Category Archives: Iran

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

 

Here’s the latest Iranian jet mock-up

Tehran has unveiled a mock-up of a trainer/light attack plane.

Mashregh News, a news website affiliated with the IRGC, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, has published a blurry picture of a mock-up of a new Iranian jet dubbed “Borhan.”

The new jet is an evolution of the HESA Shafaq, a domestic design for a subsonic, light attack/combat trainer aircraft made of radar-absorbing material that never made it past a full-scale mock-up shown in some pictures that you can find on the web.

Both the Shafaq and the new Borhan, are clearly inspired to the Russian Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer and have an almost identical front section and large LERX (Leading Edge Root Extensions). Dealing with the tail section, whereas the Shafaq had two canted vertical stabilizers (like those of the HESA F-5E Saqeh), the only available image seems to suggest that the Borhan was designed with a single large tail, almost a perfect replica of the Yak-130’s one.

According to Mashregh News, the aircraft’s top speed will be Mach 0.65, its empty weight will be 2,800 kg and its payload will be 1,200 kg. Range should be 1,800 km.

The mock-up depicted in the first image carries fake AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

Noteworthy, unlike what happened with the F-313 Qaher stealth jet, this time it would look like the Regime is not pretending the new aircraft is anything more than a mock-up.

Let’s see if this mock-up will eventually turn into a real plane some time in the future.

Image credit: Mashregh News

 

Iran releases first (somehow suspicious) video of its RQ-170 stealth drone copy in flight

Eventually, a video allegedly showing the copy of Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drone manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011 was released.

On Nov. 10, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, announced that a domestic version of the RQ-170 drone, modified to carry out both bombing and reconnaissance missions, had made its maiden flight.

“The footage of its flight will be released soon,” he told reporters.

Eventually, a video showing the copy of the Sentinel flying somewhere over Iran, filmed both from the ground and from an accompanying helicopter has been released.

The footage of the flying drone looks genuine; what seems to be a bit weird is the sequence of the RQ-170 landing on the runway: more than a UAV, the aircraft moves and reacts to the remote pilot’s input as a small remotely piloted scale model….

Since the first prototype was a smaller copy of the Sentinel (60% the size of the original RQ-170) which flew about four months ago, one might wonder whether the landing drone depicted in the footage is not the full scale replica but the smaller original prototype.

Furthermore, some frames of the landing video seem to be computer generated.

Judge by yourself at min 06:49.

H/T to Soufiane Nourredine for the heads-up