Tag Archives: IRIAF

Iran stages “massive” aerial parade with F-14, F-4, Mig-29 and several other warplanes

The traditional military parades at mausoleum of the Late Founder of Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, south of capital Tehran saw the flyover of several warplanes, including the legendary F-14 Tomcat.

On Apr. 18 Iran celebrated the National Army Day with a traditional and interesting flypast of most of its active warplanes. Eight formations for an overall 27 aircraft took part in the aerial parade: not really “massive” as some Iranian media wrote, still an interesting opportunity to see the majority of the IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) fighters and bombers in the air.

Mig-29

The flypast featured F-5F Tiger, F-5E Saeqeh, FT-7N, Mirage F.1EQs, F-14A Tomcat, F-4E Phantom, Mig-29UB Fulcrum and Su-24Mk Fencer divided in 8 formations.

F-14 takeoff

One of the formation was a mixed flight made of a Mig-29UB, an F-4E, an F-14A, a Mirage F.1BQ-3 and a Su-24Mk.

Su-24

As highlighted by a member of the ACIG.org forum, both Mirage F.1BQ-3s were carrying F-5E/F external fuel tanks thanks to domestically designed and manufactured underwing pylons.

Mirage F1

Obviously, no sign of the famous F-313 Qaher stealth jet.

Saeqeh

Along with the fixed wing aircraft, 26 helicopters of their Iranian Army Aviation performed their flypast which included AB-206Bs, AH-1Js, Bell 214As and CH-47Cs.

F7

Image credit: IRNA News Agency

 

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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.

IRIAF 2

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.

IRIAF 4

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

IRIAF 5

Su-24 Fencer:

IRIAF 6

Image credit: Danial Behmanesh/nahaja.aja.ir

 

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[Photo] Iranian P-3F under escort as seen from the Super Hornet pilot’s POV

Along with those published in the last few days, these photos complete the “picture” of the P-3 vs F/A-18 episode.

After showing the images taken from the IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) maritime patrol aircraft, and those taken from aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, here are three shots taken by the Super Hornet pilot who escorted the Iranian Orion during its flybys.

They were sent by a reader, possibly the pilot of the F/A-18E, under the nickname of Wingnut.

P-3F intercepted

The close ups of the observation windows, where an Iranian crewmember can be seen watching the US plane, is particularly interesting.

P-3F intercepted window

Image credit: U.S. Navy via Wingnut

 

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Iran’s mysterious military plane crashes that amount to “mass purges”

On Jan. 5, 1995 the entire senior commanders of the regular Iranian Air Force (HQ’s general staff) were killed in a suspicious plane crash near the city of Isfahan. Among the dead were several generals including the Iranian Air Force’s commander Gen. Mansour Sattari, the air force’s deputy commanders Gen. Yassini, Gen. Ardestani and a few other high ranking officers.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

The IRIAF’s board of inquiry never released its findings, if they found any. Some attributed the cause of crash to be ‘pilot error’ as some recalled the pilot being a ‘flight training school reject’ who was about to be dismissed. But why give the control of a VIP aircraft with a dozen VIP passengers to a ‘flight school reject’ then?

Gen Sattari 1

The Iranian regime is known to be hostile to the regular Iranian armed forces (Air Force, Army and Navy).

The first round of mass purges came right after the Ayatollahs’ seizure of power in February 1979. At the time, they mercilessly executed almost all the Shah’s armed forces generals and those who were deemed anti-revolutionary. It is believed that upwards of 9,000 military service-members were executed between February 1979 and October 1980, while hundreds were let go under bogus circumstances. Among those who were killed, there were dozens of highly trained fighter pilots, technicians and war planners whose absence left Iran almost defense-less against the Iraqi onslaught during the coming 8 year long war.

The second round of mass executions came in 1983-84 when several senior naval and ground forces officers were charged with ‘membership in Tudeh (communist party of Iran) party’ and summarily executed. Many claim that these men’s main crime was protesting the regime’s plans to expand the war and seize Iraqi territory. These senior officers believed the war objective of ejecting Iraq from Iran’s territory had been achieved and it was time to settle for peace.

But these mass executions and death squads are the official purges we know about. And the Iranian regime is actually proud of its work in ‘cleansing the earth from corrupt individuals’. The notion of ‘eradicating the corrupt from the face of the earth is very common in Iran.

Being ‘corrupt’ or ‘Mofsed’ is also a charge that the regime lays on any one who might be deemed counter-revolutionary or un-islamic.

