Killing Pilot and Co-Pilot
Gen. Mohammadi said the F-4E was based at Bandar Abbas AFB, but had taken off from Shiraz and crashed at 11:15 am local time (0645 GMT) near Bakhtegan Lake in Fars province. The identities of the pilots were not released. (ISNA/Press TV, 15 July)
Last September, another F-4E fighter crashed while landing at Bushehr AFB, killing its pilot. Two other F-4s also crashed in 2010 and 2012 in Bushehr and Bandar Abbas respectively.
Iran purchased some 260 F-4s during the Shah’s government in late 1960s and 70s. The first combat use of F-4s was in 1975 when the Shah supported Omani government against the separatist rebels in Dhofar. The F-4s also played key role in the 8-year Iran-Iraq war. To this day the F-4 remains the workhorse of IRIAF, with an estimated 55 F-4s still operational. Last year, the Phantoms were fitted with Qader anti-ship cruise missiles to give Iran air-launched cruise missile capability.
File photo: IRIAF F-4E Phantom II over Tehran. March 2013. (theaviationist.com)