Skip to comments.Iranian F-14s Fly Again
Posted on 01/31/2008 8:59:55 PM PST by nuconvert
Iranian F-14s Fly Again
January 31, 2008: The U.S. has now forbidden the sale of any F-14 aircraft components. This is to prevent Iran from getting any parts with which to keep its dwindling fleet of F-14s operational. All surplus F-14s, and F-14 components, must be destroyed. The U.S. Navy has been doing that, since last year, to the retired F-14s it has.
It is believed that Iran has restored at least three of its three-decade old F-14A jets to operational status. More F-14As are to be restored this year. There is, however, the matter of credibility and capability. For decades, Iran has continually boasted of new, Iranian designed and manufactured weapons, only to have the rather more somber truth leak out later. Iran's weapons design capabilities are primitive, but the government has some excellent publicists, who always manage to grab some headlines initially, before anyone can question the basic facts behind these amazing new weapons.
For example, Iran says it began its F-14 restoration project in 2002. In that same year, Iran announced that 25, of the 79 F-14As it bought in the 1970s, were still operational. It's long been known that Iran began cannibalizing some of its F-14s, back in the 1980s, to keep others flying. During the 1980s, the F-14s were heavily used in the war with Iraq. 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.
Less well known is that Iran established a smuggling operation to obtain F-14 parts, and manufactured some itself. Russia also helped with some custom made parts and refurbishment services. But going into the 1990s, fewer and fewer Iranian F-14s were seen in the air. Whenever an F-14 took off it was big news, and difficult to hide. Word got around, and with hundreds of thousands of Iranians living in exile, the word was passed on. Thus the 2002 claim that 25 Iranian F-14s were operational, was not taken seriously. The new claims, that three are flyable, appear to be true. Some F-14s have been seen in the air, but don't expect another major, or even minor, flyover in Tehran. Iran says it is making new weapons for the F-14, without mentioning that the supply of U.S. made missiles ran out over a decade ago. The F-14 also needs new electronics, as parts for those items are much harder to get, than items needed to just get the aircraft into the air. Iran can, at great effort and expense, get a dozen or so F-14s airborne. But once flying, these ancient and jury-rigged aircraft, are more target than threat.
The new U.S. regulations ban the export of any F-14 components. Only museums and other history minded groups, can legally possess F-14 components, or inoperable versions of the aircraft.
Jeepers, I wonder if the combat history of the F-14 will ever be written up as it seems it is, like it or lump it, almost exclusively Iranian.
Basically their entire conventional warfare capacity is laughably pitiful. I read they can field only one armored division and that, conventionally speaking, their Gulf neighbors could collectively kick their butts militarily.
All their treasure has been sunk into the nuclear program.
There is a good synopsis of the combat history of the F-14 on Wikedpdia. Of course, you can always watch "Top Gun." "Top Gun" is a good movie on DVD since you can skip all the cheeseball Tom Cruise scenes and just watch the planes.
The 1989 Libyan shoot down is on you tube. A lot of the video looks staged though.
I understand the need to destroy all the flyable F-14's in our inventory. Nevertheless, it is sad to think we will never see a vintage one flying at an air show in the future
Didn’t F-14’s shoot down some Libyan jets in the Med.?
*Ping* to Snipe, thought you might find this thread interesting, and that your knowledge and expertise on the subject of the F-14 would be welcomed.
Time for a “Turkey” shoot.
Gee, Wally, you'd be wrong.
I wasn't flight deck but any form of the enemy having a TOMCAT is bad news. The good news is they don't have the missile designed for it the Phoenix. If they had one function that could cause some major trouble. Another factor is if the F-14 is actually working fully functional mechanically they can out run and out maneuver our fighters. They were the best of the best Naval fighters built the Top Gun second to none.
Ill-trained pilots and lack of accessories make these little more than drone targets.
Actually, they benefit from the ignorance and complicity of the western press.
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The F-14 aircombat records reveal few actual shoot-downs of enemy combatants. Specifically 4 Libyans and 1 Iraqi helo. All these were accomplished with the Sidewinder (heat-seeking) missles and not the much heralded Phoenix Missle. The Phoenix system was designed exclusively for the Tomcat as a tool to “Fire and forget” six hostile targets. We must guess the Iranians have no way to maintain Phoenix systems air to air capabilities and will hang Sidewinders or similar devices. Suspect F-14 platform will be for their cruise missles or a suicide aircraft to attach CAPITAL targets (CVs).
The main intent of the long ranged AIM-54 Phoenix was to deal with incoming Bears, Badgers, later Backfires, and incoming Kingfish and Kitchens. Now the AIM-120D has a similar range, in a smaller, lighter package.
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