Photos of World’s last active service F-14 Tomcat jets overhauled in Iran

Mar 01 2015 - 56 Comments

The Iranian Air Force is the last operator of the legendary F-14 Tomcat.

The photos in this article were recently released by FARS News Agency.

They show some Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-14 Tomcat jets be overhauled at an unspecified location (Tehran Mehrabad International Airport according to some sources).

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Iran still operates some Tomcats that are being modernized to F-14AM (“Modernized”) standard to extend their operative life until 2030. Domestic upgrades include avionics (radar and RWR) and weapons: R-73E, AIM-54A, AIM-7E and AIM-9J are among the air-to-air missiles adapted to the aircraft’s fire control system.

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The Iranian Tomcats can also carry the AIM-54A+ “Fakour-90” missile: a domestically upgraded, partially reverse engineered version of the famous AIM-54 Phoenix long range missile of the U.S. Navy F-14s.

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The IRIAF F-14s are also being given a three-tone Asian Minor II camouflage pattern loosely resembling the “splintered” one adopted by Russian 4th and 5th generation fighter planes and U.S. Aggressors.

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Tehran is believed to operate a fleet of about 60 F-14s even if the number of combat capable aircraft is unknown. According to some rumors, there would be plans to use the Tomcat in the air-to-ground role as well.

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Anyway, in some way or another one Tehran managed to keep the F-14s airworthy, a significant achievement considered the embargo on Iran and the consequent lack of spare parts for the Tomcats.

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F-14 IRIAF overhauled top

Image credit: FARS News agency

H/T to user “ASFTD” on ACIG forum for the heads-up


  • against the wind

    Here is a thought. Iranians are smart hard working people and learnt by doing. You know test and error and gradually figuring out what’s what!
    Because America did not sell this Jet to any other country and it was impossible to find its parts anywhere outside US navy very well guarded storage facilities.

    • Mike

      They likely gave the Soviets one to study in exchange for reverse engineered parts.

      • against the wind

        yeah, typical argument of racist people who think if you’re not from European decent you can’t develop technology. I am sorry for you for having such low intelligent ordinary brain.

        • Mike

          I’m from the middle east genius, I KNOW they can’t do it based on facts. Should try it sometime when you finish your political correctness training or whatever government propaganda videos you’re watching. Russia, western Europe and US are DECADES ahead of advanced military tech, China’s entire fighter jet industry is based on Russian jet engines they have to buy because they can’t even reverse engineer them.

          • against the wind

            lol@ propaganda!
            Genius, My argument is based on facts that you can’t understand obviously. Any technology has a cap. there is s much you can develop jet engine or digital electronics until you reach to a limit that can’t go farther. Western companies and Russia reached that in late 20th century. There is a reason all their designs dates back to the 70s and 80s and after that there has been only upgrades and even that is becoming scarce. They have hit the ceiling while those who are willing catch up.
            As for China copying Russian technology, well after ww2 both east and west copied German technology. You should read some history sometime.
            Being from ME as you claim is not enough, most countries in ME are just buyers, they can’t produce a decent machine gun. You probably are from there. And you think everyone is like you. In fact many people in ME don’t like Iran and are biased in their comments about that country.

            • Mike

              hahaha, the West has hit a technology limit, you type that on your iPhone or tablet on wifi?

  • against the wind

    You mean the laughable 25 million $ deal? Is that contract for an 8 years long war?
    compare that with tens of billions $ that Iraq received.

  • jv

    Why is everyone surprised that Iran still has flying F14s?…Just because we don’t sell them parts they reversed engineered the parts that they had with the help of Russia to keep them flying…They still have 44 in service know in 2015…

  • Mike

    This just goes to show you how well American made lasts, the Iranian air force crown jewel is a 40 year old US jet.

  • Alan Martens

    I love it that they’re still flying. One the best fighters ever built…Great photography too :)

  • Avadon

    Just stop “against the wind” you’re making yourself look idiotic. No one quite yet knows the limits of technology, including jet technology. Just when we think we can’t push the Jet Engine further we do. The F-35 is direct evidence of that.

    • kev

      Believe me F-35 is a turkey in the sky. An L band radar from 1940s with long wave length can detect it. Stealth is built for short frequency radars. F-35 is slow and very un-maneuverable. The small wings were place on the plane to make it easy for vertical take off. Small wings reduces maneuverability due to low lift during turns. Of course trust vectoring might compensate to some extent but wings are way too small. F-16 would run circles around this plane. The center section is way too big to accommodate center port for vertical take off which causes drag reducing range and agility. Using an L band radar you can see F-35. Once you can see this slow turkey, it is toast. S 300 and later version of SAM system by Russia can find these turkeys. Of course frequencies for
      Russian system are known and F-35 can jam them If the adversary changes the frequency enough that F-35 could not provide the electronic counter measure it will be detected long before it enters the combat zone.

  • EveryManBill

    the tomcat has superior pitch authority, like the su-27. There literally isn’t a plane in this world that can upstage the f-14 tomcat. It is a monster of capability.

  • Christopher L. Freeze

    Now get photos of the helos that were abandoned at Desert One, which the Iranian Navy pressed into service and – last I heard – were still flying.

  • imongo

    A monster to maintain.