Despite the bravado about “capturing” an RQ-170 and then copying it, the truth is that Iran’s aerospace industry is in its infancy. Nowhere is this more aptly displayed than the latest airliner crash. The problem extends to its military aviation as well as the video from 2011 shows.
The Iran-140, a locally made copy of the Antonov An-140, apparently lost an engine on takeoff. This is the fourth Iran-140 crash in 12 years. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a directive grounding all Iran-140s until a government-led investigation uncovers the root cause. This should be straightforward.
Western sanctions are biting Iran’s aerospace and airline industry hard. Losing one engine on takeoff is not a sufficient reason for a twin engined aircraft to crash. Something more insidious may be at work here. For example, and this is speculation on our part, the aircraft may have been equipped with gray market parts which failed.
That western sanctions are working is clear. We do not intend to get into the politics of the case. But it also seems clear that Iran and its western interlocutors should hasten to work out differences that at least allow Iranian airlines access to parts and newer aircraft. The number of fatal Iranian aircraft accidents is shocking.