Thursday, October 1, 2009

Iran's Chinooks

During the Shah's reign Iran purchased roughly 96 CH-47 Chinooks for the IIAF (Imperial Iranian Air Force), another 50 were ordered (one of the many weapons the Shah had ordered and paid for which were never delivered to the new regime) but were withheld following the Iranian Revolution.

During the war with Iraq in the 1980's at least 8 Chinooks were lost.

On one fateful day, 15 July 1983, an Iraqi Mirage F-1 destroyed three Iranian CH-47s flying low to deliver marines to a front line.

It's been rumored that Iranian Helicopter Company completely overhauled, re-built and reverse-engineered some models of all military helicopters including the Chinooks.

As of December 2001, the IRIAF (air force) was operating 14 CH-47Cs, including 5 completely re-built from the war. 6 others have been transferred to the Revolutionary Air Guard, "Gordane-Pasdaran" which was a separate force controlled by the air force.


Anonymous said...

The newer upgraded CH-47C fleet pictures in your excellent photographs at the Badr IRIAA base in Esfahan shows them in pristine condition and various news technical innovations like ECM and chaff dispensors. Iran remains the second largest operator of CH-47C Chinooks after the US despite a futile "embargo" on spares since 1979.

Both the Boeing US and Elicotteri Meridionali (EM) of Italy delivered around 102 different variants prior to 1979. These medium to heavy lift rotary craft saw extensive service in the Iran-Iraq war and about 8 were lost, including one dug up by US forces at Taji airbase in 2003. This aircraft Chinook 5-4089 (P-043) found in Iraq had been shot down during the Fao operations and then transported for analysis. Iraqis obviously did not find much as it was abandoned.

In the early 90's Iran acquired another 18 Chinooks from various friendly nations. Today perhaps over 100 of these machines are operational with HESA providing spares and upgrades. Esfahan-based Aviation Industries Research Center (AIRC)is also a leading organization in the huge Iranian rotary aviation industry.

Some of the workload of these IRIAA workhorses has recently been lightened by the large acquisition and assembly of Russian MI-17sh helicopters in different military and naval variants. Most are armed with anti-armor and anti-shipping missiles.

Iran currently also operates nearly 90 Mi-8/17-series helicopters, but most of those are in service with the military units of the Pasdaran or Revolutionary Guards. Deliveries began in 1998 and continue from the second Mi-17 line at Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, with some machines finding civilian applications. Iranian commercial operators such as Navid Air have purchased as many as a dozen Mi-8/17s from the used market.

Anonymous said...

Those Chinooks were not only delivered to the IIAF but, also (and mainly) to the IIAA (Imperial Iranian Army Aviation) which was the air arm of the Imperial Iranian Army.