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

Image credit: Iranian internet


  1. This set of photos is published in Tom Coopers book Iranian F-4 Phantom Units a few years back. I don’t have the book here at me at the moment but I’m 100% sure they’re from one of his books.

  2. I remember in one of my missions when I returned to my base in Hamedan AFB I had bunch of Palm tree leaves attached to my F-5 Belly!
    Yeah we were flying really low…Numerous time lower than 20 meters!
    Thanks for memorable pictures!

      • Hi , I am Iranian aviation researcher and I think Mr Kamran is not Iranian ex-pilot . because some thing. For example Hamadan base means 3th Air Force Base by nickname Shaahrokhi before oct 1980 and after it up to now Nojeh , is F-4 E Phantom II base and it hasn’t had F-5 Squadron during Iran-Iraq conflict at all !
        beside it, even if you decide and try hardly to make some attached sign by exactly palm leaves on F-5 belly , YOU CAN NOT DO IT! and I BET…
        Off Course some of our brave pilots carried some thing by their jets and inport to the country which most of them were some part of TV antena and some thin wires …

  3. Thanks dear David and Richard,
    I would love to but unfortunately most of my memories from 8-year war with Iraq are still considered classified specially those related to my squadron.I do my best to get clearance from security to publish one of my missions over Iraq in which I lost my F-5 and ejected.
    It is good to find website like yours where people respect others idea specially when it is the matter of Iran.

    • Thank you very much Kamran,
      whenever you get the clearance to recall something, we will be here to hear you. The IRIAF is one of the most interesting subject for us.
      Even pictures, would be welcomed.

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