Iranian F-14 Tomcat fighter jets get a modern “splinter” color scheme

The photo in this post depicts the first Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-14AM (“Modernized”) landing at Tehran Mehrabad International Airport in April 2012.

Iran still operates some Tomcats that are being modernized to extend their operative life. Domestic upgrades include avionics, weapons (R-73E, AIM-54A+ “Fakkur”, AIM-54A, AIM-7E and AIM-9J are among the air to air missiles adapted to the aircraft’s fire control system) and color scheme: indeed the plane was give a  three-tone Asian Minor II camouflage pattern resembling the one adopted by Russian 4th and 5th generation fighter planes and U.S. Aggressors.

Image credit: Babak Taghvaee


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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.


  1. The website linked below will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the F-14, including what happened to every single aircraft produced (by BuNo [aircraft serial number]). I like this statement from one of the pages the best:

    ” … back in 1984 the Navy rejected the F/A-18E/F program… But the light fighter lobby was strong enough and today the F/A-18E and F are already flying instead of new F-14Ds rolling off the assembly lines… “. It’s the last sentence on this page:

    Here’s the entire web address:

    If you are an F-14 Tomcat fanatic, and haven’t seen this website, you should really enjoy it!

  2. For those of you who may think that the F/A-18E/F is a better aircraft than the updated F-14D was, take a look at this analysis:

    Of course, everyone has an opinion, but this one by Rear Admiral Paul Gillcrist – U.S. Navy/Ret. (spent 33 years as a fighter jet pilot and wing commander and was operations commander for all Pacific Fleet fighters) and Bob Kress (an aeronautical engineer for Grumman) may contain too much bias. MAY … but I personally don’t think so! :)

  3. Check out what the new Tomcat would have looked like if they had kept the line open and continued to upgrade the aircraft. Pictures are posted below. Website ref:

    Note the new curved glove vanes that would have held more fuel, decreased approach speeds while trapping/landing on the carrier AND given it greater maneuverability as a dogfighter. Also there was a proposal to give it twin 30,000 lb. two-axis thrust vectoring engines! Upgraded avionics, radar … the works! Read the above link and weep if you wish you could have seen a brand new Super Duper Tomcat instead of what the U.S. Navy has now … the far less capable F/A-18E/F [not-so-super] Super Hornet.

  4. The simple fact is, NAVAIR is run by those who’s careers are tied to the F-18. As long as F-14s were around, there would be pressure to keep them onboard and do service life extension to the airframes. The solution was the guillotine in the desert. Now the only ones that are left are a hand full in museums, and a bunch of cobbled together ones in Iran. So sad.

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