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

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).

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 2

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.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 3

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.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 4

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.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 5

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.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 6

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.

F-14 IRIAF overhauled 7

F-14 IRIAF overhauled top

Image credit: FARS News agency

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


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. Looks like a fixed IFR probe on the ‘Cat in the first picture. Just another indigenous modification after the retractable probe broke down? I don’t seem to see the probe on other photos of aircraft in this post….was this just done to some airframes or is it an across-the-board fleet modification?

    • All IRIAF Tomcats had their retractable probe door removed many years ago for safety reasons
      but don’t worry the retractable probe folds and works just fine, and the modification is not indigenous

  2. You don’t just slap a new weapon on the aircraft and it magically works. The fire control software has to be upgraded and the Iranians weren’t given that capability when the Tomcats were first sold to them (in the 1970s). Their birds may be able to get off the ground (barely) but they are only good for kamakazi attacks now. (I’m a former Navy AQ that was trained in both intermediate and organizational maintenance on the F-14)

    • These Jets fought 8 years against Iraqis. guess Iranians figured out how to operate them with out help from outside.
      And they don’t just slap a weapon system on them, what is used are general weapons used by F14 which really brings in question your claim to be a an F14 pilot when you don’t know the first thing about the plane.

  3. I don’t know how they did it they got help or did they travel to US in the 70’s and had good training and good trained maintenance crew. to do this I give Iranian Air Force much respect

    • The same question translates also to all their civil jets. I have being told the embargo did not make things impossible to find, it just made them more expensive. Not sure how this translates to military items.

    • Some crews were sent to the US to pick up their aircraft but it was when they were the Imperial Iranian Air Force. They then received weapons training at Point Mugu, Naval Air Station in California. I’m pretty sure, since I was one of those who worked with them at the time, that it was early 1978 when this was done.

      • I believe I read somewhere all of the pilots who trained in the US were kicked out of the Iranian Air Force except after the Islamic revolution with the exception of one pilot they retained I’m guessing to train new pilots were were raised in the Islamic fundamentalist. I wonder what happened to all those guys who trained in the US I’m guessing political prisons where they were sent.

  4. I believe it was decommisioned in 2006 which is a bit earlier than that.

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