Category Archives: Iran

Photos of World’s last active service F-14 Tomcat jets overhauled in Iran

The Iranian Air Force is the last operator of the legendary F-14 Tomcat.

The photos in this article were recently released by FARS News Agency.

They show some Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-14 Tomcat jets be overhauled at an unspecified location (Tehran Mehrabad International Airport according to some sources).

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 2

Iran still operates some Tomcats that are being modernized to F-14AM (“Modernized”) standard to extend their operative life until 2030. Domestic upgrades include avionics (radar and RWR) and weapons: R-73E, AIM-54A, AIM-7E and AIM-9J are among the air-to-air missiles adapted to the aircraft’s fire control system.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 3

The Iranian Tomcats can also carry the AIM-54A+ “Fakour-90” missile: a domestically upgraded, partially reverse engineered version of the famous AIM-54 Phoenix long range missile of the U.S. Navy F-14s.

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The IRIAF F-14s are also being given a three-tone Asian Minor II camouflage pattern loosely resembling the “splintered” one adopted by Russian 4th and 5th generation fighter planes and U.S. Aggressors.

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Tehran is believed to operate a fleet of about 60 F-14s even if the number of combat capable aircraft is unknown. According to some rumors, there would be plans to use the Tomcat in the air-to-ground role as well.

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Anyway, in some way or another one Tehran managed to keep the F-14s airworthy, a significant achievement considered the embargo on Iran and the consequent lack of spare parts for the Tomcats.

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F-14 IRIAF overhauled top

Image credit: FARS News agency

H/T to user “ASFTD” on ACIG forum for the heads-up

 

Iran destroys mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval wargames

Do you remember Iran’s mock Nimitz class flattop? Here’s what it was built for.

On Feb. 25, a mock U.S. aircraft carrier, was destroyed by missiles launched by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps missiles during the IRGC Navy’s massive Payambar-e Azam 9 (The Great Prophet 9) drills in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

The model had first appeared in April last year, when images of the mock USS Nimitz class ship being assembled in an Iranian shipyard on the Persian Gulf had spread through social media.

Although the purpose of the fake carrier was not clear back then we mentioned the possibility the giant warship (adorned with several airplanes) might have built to test weapons or serve as a training tool to develop tactics to attack a U.S. flattop in the Persian Gulf exploiting its vulnerabilities.

According to the FARS News Agency, the model came under attack and was destroyed by missiles and rockets fired from tens of IRGC speedboats; also a number of the IRGC cruise and two ballistic missiles were fired at the mock US aircraft carrier.

H/T to Giuliano Ranieri for the heads-up

 

Video shows Iranian Aircraft buzz U.S. Navy Destroyer, warn it to leave exercise area in Strait of Hormuz

Footage shows Iranian Naval Aviation Fokker 27 warn a U.S. Navy destroyer to leave training area

Several aircraft belonging to the the Iranian Air Force, Navy and Army are currently taking part in Joint Exercise “Mohammad Rasullollah.”

During the drills, Tehran’s maritime patrol aircraft overflying the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman have had some close encounters with U.S. Navy and UAE vessels operating in the same waters.

According to Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee, a very well-known author of several publications about the Iranian air forces and a regular contributor to some of the most read aviation magazines, the first such encounters occurred on Dec. 25 and 26 when the foreign vessels were spotted by an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) P-3F serialled 5-8706.

On Dec. 28, an Iranian Naval Aviation’s Fokker 27-400M, serialled 5-2601, carrying journalists “buzzed” the U.S. Navy’s USS Gridley (DDG-101), a Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Footage of the flybys conducted by the Iranian plane close to the American warship including radio communications was later released by FARS News Agency.

Similar encounters occur quite frequently in those waters and are almost routine: you can find several images showing Iranian, Russian or U.S. maritime patrol aircraft overflying foreign ships in the high seas all around the world.

Furthermore, foreign warships cross Iranian territorial waters in the Straits of Hormuz when entering the Persian Gulf, that’s why they are often “inspected” by Iranian Air Force and Navy planes.

Still, the footage in this post is particularly interesting as it is one of the few (if not the only) to let you hear the (quite polite) messages exchanged between the Iranian patrol aircraft and the U.S. warship.

H/T to Babak Tagvaee and ACIG.info for the heads-up. Footage, FARS via B. Tagvaee.

 

“Several U-2 spyplanes shooed away by our missile systems” Iran says

According to a senior Iranian commander, several reconnaissance aircraft, including some U-2 spyplanes, have been frighten away by Tehran air defenses as they flew close to Iran’s airspace.

On Dec. 22, General Shahrokh Shahram, Lieutenant Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base said that Iran’s air defense units scared away several surveillance planes, including some U.S. U-2 Dragon Lady spyplanes that were flying near the borders of Tehran FIR (Flight Information Region).

