30 years later, Ankara admits Turkish Air Force jet was shot down by Iraq

If you though that the Turkish RF-4E Phantom shot down by a Syrian anti-aircraft artillery battery on Jun. 22, 2012, was the first such episodes involving a Turkish jet, you were wrong.

In fact, in response to a parliamentary question by Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Metin Lütfi Baydar, Turkish Defence Minister İsmet Yılmaz stated that Turkish Air Force fighter aircraft have been downed by actions of foreign countries three times since 1965.

The first (and largely unknown until now) downing occurred on Sept. 14, 1983 when two F-100F Super Sabre fighter jets  of 182 Filo “Atmaca” violated the Iraqi airspace. In response, a Mirage F-1EQ by Iraqi Air Force fired a Super 530F-1 missile and the Turkish fighter jet (s/n 56-3903) crashed in Zaho valley near the Turkish-Iraqi border. The plane’s pilots reportedly survived the crash and returned to Turkey. The incident, however, was kept almost secret, although some details surfaced during the years.

Second incident: Hellenic Air Force Mirage-2000EGM (331Sq.114FW) fires a R.550 Magic II missile against Turkish F-16D Block40 (s/n 91-0023) of 192 Filo on October 8, 1996 after violating Greek airspace near Chios island.

Finally, the third recorded incident occurred on Jun. 22, 2012, when a Turkish RF-4E (s/n 77-0314) of 173 Filo was downed by Syrian’s air defense artillery after violating Syrian airspace.

TuAF F-16 Fighting Falcon

Image credit: TuAF


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.