Iran’s Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced in Tehran today that Iran has mass produced new weapons, including an eight-barreled anti-aircraft gun with a firing rate of over 4,000 bullets per minute. The heavy machinegun was said to have the capability of hitting mobile command stations, different kinds of drones, low-flying aircraft and cruise missiles. Najjar said Iran has been designing and producing over 40 weapon systems locally.
In another military-related development, US today banned the sale of any F-14 aircraft components. The move was to prevent Iran from getting parts necessary to keep its F-14 fleet operational. All F-14 and F-4 components must now be destroyed.
It is believed that Iran has been able to restore at least three of its F-14’s jets. Jane Defense Weekly reported last August that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) has returned to service three F-14A Tomcat interceptor aircraft. US sold to Iran 79 F-14’s some thirty years ago, during the last years of the shah. The jets were heavily used during Iran-Iraq war.
It is estimated that some 57 F-14A’s are still in existence, though at varying degrees of disrepair.
Iran has also kept its fleet of aging F-4 Phantoms. One the F-4’s crashed in the Gulf of Oman last November. Iran had purchased some 220 of the Vietnam-era fighter jets in 1970s. It is not know how many Phantoms are operational today. Last October, Iran announced that it has fit new 2,000-pound optically guided smart bombs, called Ghadr, on its F-4’s and F-5’s.
Nader, your report that "all F-14 and F-4 components must now be destroyed" requires clarification. Are you saying that all US F-14 airframes currently stored as well as existing NOS parts inventories are to be recycled or destroyed? And regarding the F-4 Phantom, there are still examples being flown for the US as drones for test purposes, as well examples remaining in service for the Turkish Air Force. Surely, airframes and parts will continue to be stocked for these purposes. Won't they?
Three IRIAF F-14A Tomcats preformed a flyby at the Tehran Military Day parade in 2005. If I remember correctly, they were painted in a 3-color grey camo scheme, and are assumed to be refurbished aircraft.
Iran actually purchased 80 F-14s. The 80th plane was in the US and in process of conversion to a specified USAF style refueling system, when the Islamic Revolution interrupted and ultimately prevented delivery to Iran.
It has been reported that Iran has successfully reverse engineered the TF30 engine that serves as powerplant for the F-14. Iran also makes use of J79 engines (from the F-4) to power examples of its aerospace initiatives.
Regarding the MiG-29, the IRIAF has reportedly organized two units for a total of some 24 aircraft. Local Iranian modifications include bolt on refueling probes, larger than standard drop tanks and wired conversion for air-to-air missiles of Western origin. With Indian assistance, IRIAF MiG-29s underwent a process of major refurbishment, examples of which are painted in a 3-color grey camo scheme similar to that of refurbished IRIAF Tomcats.
Mark, great observations, as always. On F-14’s, I was referring to parts. I am not sure about airframes. I’ll get back to you on that. Your point on F-4’s, especially for the Turkish Air Force, makes sense, again as usual!
The three F-14 flyby in 05 was the last time we’ve seen them together. During last days of the war with Iraq, if I am remembering it correctly, some 40 F-14’s performed a flyby. I am not sure if restoration of these aging fighters, especially with regards to electronics equipment, makes that much sense. They’ll become great targets themselves.
Nader, it appears your report is correct, the US government destruction order pertains to all F-14 parts and airframes including those stored at the Boneyard. Incredible. Goes to show US high regard for the fighting capabilities of IRIAF air crews and their mighty F-14 Tomcats.
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