Tag Archives: Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Video: Iranian F-14 Tomcats on combat patrol. Unarmed.

Update Mar. 27 09.40 GMT

This short but interesting video (which looks like the result of several footages mixed together) shows one of the most intruguing planes operating with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force: the F-14 Tomcat.

Along with scenes seemingly excerpted from Top Gun movie, the video (most probably coming from from the Iranian TV series Shoghe Parvaz) shows some AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missiles, with several live examples being shown, even if the majority of the F-14s is filmed flying unarmed.

In case of war the IRIAF F-14s could play a (marginal) role perfoming some sortie aimed at disturbing the strike packages and make them waste some fuel.

Noteworthy, as could be noticed on a previously published video, the IRIAF F-14s fly without the IFR (In-Flight Refueling) probe cover because, as explained by Dario Leone, a reader of this blog and an F-14 expert, when they were produced and delivered to Iran they were supposed to be refueled by the U.S. KC-135s whose basket is different (and the cover could get jammed with it) from the ones used by the U.S. Navy S-3s or KA-6s.

For the same reason, during Desert Storm, the U.S. F-14s, that had to be refueled also by Air Force tankers flew without the cover.

There are also images dating back to the early 2000s of U.S. Navy F-14s flying without the cover. According to other sources since the “hatch” blocked quite frequently, especially during low temperature operations, it was removed to prevent it from making air-to-air refueling impossible.

Written with The Aviationist’s Editor David Cenciotti

How IRIAF F-14 Tomcats could be (effectively) used in combat against Israeli or U.S. planes or drones

A previous article about the theoretical Israeli strike on Iran with the rendering of an F-15I dropping bombs on Tehran got a lot of attention and sparked debate. Someone criticized it for not being enough realistic, even if I had explained that the image had to be taken as such even if contained one (or more) wrong details. It was not supposed to be accurate that’s why I didn’t ask Al Clark, who designed it, to correct some elements of artist freedom.

In this article, a new Al’s artwork below gives me the opportunity to write something about one of the most famous aircraft in IRIAF inventory: the F-14 Tomcat.

According to “IRIAF 2010“, the book published by Harpia Publishing and written by Tom Cooper, Babak Taghvace and Liam F. Devlin, that I consider one of the most detailed sources about Iran’s Air Force, due to the lack of some spare parts, the fleet of more than 40 Tomcats is roughly divided into “airworthy” and “fully mission capable aircraft”.

The first fly without primary weapon systems and/or no AWG-9 radar; the second can perform QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) and air defense missions.

These aircraft are based at TFB.8 (Tactical Fighter Base 8) Baba’i near Eshahan, in central Iran.

Hence, although IRIAF officials have described the current fleet of F-14s as “completely overhauled” and “improved”, and referred to it a a “new generation of bombers” in the recent past, only a small amount of Tomcats can be used for air defense purposes in spite of the large amount of spare parts that Iran was able to clandestinely collect after the type was retired by the U.S. Navy and the efforts of various domestic companies to produce some specific parts and subsystems.

What is the role the Tomcat could play in a hypothetical war against Israel?

As already explained in the blog post about the possible long range strike on Iran’s nuclear program, IRIAF interceptors, should play “hide and seek” with the enemy forces: they could hide from the incoming packages and try to achieve some kills during the egress phase. They could be effective by simply disturbing the strike packages to let them “feel” the threat and waste some gas.

The Tomcats could somehow be effective against isolated targets, like drones, mainly before or after the first waves of air strikes: even a UAV kill could play a role in the psychological war against Israel.

For sure, radar activation would be reduced to a minimum: during the most intense part of the air campaign their AWG-9 radar would be either jammed (although it was domestically modified or locally upgraded to make it more jamming-resistant) or detected as soon as switched on, with the latter hypothesis implying the risk of interception by enemy fighters.

Obviously, just in case: before the whole thing starts the planes should be dispersed on one of the several Iranian airbases to prevent them from being destroyed on the ground at TFB.8.

Image by Al Clark for The Aviationist

F-14s, in-flight emergencies and arrested landings. Top Gun? No, an Iranian TV series

It is very well known that, more or less one year ago China tried to pass off Top Gun as air force footage but did you know there was also a mini-Top Gun made in Iran?

If not, have a look at the following video.

An IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) F-14, part of a flight of four, suffers a hydraulic failure and is forced to perform a successful emergency landing using the runway arresting system.

Screenplay aside, the video is extremely interesting as it shows the rare Tehran’s Tomcats, one of those can be seen engaging the cable with the tailhook. Noteworthy, some of the radio comms are in English language (with Persian subtitles).

According to the information provided by the user who uploaded it on Youtube, the footage is from the Iranian TV series Shoghe Parvaz.

Thanks to Al Clark for the heads up.