. Are these also used by the Iranian Air Force out of some love for the British occupation or is it just some sort of Photoshop fail?

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are?

Working...