And then there are purges we do not know about or haven’t heard much about.

The first of these came in September of 1981. The then commander of the Iranian AF Javad Fakouri along with the Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces General Fallahi, Defense Minister Namjou (all western oriented senior officers) died in a mysterious crash aboard a C-130 Hercules transport plane, while returning from an inspection tour of the Iranian military gains in the war against Saddam’s army.

Again, no official cause of the crash was ever released. Through these violent mass executions and lay offs, the new Islamic regime solidified its control over what was dubbed the Shah’s “Taghuti” Armed Forces.

As mentioned earlier, the entire command and general staff of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) was decimated in a mysterious ‘Lockheed JetStarII’ plane crash.

Gen. Sattari (a ground radar control officer by training) had become commander of the Iranian AF in 1986 at a time when the air force was under enormous pressure, and lacked any serious capability during the last phase of the war with Iraq. He’d become famous for introducing I-HAWK air defense missile batteries as battlefield mobile air defense systems. Through personal innovation and initiative, he single handedly was responsible for downing dozens of Iraqi aircraft. His connections with the current president of Iran who was chief of civil and military defense at the time paid off in 1986, and he was appointed the commander of the air force.

Gen Sattari

Though not known for being pro-Shah or remotely western, he had an independent streak that led him to be distrusted by the regime. He had grand plans to modernize the battered air force and pushed to purchase new aircraft (MiG-29s, Sukhoi-24, F-7 Chengdu… etc) and wished to strengthen the weakened air arm under his command. He retained many of the US trained pilots and technicians. He fought tooth and nail to have many of the western trained personnel be returned to active duty since their expertise were needed to maintain the western aircraft.

Those plans were not favored by a regime that regards the regular army as ‘Taghuti’ and relies on the ‘Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’ to protect the Islamic revolution. Not to mention using the IRGC as a check against the regular military. (IRGC has seized or established grounds/bases near every major regular military base in Iran).

Once those senior commanders (read obstacles) were killed, the regime went into one of its mass purges again. Dismissal rates increased, dissident personnel were thrown in jail, any one who voiced his concern against rampant corruption was jailed, cronyism grew larger as the new commander of the IRIAF Gen. Baghae’e (known as ‘Choopan’ or herder, for his love of goats, cows and sheep) turned the air force bases around the country into herding grounds, and started using the air force’s conscript soldiers as slave laborers in the regime’s oil and gas projects through out the country. He basically did what he was told to do: keep an important branch of the regular military weak and incompetent.

At the time of the ‘JetStarII crash’ in Isfahan in January of 1995, many within the air force community believed the cause of the incident was ‘a package’ given to a crew member as a gift. Did the ‘gift’ explode mid-air causing the loss of cabin pressure and subsequent loss of life and aircraft in the process? No one knows.

But the history of military purges in Iran tells me that the regime did not want General Sattari and co to run the regular air force.

What better way to dismiss these men in a mysterious mid-air crash than to risk upsetting 1/3rd of Iran’s mostly pro-western US trained regular military?

Winston Smith for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: The Spirit of Man, Wiki

 

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Year 2013 in review through The Aviationist’s Top 5 articles

The five top stories of The Aviationist provide the readers the opportunity to virtually review the year that is coming to an end.

Ordered chronologically, these posts got the most pageviews (out of about 8.5 million ones we recorded since January) among the +2,200 articles published on the site, and can be used to review year 2013.

Obviously, we covered many more topics during this year (including Syria, North Korea, SR-72 and its predecessor SR-71 Blackbird, Russian simulated attacks in the Baltics, etc.), so use the search feature or select the proper category/tag to read all what was written throughout the year.

1) Iran unveils new indigenous stealth fighter “Qaher 313″. And here’s a detailed analysis.

On Feb. 1, 2013, Iran unveiled its indigenous fighter jet named “Qaher 313″.

The prototype of the Q-313 (or F-313 according to the stencils applied to the aircraft), was presented to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and publicly displayed as part of the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies held in Iran to celebrate the 1979’s victory of the Islamic Revolution.

In the previous days, the Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi had said, “The aircraft will be different from the other fighter jets Iran has already made.”

Indeed, based on the first photographs released by the FARS News Agency, the new stealthy jet has a really peculiar design. It features hard edges and those distinctive edges and angle of the U.S. F-22 and the twin tail shape much similar to that of the F-35 Lightning II.

The Q-313 has large, seemingly fixed canards, and little wings whose external section is canted downward.

The canopy material is at least odd (based on its transparency, it looks like plexiglass or something like that).

