Tag Archives: F-4 Phantom

The most interesting Warplanes of the Iranian Air Force Open Day


Every year from Mar. 21 to Mar. 31 the regular Iranian Air Force holds an open house and exhibition similar to those one might see in North America or European nations.

The Open Day of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force is a legacy left from the former Imperial Iranian Air Force where military installations were opened to public more often than not.

Actually, the recent air show at Dezful 4th air base also coincides with the Persian Norooz and the annual trips to former Iran-Iraq war fronts/trenches taken by the enthusiastic Iranian public.


Among the aircraft on display, obviously, several U.S. types locally modified, including the legendary IRIAF F-14 Tomcat, the F-4E Phantom (like the two involved in a close encounter with an American F-22 over the Persian Gulf last year) and the F-5 Tiger.


The IRIAF still operates some Mig-29 Fulcrums as the one depicted in the image below.


Su-24 Fencer:


Image credit: Danial Behmanesh/nahaja.aja.ir


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An unknown story from the Yom Kippur war: Israeli F-4s vs North Korean MiG-21s

Even if the McDonnell Douglas F-4 was developed as interceptor in response to the need of the U.S. Navy to protect their aircraft carrier, the ultimate version of the Phantom II was the USAF F-4E, a multi role fighter which was also sold to several air forces around the world. One of the countries to receive the F-4E was Israel that bought the first examples in 1969 and later made the Phantom the mainstay of its Air Power bringing the F-4 in all the major Arab-Israeli conflicts.

In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli Air force (IAF) found itself facing an Arab Air Forces coalition which was composed not only by Egyptian and Syrian fighter squadrons, but also by units from Algeria, Iraq, Libya and … North Korea, that deployed a MiG-21 squadron to Bir Arida to protect Egypt’s south.

Obviously, at the time,  IAF pilots didn’t know that some of the MiGs they would face were from North Korea. However the first engagement between North Korean pilots and Israeli pilots took place on Oct. 6, 1973 when two F-4 Kurnass (Sledgehammer) pairs from 69 and 119 Squadrons were scrambled from Ramat David Air Base for a patrol over the Gulf of Suez sector.

The F-4s of the two squadrons were teamed together and the 69 pair (which had their crews formed by Shadmi and Gur on board the first aircraft and Shpitzer and Ofer on the other one)  leading the mission.


Image credit: IAF

It was only after a long patrol, when the jets were already low on fuel, that the F-4s were vectored towards Egypt’s west-northwest: although the high altitude, between 20,000 and 25,000 feet, Gur was able to detect with its radar a pair of bandits down below, very hard to lock. Thanks to the GCI (Ground Control Intercept) the crews could track the two enemy aircraft and enter in the range for an AIM-7 shot, despite the ground clutter. But due to the bad weather they were unable to see their wingman, so Shadmi and Gur decided not to lunch the Sparrow.

Just few seconds later the two F-4s’ crews identified the two bandits as a couple of MiG-21s and immediately engaged them: one of the MiG disappeared, while the other Fishbed stayed for a 1 vs 2 combat. The North Korean pilot was very good and, despite the fact it was alone against the two Kurnass (plus the two 119 Squadron F-4s which were flying overhead), tried to slow the speed in a dogfight attempting. But the two Israeli fighters maintained high speed, they got into missiles launch position and Shadmi and Gur launched an AIM-9D. After a second, they launched another Sidewinder which was followed by a third AIM-9D launched by Shpitzer and Ofer from the other Kurnass.

All the missiles exploded very close to the MiG, but the Fishbed continued flying. At this point, the Israeli Kurnass were already low on fuel and they turned east heading home. Gur looked at the MiG and while it turned west, he noticed the Fishbed was leaving a white smoke trail. Suddenly after the F-4s crossed the coastline, Gur saw the trail of a SAM and then an explosion at 20,000 feet, where before there was the MiG-21: Egyptians shot down one of their aircraft!

The pilots knew only when the war ended that the MiG-21 belonged to North Korea, while after the Kurnass landed, Shadmi and Gur shared the kill with Shpitzer and Ofer because they were notified that the MiG had crashed. But the crews told what they saw and in fact later it was confirmed by the IAF Intelligence that the Egyptian Air Defense Force shot down one of their Fishbeds.

F-4 formation

Image credit: IAF

Today the 69 Squadron Hammers is based to Hatzerim Air Base flies and it the powerful F-15I Ra’am (Thunder) which replaced since 1998 the mighty F-4 Kurnass.

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Video: Flying the mighty F-4 Phantom (and dropping some bombs at rocks in the Aegean Sea)

In 2012, the 338 Sqn “Ares” of the Hellenic Air Force celebrated its 60th anniversary. The event was marked also with an interesting video that includes F-4 Phantom cockpit footage as well as some cool images of the Greek combat planes dropping bombs at rocks, small deserted islands in the Aegean sea.

[Special Photo Report] Phantom Heaven: among the last F-4 combat planes. Beware, contains alert take off images.

Do you remember the first images of the Wittmund Spotter Day published a few days ago?

Here you can find a gallery of interesting pictures, taken by Giovanni Maduli on both Jun. 5, during the Open House, and Jun. 6 when two F-4 Phantom fighter jets of the local QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled.

Image credit: Giovanni Maduli for The Aviationist

That's a low level strike: Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom

This series of photos found on the internet, shows what appears to be an ultra low level attack on a unknown location probably dating back to at least 20 years ago.

The silhouette is clearly that of an Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-4 Phantom striking Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). Although some believe that the images were taken from an RF-4, the interesting thing that stands out from these amazing photos is the extreme low level of the attack.

Even though the images were not taken downtown, generally speaking, flying low level was paramount to prevent being detected and hit by the air defenses protecting Baghdad: after the war, Iranian pilots recalled flying as low as 20 meters above the ground level during their strike missions. To such an extent that power cables on the outskirts or Iraq’s capital town became a significant risk for Tehran’s pilots.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Iranian internet