Iranian F-14 Tomcat’s “new” indigenous air-to-air missile is actually an (improved?) AIM-54 Phoenix replica

Among the hardware on display during the annual military parade in Tehran, on Sunday Sept. 22, 2013, Iran not only displayed a new indigenous passive phased array radar system for detecting stealth targets and cruise missiles, but it also showed the country’s latest home-made missile productions, including the Fakour-90.

The Fakour-90 missile is one of the latest “state-of-the-art productions” of the Iranian Armed Forces which can be mounted on F-14 fighter jets.

It’s almost identical to the AIM-54 Phoenix and, more than a brand new missile, is just a domestically upgraded, partially reverse engineered version of the famous long range missile carried by the U.S. Navy Tomcat.

The AIM-54 was developed in the mid-sixties and the IRIAF has operated some of them. Even if we can’t talk of a “new missile”, we can’t but notice that the Iranians managed to keep them in service and, maybe, upgrade them a little bit. What’s even more surprising is that Tehran managed to keep the F-14s airworthy, considered the sanctions on Iran and the consequent lack of spare parts for the Tomcats.

The different component is hidden inside the missile’s nose cone and is (probably) a semi-active homing system of the Shalamcheh surface-to-air missile – once again a reverse engineered, improved version of the U.S. MIM-23 Hawk SAM.

Image credit: FNA, PressTV

 

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About David Cenciotti 3646 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.