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).

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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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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. thanks david for the nice pictures… im a fan of the f-14, its AWG-9 and Phoenix combo is the best airborne fleet and airspace denfense ever (MiG-31 is second to that). for those interested i recommend Osprey’s Iranian F-14 Tomcats in combat book. it is eye opening, why iraqi air units fled in 1991 when a Tomcat turned on its AWG-9 radar :)

  2. Iran decided a while ago that it would take them quite a while to reach parity with modern fighters, so while it pursued cheaper domestic development and reserve engineering programs, it decided to focus more heavily on ballistic missiles as they would accomplish their goals with much lower costs.

    The way they look at it…who’s going to take us on in the air? Any one that attacks us, will have 100,000 missiles fired back at them. And as far as doing air to ground operations, the F14 is still very capable.

      • which to this day do not have the BVR long range air to air capability that the tomcat has. The f-14 is the plane all current gen planes have tried to compete with. It was because of the influence of the tomcat that Russia even has an air force capable of defending the country.

        • but with a F-22 or F-35 sneaking in undetected and tapping them on the shoulder, the Tomcat’s missiles are useless.

          • The Iranian F-14s are A models with the TF-30 engines and the Awg-9 (modified) fire control system. Comparing it to an F-35, which is forty years ahead in technology, would be like comparing Iran’s 1977 F-14s to the Messerschmitt 109.

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