U.S. F-22 stealth fighter pilot taunted Iranian F-4 Phantom combat planes over the Persian Gulf

Sep 19 2013 - 295 Comments

Earlier this year, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, said that an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) F-4 Phantom combat plane attempted to intercept a U.S. MQ-1 drone flying in international airspace off Iran.

As we reported back then, one of the two F-4 Phantom jets came to about 16 miles from the UAV but broke off pursuit after they were broadcast a warning message by two American planes escorting the Predator.

The episode happened in March 2013, few months after a two Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes operated by the Pasdaran (informal name of the IRGC – the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) attempted to shoot down an American MQ-1 flying a routine surveillance flight in international airspace some 16 miles off Iran, the interception of the unmanned aircraft failed. After this attempted interception the Pentagon decided to escort the drones involved in ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance)  missions with fighter jets (either F-18 Hornets with the CVW 9 embarked on the USS John C. Stennis whose Carrier Strike Group is currently in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility or F-22 Raptors like those deployed to Al Dhafra in the UAE.

New details about the episode were recently disclosed by Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh who on Sept. 17 not only confirmed that the fighter jets providing HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) were F-22 stealth fighters but also said that:

“He [the Raptor pilot] flew under their aircraft [the F-4s] to check out their weapons load without them knowing that he was there, and then pulled up on their left wing and then called them and said ‘you really ought to go home’”

If the episode went exactly as Welsh described it, it was something more similar to Maverick’s close encouter with Russian Mig-28s in Top Gun movie than a standard interception.

It would be interesting to know how the Raptor managed to remain stealth (did they use their radar? were they vectored by an AWACS? etc.) and why it was not the E-2 most probably providing Airborne Early Warning in the area to broadcast the message to persuade the F-4 to pursuit the drone before the Iranian Phantoms and the U.S. Raptors got too close in a potentially dangerous and tense situation?

Anyway the U.S. pilot achieved to scare the Iranian pilots off and save the drone. A happy ending worthy of an action movie.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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  • Christopher Lairdriver

    oh really? what is then? The F22 Raptor IS the most advanced Fighter Jet out there. The Russians don’t have anything close and neither does anyone else. Models and mock ups don’t count.

  • NHdan Rides

    doesn’t it defeat the purpose of having unmanned drones if they have to be escorted by stealth fighters? It would seem to me that if the stealth fighters have to be there anyway …why not just have them conduct the surveillance missions?

  • Maham

    Hi. Dear Sev. your judjement is extremely biased in favour of the US. but it doesn’t change the fact. Firstly, all those sayings like Israel should be wiped off from the map or anything like this has more an internal and domestic use. Secondly, During 8 year Iran-Iraq war which started by Iraqi forces invading iran, America sold chemical weapons that were used against iranians in that war and no one including united nations bragged about it. 20 years later, US attacked iraq with absolutely no evidence! and now what you eat everyday is a dream for many iraqi people.
    However, the Third part of the discussion is even more important. What is obvious here is both US and Iran governments are not true representatives of their people (nor Israeli government or any other). They’re are highly profit and power-oriented with absolutely no morality. If you reach the reality that both of these governments want to bring the other down to their knees, I think the best way is for both of them to have Nuke. Otherwise imagine a scenario that Iran had Nukes and US didn’t. As an Iranian I see in my everyday life how things are being forced to us (e.g. sanctions) and we have no choice but to go with it. At least if both of them have nukes these threatenings and pressures would be less and maybe (1%) a way to peace would be found since both will know the other can be a real threat.

    • Max Glazer

      At last a voice of reason in here. Stay strong Iran. Don’t allow west turn you into another Syria

  • guayacan

    Typical yank bullshit. It was an RAF fact, but the yanks love their propaganda.

    • Ryan E

      yeah its all yank fantasizing , go home inbred

  • disqus_v3SHzvCspj

    Your post is laden with half-truths, lies, exaggerations and propaganda. Tell it to the French.

    • Max Glazer

      Really? Go ahead and disprove. You are the one that had been brainwashed by western propaganda. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • Headrick

    Our military has been severely diminished by Obama and his current administration. Our military will not need to think about action movies. They may get all the action they can handle. Obama is a fool and it may cost us and our military.

