Three people died in the crash of an Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force Northrop F-5 fighter jet.
The aircraft crashed around 9 a.m. IRST (5:30 GMT) on February 21, 2022, in an urban area in Tabriz, north-western Iran. Multiple reports suggest the aircraft impacted a stadium near a school, which was closed at the time.
According to Al Jazeera, both pilots perished in the event. The third victim was a civilian, who died in a vehicle parked nearby.
Iranian news agency Tasnim reports that the pilots did not eject on purpose, and directed the falling aircraft into a stadium in an attempt to prevent casualties.
The aircraft was a two-seat training variant of Northrop F-5E, delivered to the Imperial Iranian Air Force in the 1970s.
Iran’s Air Force operates numerous variants of Grumman F-14 Tomcat, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and Northrop F-5. It also possesses small numbers of Russian-built MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-24as well as Chinese Chengdu J-7 and ex-Iraqi Mirage F-1.
In an attempt to modernize the air force, Iran has been building reverse-engineered F-5s named HESA Saeqeh. Despite these efforts, most of its aircraft predate Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979.