Tag Archives: Iran

[Photo] Iranian P-3F maritime patrol plane “buzzes” U.S. carrier’s control tower

New images show how close to the U.S. carriers operating in the Strait of Hormutz, Iranian planes fly.

We have recently published some images showing an F/A-18E Super Hornet escorting an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) P-3F flying quite close to USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.

Here you can find some new photographs taken from aboard the U.S. flattop as the P-3F took a close look at the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (ok, it’s not really buzzing the tower, but it’s not that far away).

P-3F IRIAF

It’s unclear whether the “flyby” was conducted on the same day the Iranian plane was escorted by the Hornet; still, the new images not only prove close encounters in the region occur but they also clearly show the indiscreet Orion in the “exotic” IRIAF color scheme.

P-3F IRIAF back

Image credit: U.S. Navy via Militaryphotos.net (thanks to FdeStV and Kasra Ghanbari for the heads-up)

 

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[Photo] Iranian plane flies close to US aircraft carrier. F-18 Hornet intercepts it.

In 2012 a P-3 Orion decided to fly close to a U.S. carrier at sea. And these images show what happened next.

The images in this post, published on an Iranian site (that is currently down) were probably between January and June 2012, when USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) operated in the Persian Gulf.

They show what happens each time an Iranian Navy Fokker 27 or P-3 Orion (as in this case) decides to skirt an American flattops that is operating within the Fifth Fleet AOR (Area Of Responsibility): it’s intercepted and escorted (in this case by an F/A-18E Super Hornet of the VFA-137 “Kestrels” in cool digital color scheme.

Since these maritime patrol planes fly in international airspace and don’t pose a real threat to the Strike Group, the aircraft carrier doesn’t need to take any real defensive action other than tracking the surveillance plane all time or divert one of its fighter jets to intercept it.

Aircraft carriers don’t even need to change their course if a spyplane pops up on the radar, provided that it is not armed and it doesn’t show an aggressive behaviour.

Every now and then even Iranian speedboats and maybe subs pay visit to the U.S. nuclear-powered carriers.

F_A-18 1

Image credit: Iranian Navy/Aerospacetalk.ir  via Militaryphotos.net

H/T to Bjorn Broten for the heads-up

 

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Iran’s S-300 air defense systems procurement saga

The Iranian regime is once again trying to procure the Russian made S-300 air defense missiles, even after they had claimed that their Islamic revolutionary engineers could manufacture the S-300 system in Iran without any foreign assistance. Turns out, those bogus claims weren’t true.

The S-300 is a Soviet long range SAM (Surface to Air Missile) developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles with variants developed to intercept ballistic missiles.

The Iranian Air Defense Forces have some modern air defense systems such as the Russian built Tor M-1 and legacy air defense systems such as US made I-Hawk MIM-23, or Russian built SAM-6 and S-200 systems.

Almost all of these air defense systems are designed to deal with low to medium altitude targets, save for the legacy S-200 of which Iran has a handful. It must be noted that some of Syria’s Sa-17 air defense systems have found their way to Iran through Lebanon’s terrorist group Hezbollah which upon arrival, were given a new paint scheme and an Arabic name ‘Raad.’ Some analysts have rightly speculated that Iran has been the actual financier of these expensive purchases by the Syrians in the first place.

Iran’s plans to obtain the sophisticated S-300 missile system stems from the regime’s desire to protect its nuclear facilities from a possible US or Israeli air strike. The original deal was suspended by the Russian government out of respect for the United Nations’ embargoes on the Iranians.

So far their attempts at procuring S-300 have been futile. They must know that S-300 will not stop the Israeli Air Force or the U.S. Air Force from penetrating the Iranian air space in order to bomb the regime’s nuclear weapons facilities.

Winston Smith for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: FARS News agency

 

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Man charged with attempting to send tech data on the F-35 to Iran

Besides being plagued by cost and operational concerns, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 multirole, stealth warplane has been targeted by hackers, who tried to steal secrets of the Joint Strike Fighter, for years.

Most of times, cyber attackers were believed to be Chinese, collecting details that could be useful for copying what is believed to be the Western most advanced military plane.

However, it seems not only China is interested in the F-35.

DefenseNews has given the news that a man has been charged with attempting to send F-35 blueprints to Iran: Mozaffar Khazaee, a naturalized US citizen since 1991, was arrested on Jan. 9 at Newark airport, NJ, following the first flight of a trip to Tehran.

Facing 10 years in jail, Khazaee was charged for “transporting, transmitting and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft, conversion, or fraud.”

In November he had attempted to send “numerous boxes of documents consisting of sensitive technical manuals, specification sheets, and other proprietary material for the F-35,” from Connecticut to Hamadan.

The “package” contained several documents, diagrams and blueprints most of which export-controlled, that Khazaee had collect from the company (most probably Pratt & Whitney or Rolls Royce) he worked for until August 2013.

What Iran would do with such technical details is difficult to say. Maybe design an actual engine for the infamous F-313 Qaher stealth fighter joke jet?