  • irani pilot

    Hi all, U.S. F-22 Raptor aircraft Why by Optical system Moderns of F-4 phantom irani,s Image not There

    I am an Iranian Air Force pilot , the F-4 phantom pilot

    But this picture is the F-22 American That Iranian F-4-phantom imaging has

    [IMG]http://www.arteshi.com/hamyar_upc.php?file=1399464460128119_0f-22-targeted.jpg[/IMG]

  • jim

    your logic is flawed, your vitriol is baseless, and your supposition is unsopported by recent and past history.
    A weapon is only classified as a deterrent by cultures that feel they have more to lose than to win by its use, and also that understand the actual probabilities of success/failure in its use. There is no reaon to believe that Islamic Fundamentlist cultures (and some others, North Korea for example) will not use every weapon at thier disposal to further thier goals, unrestrained by consequences or likleyhood of failure. in this case, the destruction of Israel, or the direct attack on Western governments.
    All of the bad behavior and transgressions of governments in the past, 50, 60, or hundreds of years ago is what we have learned from in deciding what is acceptable behavior going forward. To propose that because one country did something that we now agree should be avoided (whether it be nuclear weapon strike by US, wholesale execution of prisoners by Japan, Forceful takeovers of neighboring countries by USSR, British colonialism a centuery ago, or targeted terrorism on non-combatant populations by Al Queda) , you simply decide that the behavior needs to be curtailed in the future. That is called learning and the advancement of himan behaviour through shared experience.
    The countries that posess nuclear weapons have demostrated the ability to restrict and prevent usage for 70 years. In the collective judgement of that group of countries, it is unwise for that circle to grow, simply because of the increased likleyhood that new nuclear powers may use the weapon and start a nuclear exchange whose consequences will be significant for the planet. (remember, current nuclear weapons are thousands of times greater in destructive power than the first two bombs detonated in Japan) In these cases it is the unfortunate responsibility of the current nations with the power to prevent this potential problem to do so. This has been a collaborative decision by many countries, not a unilateral decision by the US, so to infer different does not rise to a level of credibility. Just because you apparently do not “like” the US, is insufficient excuse for departing from the truth.
    much has also been written about the use of the bomb in Japan to end WW II. Much more prevalent a theory for deployment is a simple calcuation on the probable loss of life (Japanese as well as American) caused by an invasion of Japan, vs. the use of the Atom Bomb. For you to assert that US used the bomb for no reason, and that Japan was about to surrender because of other reasons (like USSR victories in China) is completely unsupported by historical fact, and is irresponsible. When that decision was made, the US had just finished “decimating” the Japanese across the entire South Pacific, at great cost to both sides. But there was every indication that Japan would defed its homeland at the cost of many more lives. Who they decided to surrender to is irellevant in this discussion, but the facts also show that anyone who had a choice of who to surrenrender to anywhere in WW 2 chose the West vice the Soviets, with good reson it turns out.
    None of this is meant to convince you of anything. It’s clear you have already arrived at some curious beliefs. But if you choose to run off at the mouth in a public forum without regard to logic, history and rational though, you should be called on it.

  • tom

    Why navy calls a f22 mails away from action zoon and kill time and put its drone in dangerious and doesnt use its f18s to do protection mission …….i dont buy this story…….

  • crabberdawg

    So, are you now claiming that no missiles were fired by Soviet pilots at the SR-71 because do to so would have been “a waste”? There are many accounts from both sides that contradict this claim. That the SR-71 was too fast to be *successfully* fired upon doesn’t mean the Soviets didn’t try, many times.

    • Max Glazer

      There had been no incidents of MiG-31 has fired upon SR-71. Older MiGs and Sus would have. MiG-31 isn’t as fast as SR-71 but is fast enough to get SR-71within no-escape zone of its missiles for long enough to get a firing solution and shoot. R-33 climbs right up and then dives onto target to maximize its energy to reach longer range.

      Just for your information if there is no firing solution (which means basically that plane is close enough for missile to chase it down) then there is thus no lock and the missile would go ballistic. It wouldn’t go anywhere near target. In which case it is a total waste. Also attacking SR-71 over international waters is an act of war which USSR didn’t want.

      So as I said. Arrival of MiG-31 and S-300 were at least partially responsible for SR-71s retirement.
      If only because S-300 is a mobile SAM which can take out TBMs and thus SR-71 isn’t a problem for it. Same goes for MiG-31. It is a cruise-missile interceptor and its avionics and missile were designed to address MiG-25s inability to intercept SR-71 as MiG-25s missiles didn’t have enough range, weren’t fast enough in a chase aspect while the radar couldn’t handle the closure rate if from dead-ahead.

  • kim

    How do you escort a drone with a max speed of 115 knots, with a fighter with even a landing speed of almost double that?