The cockpit seems to be basic (a bit too much for a modern plane – note the lack of wirings behind the front panel and the presence of few instruments, some of those similar to those equipping small private planes…).

The nose section is so small almost no radar could fit in it.

The air intakes are extremely small (they remind those of current drones/unmanned combat aerial vehicles) whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle: engine afterburners could melt the entire jet.

[Read the rest here.]

2) Here’s why Iran’s new stealth fighter jet can’t fly

Although the oddities of the Qaher 313 or Q-313 or F-313 have been already listed in the article “Iran unveils new indigenous stealth fighter “Qaher 313″. And here’s a detailed analysis” many of the readers of The Aviationist have requested to recap them in a new post.

Hence, here below you can find all the reasons why we can affirm that Iran’s new stealth plane, at least in the form that was showcased on Feb. 2 during the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies held in Tehran, is nothing more than a mock-up.

The size of the plane is weird. The cockpit seems to be too small, to such an extent a normal pilot doesn’t properly fit in the ejection seat. Have you ever seen a pilot with his knees above the side borders of the cockpit and his helmet well beyond the ejection seat’s head pad?

The general shape of the plane is interesting, probably the result of many inputs including the X-32, the X-36, the Boeing Bird of Prey. Still, wings with outern section canted downward seem to be a bit too little to sustain the weight of the aircraft, especially the “adveniristic plane” is intended to carry a powerful engine and internal payload

Overall, the plane seems to lack the characteristic rivets, bolts all aircraft, including stealthy ones, feature. Images released so far show it as a plastic-made aircraft

The engine exhaust misses any kind of nozzle. The use of afterburner (or, simply, the engine temperature) would possibly melt the entire structure of the jet

The aircraft sports fixed canards and air intakes a bit too small to feed a modern jet plane’s engine; air intakes resemble those used by modern UCAV designs. They are located above the wing meaning that at high AOA (Angle Of Attack) the intakes would get turbulent or no air at all for the engine.

The cockpit is too simple: the front panel lacks the typical wirings while it features few instruments of a type you expect to find on small private planes. Some readers have noticed the airspeed indicator is limited to 300 MPH.

The canopy lacks transparency and looks like it is made of plexiglass.

[Read the rest here]

 3) The U.S. Air Force as you know it no longer exists

According to internal documents obtained by Air Force Times, beginning on Apr. 9, 2013, the U.S. Air Force will begin grounding front line combat units as a consequence of sequestration and the need to deal with budget cuts.

Seventeen squadrons belonging to the various U.S. Air Force commands are going to be affected by the stand down order.

The grounding is aimed to save the 44,000 flying hours (worth 591 million USD) through September.

The funded 241,496 flying hours will be distributed to those squadrons that will remain combat ready or are expected to keep a reduced readiness level called “basic mission capable” until the end of the Fiscal Year 2013.

Whilst some squadron will be immediately grounded, others will be forced down as soon as they come back from their overseas deployment. Among them, the 94th Fighter Squadron from Langley, whose F-22 Raptor stealth fighters currently deployed to Kadena, Okinawa and Osan airbase amid Korean Peninsula crisis, or 354th Fighter Squadron, 12 A-10C of which are currently returning to Davis Monthan after being deployed to Afghanistan.

Other grounded units include the Thunderbirds demo team, 555th Fighter Squadron from Aviano airbase, Italy; 77th Fighter Squadron from Shaw AFB, South Carolina; 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons from RAF Lakenheath, UK; 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska; B-52 squadrons belonging to the 2nd Bomb Wing from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and 5th Bomb Wing from Minot AFB, North Dakota; as well as B-1 squadrons from both 2nd and 7th Bomb Wing from Dyess AFB, Texas.

[Read the rest here]

4) Wondering what happened to all fuel tanks jettisoned by U.S. fighter jets over Southeast Asia during Vietnam War?

External tanks are extremely important for military aircraft as they provide fuel to integrate internal tanks and extend fighters and bombers endurance.

Indeed, even if they can be refueled by aerial tankers, tactical jet planes heavily rely on the JP-8 fuel loaded on the external fuel tanks. However, the auxiliary fuel tanks represent an additional weight, additional drag, and they will reduce the aircraft maneuverability.

In real combat, external fuel tanks are jettisoned when empty or as soon as the aircraft needs to get rid of them to accelerate and maneuver against an enemy fighter plane or to evade a surface to air missile.

[Read the rest here]

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

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'”

[Read the rest here]

 

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