“During yesterday and today [Dec. 21 and 22] warnings have been issued to several reconnaissance aircraft of the trans-regional states which were flying near the FIR (Flight Information Region) of the country’s borders[..] Some of these were U-2 spyplanes” Shahram said according to FNA (Fars News Agency).

FNA speculates the aircraft may be spying on Iran ahead of “Mohammad Rasoulallah (PBUH)” drills, scheduled between Dec. 25 and 31.

Earlier this month an Iranian top officer, Air Defense Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, said that a U-2 “stealth aircraft” flying close to Iran’s airspace was tracked, warned and somehow forced to make a U-turn by Iranian missile systems, “even though this type of plane can’t be picked up by any radar screen.”

Coated with RAM (Radar Absorbing Material) and designed to be hard to detect on radars, the U.S. Air Force U-2 is not considered a real stealth aircraft, even if it embeds radar-evading features.

U.S. Air Force U-2s have been operating in the region for years departing from Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE.

Along with a certain number of indigenous systems under development, Iranian air defenses include a mixture of Soviet and Western surface-to-air missile systems. Among them the HQ-2 (CSA-1 GUIDELINE, a Chinese-produced S-75 derivative – the SAM systems which downed Gary Power’s U-2 back in 1960) and the S-200 (SA-5 GAMMON) both theoretically capable of shooting down a high-flying target.

Indeed, although it may struggle against cruise missiles and modern stealth bombers, especially if accompanied by significant EW (Electronic Warfare) support, Iran’s air defense system, with its batteries along the coast (one of those is Bandar Abbas in the south of the country) can pose a significant threat to several aircraft, including U-2s or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) flying over the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran reportedly shot down an Israeli drone near Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in central Iran last August. Finding the small drone is like finding needle in a haystack General Esmayeeli said addressing a students gathering on Dec. 7. “We should take good care not to harm passenger planes when identifying and shooting down such drones,” he said.

A classified Pentagon report obtained by The New York Times in 2012 claimed that Iranian SAM batteries had fired at civil planes at least three times between 2007 and 2008.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

Previously unknown details about Iranian F-4, F-5, Su-24 and UAVs involvement in air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq

All you need to know about the Iranian involvement in the air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

Al Jazeera footage aired a few days ago exposed an IRIAF F-4 Phantom performing an air strike on ISIS positions in Iraq.

The news of a cooperation between Washington and Tehran, later confirmed by the Pentagon, quickly spread across the world and images of the Iranian Phantoms in the colors of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force have appeared on worldwide media outlets. But the Iranian contribution to the air war on ISIS includes other assets.

F-4 Phantom IRIAF ISIS

An insight into the IRIAF missions in Iraq was provided by Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee, a very well known author of several publications about the Iranian air forces and a regular contributor to some of the most read aviation magazines.

Taghvaee summed up the key features about the Iranian air raids in an email to The Aviationist.

– 18th to 20th November, several interdiction sorties were performed by the 2nd and 4th TFB’s F-5s in the Diyala province.

– Between Nov. 20t and Nov. 23 November, the RF-4Es of IRIAF and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) of the IRGC-ASF (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Aerospace Force) performed recce sorties over Jalula and Saadia.

– Between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, the F-4Es of the 3rd TFB and 9th TFB performed CAS (Close Air Support) sorties for the Kurdish Peshmerga, Badr militia and Iraqi SpecOps.

– On Dec. 1 and 2, four Su-24MKs performed several combat air patrols and on-call CAS sorties deep inside Iraqi borders.

– On 29th and 30th November, the indigenous Sattar 4 LGBs and GBU-78/A Ghased TV guided bombs were used against the Daesh’s strongholds and heavy trucks successfully for first time in battle zone.

In conclusion, the Kurds and Iraqis retrieved the cities of Jalula and Saadia under fire support of IRIAF.

“The Americans had full coordination with Iranians during the combat sorties of IRIAF,” Taghvee highlighted.

Indeed, although it was theoretically possible for Iranian planes to fly inside Iraq without any coordination with other air forces operating in the same airspace, it would have been suicidal. For proper deconfliction of tactical assets, prior coordination and air space management and control are required.

There are several aircraft performing Airspace Control, Airborne Early Warning over Syria and Iraq: no plane could fly undetected in the area.

Anyway, we can’t but notice that, when called into action, the Iranian air force can conduct real combat missions in a low lethality scenario with a variety of (ageing) tactical planes and UAVs: facts that could fuel a much more credible propaganda than that made of some weird or totally fake claims we have commented in the past.

 Image credit: Shahram Sharifi/Wiki