Iranian Tomcats Get New Paint Job

F-14’s of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force could be sporting more than a new paint job. Back in 2007, The Lucky Puppy reported on the possibility that France might help Iran resurrect their Tomcat fleet. Follow this link:

Putin Says- “Pimp My MiG”


Iranian ace Jalil Zandi is credited with shooting down 11 Iraqi aircraft during Iran–Iraq War and is the most successful F-14 pilot.
Iranian ace Jalil Zandi is credited with shooting down 11 Iraqi aircraft during Iran–Iraq War and is the most successful F-14 pilot.

Since the 1979 embargo of F-14 parts, Iran has kept three of the 79 aircraft in the air.  The most infamous one was involved in the Iranian Airbus  Iran Air Flight 655 shoot down by the U.S.S. Vincennes in 1988.   In 2002 Iran announced that it had 25 out of 79 operational.  In 1985, 25 Iranian F-14s flew over Tehran as part of a celebration. In the last year of the war, 1988, an F-14 shot down an Iraqi jet, one of over 80 knocked down by their F-14s since 1980. That much is known, because there were witnesses and other evidence. Using Russian sources and smuggling parts into Iran were some ways it has been speculated that the Iranian Air Force accomplished this feat, To prevent parts getting into the black market, the U.S. literally cut up the U.S.  Tomcat fleet when the aircraft was taken out of service.  Most, if not all U.S. military aircraft wind up at the storage facility in Holloman, New Mexico. Not the Tomcat. In our 2007 post, we postulated that Iran was getting their Tomcats pimped by France as did Iraq with their MiG-25’s.  Consider this video produced by Iran.  It has been cobbled together from scenes of Iranian TV series ‘Shoghe Parvaz’ (The Delight of The Flight) and flight scenes from “Topgun” of all things. [youtube_sc url=”″]

Some Things I Spotted

  • You see six aircraft lined up on the apron.
  • Anyone can give AIM-54 shapes a new paint job and drag them around the flight line.
  • I count four moving under their own power.  Any crew chief will tell you that with enough effort,  any hangar queen or cann bird can taxi to the runway.
  • One scene shows that one Tomcat is filmed in flight from another Tomcat.  That’s two in the air at the same time.

In summer of 2010, Iran requested that the United States deliver the 80th F-14 it had purchased in 1974, but delivery was denied after the Islamic Revolution. In October 2010, an Iranian Air Force commander claimed that the country overhauls and optimizes different types of military aircraft, mentioning that Air Force has even installed Iran-made radar systems on the F-14. Best estimates is that the Iranians have three operational aircraft. No….wait.  On 26 January 2012, an Iranian F-14 crashed three minutes after takeoff. Both crew members were killed. That makes the Iranian Tomcat fleet……two.

F-14-IRIAF 2012
Snazzy new paint job on the outside but what nasty surprises for American airmen are on the inside?

You might want to read:

Iran Unveils Fifth Generation Fighter

[youtube_sc url=””]

4 thoughts on “Iranian Tomcats Get New Paint Job

  1. While researching for this post I read “Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat” by Tom Cooper. He reports that in 1982 Iran conducted Operation “Self-sufficiency Jihad” and started producing replacement parts like tires and brakes. They also repaired the AWG-9 radar with solid state components and actually increased it’s power and range (and reduced it’s weight by 14 kg.).

    Dwindling stockpiles of AIM-54 rounds led them to mount MIM-23B Hawk surface to air missiles to the shoulder pylons. In testing (Project SKY HAWK) it was found that the launch parameters were very limited. Reports claim it was used in combat in 1986 against Iraq. Whether it was successful or not remains debatable.

    I highly recommend this book. It’s a fun read and underlines the differences between US Naval doctrine and how the F-14 was actually employed in combat. During the Iran/Iraq war of 1980 and the later “Tanker War” the Tomcat established air supremacy to such a degree that even Saudi Arabia ordered it’s air force to avoid areas where the Tomcat was just “Believed to be in the area.” The only combat losses were 4 downed by the over zealous Iranian SAM gunners on the Kharg Island oil platform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.