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

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Iran’s mysterious military plane crashes that amount to “mass purges”

On Jan. 5, 1995 the entire senior commanders of the regular Iranian Air Force (HQ’s general staff) were killed in a suspicious plane crash near the city of Isfahan. Among the dead were several generals including the Iranian Air Force’s commander Gen. Mansour Sattari, the air force’s deputy commanders Gen. Yassini, Gen. Ardestani and a few other high ranking officers.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

The IRIAF’s board of inquiry never released its findings, if they found any. Some attributed the cause of crash to be ‘pilot error’ as some recalled the pilot being a ‘flight training school reject’ who was about to be dismissed. But why give the control of a VIP aircraft with a dozen VIP passengers to a ‘flight school reject’ then?

Gen Sattari 1

The Iranian regime is known to be hostile to the regular Iranian armed forces (Air Force, Army and Navy).

The first round of mass purges came right after the Ayatollahs’ seizure of power in February 1979. At the time, they mercilessly executed almost all the Shah’s armed forces generals and those who were deemed anti-revolutionary. It is believed that upwards of 9,000 military service-members were executed between February 1979 and October 1980, while hundreds were let go under bogus circumstances. Among those who were killed, there were dozens of highly trained fighter pilots, technicians and war planners whose absence left Iran almost defense-less against the Iraqi onslaught during the coming 8 year long war.

The second round of mass executions came in 1983-84 when several senior naval and ground forces officers were charged with ‘membership in Tudeh (communist party of Iran) party’ and summarily executed. Many claim that these men’s main crime was protesting the regime’s plans to expand the war and seize Iraqi territory. These senior officers believed the war objective of ejecting Iraq from Iran’s territory had been achieved and it was time to settle for peace.

But these mass executions and death squads are the official purges we know about. And the Iranian regime is actually proud of its work in ‘cleansing the earth from corrupt individuals’. The notion of ‘eradicating the corrupt from the face of the earth is very common in Iran.

Being ‘corrupt’ or ‘Mofsed’ is also a charge that the regime lays on any one who might be deemed counter-revolutionary or un-islamic.

And then there are purges we do not know about or haven’t heard much about.

The first of these came in September of 1981. The then commander of the Iranian AF Javad Fakouri along with the Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces General Fallahi, Defense Minister Namjou (all western oriented senior officers) died in a mysterious crash aboard a C-130 Hercules transport plane, while returning from an inspection tour of the Iranian military gains in the war against Saddam’s army.

Again, no official cause of the crash was ever released. Through these violent mass executions and lay offs, the new Islamic regime solidified its control over what was dubbed the Shah’s “Taghuti” Armed Forces.

As mentioned earlier, the entire command and general staff of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) was decimated in a mysterious ‘Lockheed JetStarII’ plane crash.

Gen. Sattari (a ground radar control officer by training) had become commander of the Iranian AF in 1986 at a time when the air force was under enormous pressure, and lacked any serious capability during the last phase of the war with Iraq. He’d become famous for introducing I-HAWK air defense missile batteries as battlefield mobile air defense systems. Through personal innovation and initiative, he single handedly was responsible for downing dozens of Iraqi aircraft. His connections with the current president of Iran who was chief of civil and military defense at the time paid off in 1986, and he was appointed the commander of the air force.

Gen Sattari

Though not known for being pro-Shah or remotely western, he had an independent streak that led him to be distrusted by the regime. He had grand plans to modernize the battered air force and pushed to purchase new aircraft (MiG-29s, Sukhoi-24, F-7 Chengdu… etc) and wished to strengthen the weakened air arm under his command. He retained many of the US trained pilots and technicians. He fought tooth and nail to have many of the western trained personnel be returned to active duty since their expertise were needed to maintain the western aircraft.

Those plans were not favored by a regime that regards the regular army as ‘Taghuti’ and relies on the ‘Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’ to protect the Islamic revolution. Not to mention using the IRGC as a check against the regular military. (IRGC has seized or established grounds/bases near every major regular military base in Iran).

Once those senior commanders (read obstacles) were killed, the regime went into one of its mass purges again. Dismissal rates increased, dissident personnel were thrown in jail, any one who voiced his concern against rampant corruption was jailed, cronyism grew larger as the new commander of the IRIAF Gen. Baghae’e (known as ‘Choopan’ or herder, for his love of goats, cows and sheep) turned the air force bases around the country into herding grounds, and started using the air force’s conscript soldiers as slave laborers in the regime’s oil and gas projects through out the country. He basically did what he was told to do: keep an important branch of the regular military weak and incompetent.

At the time of the ‘JetStarII crash’ in Isfahan in January of 1995, many within the air force community believed the cause of the incident was ‘a package’ given to a crew member as a gift. Did the ‘gift’ explode mid-air causing the loss of cabin pressure and subsequent loss of life and aircraft in the process? No one knows.

But the history of military purges in Iran tells me that the regime did not want General Sattari and co to run the regular air force.

What better way to dismiss these men in a mysterious mid-air crash than to risk upsetting 1/3rd of Iran’s mostly pro-western US trained regular military?

Winston Smith for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: The Spirit of Man, Wiki

 

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