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Thirty minutes to choose your fighter jet: how the Shah of Iran chose the F-14 Tomcat over the F-15
The Aviationist ^ | February 11, 2013 | Dario Leone

Posted on 02/11/2013 11:44:50 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki

Thirty minutes to choose your fighter jet: how the Shah of Iran chose the F-14 Tomcat over the F-15 Eagle

February 11, 2013

Despite all the skepticism about the actual airworthiness of Iran’s new stealth fighter “Qaher 313″, one thing is certain: Iran is still flying the iconic Grumman F-14.

More than 6 years after its last flight with the U.S. Navy, the Tomcat is still in service in a small number of examples with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), to such an extent, Iran has recently tested a brand new air-to-air missile dubbed “Fakour”, for the combat plane made famous by Top Gun.

In fact, 80 F-14s were ordered by the Shah and 79 were effectively delivered. The procurement of the Tomcat to Iran was very important not only for Grumman, which was facing serious cash flow problems due to the difficult development of the aircraft, but also for the future of the fighter itself, since at the time F-14’s program was affected by schedule slippage and cost overruns.

Image credit: Grumman/IIAF

When the Shah announced his intention to replace the old F-4 Phantoms in service with the Imperial Iranian Air Force, it was clear that both the USAF’s new F-15 and the Navy’s F-14 would have had the same opportunity to become Iranian’s main fighter.

So, after briefings held by USAF and Navy personnel in the Shah’s palace in Tehran, Iranian officials decided that it would have been the flight demonstration at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC, scheduled in July 1973, to determine which one between the two fighters, would be the best to satisfy the then Imperial Iranian Air Force’s requiremens.

The flight demonstration was scheduled not to exceed 30 minutes from the first take off to the landing of the second aircraft.

The base was closed for that short time in which at the presence of the Shah, the two U.S. fighters had to fly their demonstration: it was decided that the USAF’s F-15, piloted by Irv Burrows (McDonnell Douglas’ test pilot), would have performed first, while Don Evans and Dennis Romano (Grumman’s test crew) with their F-14, would wait their turn after the Eagle.

While the F-15 taxied onto runway, Don and Dennis started engines of the Tomcat ahead of the schedule and burned down fuel in the warm up area during the Eagle demonstration, to reduce the difference in thrust to weight ratio between the two fighters. However F-15’s demonstration was spectacular, not only for the raw power of the aircraft but also for pilot’s skills: Burrows was a great pilot and that day, he showed all his ability.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The flight demonstration was the same for both aircraft: it consisted in a sequence of maneuvers beginning with a high performance take off followed by an Immelman turn and climb-out, then a descent to a high speed fly-by, two high-g low altitude turns followed by a slow speed fly-by in the landing configuration and last, the landing.

Since the F-15 has a higher thrust to weight ratio than the F-14A, the Eagle performed a really impressive flight profile during which it pulled an incredible 7-g 360 degree turn.

After the F-15 had finished its display, everyone was waiting for the underpowered F-14A demonstration: the Tomcat’s TF-30 engines would have not given to the aircraft the same thrust to weigh ratio of the Eagle.

However, during the F-15’s performance, Evans and Romano burned down a great quantity of fuel and now they had only 2,500 pounds of remaining gas: while this little quantity was only sufficient to accomplish their flight demonstration, 2,500 pounds was also one eight of the Tomcat’s internal fuel capacity and thanks to this fact the Tomcat had the same thrust to weight ratio of the Eagle.

At this point the F-14 had one thing that the F-15 didn’t have: variable geometry wings that would have made the difference for the grace of the flight demonstration.

Don and Dennis pushed both throttles to full zone five afterburner (which was the maximum afterburner thrust setting for TF-30 engine) and took off to perform the same demonstration of the F-15: the sequence of the maneuvers was just like the Eagle’s one, but the Tomcat’s crew, during the knife-edge pass, decided to sweep the wings from fully swept to fully forward and then they executed a turn at the maximum Tomcat’s performance, producing a large cloud of vapor off the wings due to the shock wave.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

Then approaching the mid with the wings swept at 40 degrees, the Tomcat went into a full afterburner 360 degree 8 ½ g turn accelerated to 400 knots, very impressive to see. To end the demonstration, Evans and Romano added a touch-and-go landing: when the main landing gears came in touch with the runway they inserted full zone five afterburners and the Tomcat climbed in vertical. At this point, while they had almost ran out of fuel, they made a spectacular carrier landing approach and they fully stopped in one thousand feet of runway.

Once the show ended, the Shah literally ignored the Eagle and walked directly towards the Tomcat speaking for some minutes with the crew still sat in the cockpit of the fighter: he’d chosen the Tomcat, saving the Grumman and assuring a future to the F-14.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; f14; f15; iran

1 posted on 02/11/2013 11:44:55 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

The thing with the F-14.....1 Aircraft, one bullet.


2 posted on 02/11/2013 11:47:59 PM PST by occamrzr06
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Neat.

Correct me if I am wrong however, Doesn't the F-15 have the "perfect" record?

3 posted on 02/12/2013 12:24:35 AM PST by Michael Barnes (Obamaa+ Downgrade)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

” the Tomcat is still in service “

Can any of them still fly?


4 posted on 02/12/2013 12:30:24 AM PST by PAR35
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To: PAR35

Anytime, Baby!


5 posted on 02/12/2013 12:35:09 AM PST by Haiku Guy (If you have a right / To the service I provide / I must be your slave)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Did Iran get the Phoenix missile? That thing gave a new meaning to “Reach out and touch someone!”


6 posted on 02/12/2013 12:40:07 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Iran military aviation ping.


7 posted on 02/12/2013 12:46:52 AM PST by gleeaikin
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To: PAR35

The assumption is that (1), Iran procured replacement parts in the Black Market way back when and (2), they cannibalized many of their F-14’s to keep a lesser number operational.

The fact that they are still flying says a lot about the Sturdiness of the Airframe and the skill level of the Iranian Mechanics servicing them.

there were opinions that we should have modernized our F-14’s rather than replace them with F-18’s way back when.

We like to think that the Iranians are unable to accomplish things that we Americans have done, but it is a false assumption. There are many well Educated and talented individuals within their Population, many whom were Educated in American Universities.

But let’s remember, Pharaoh Obama said we have nothing to fear from those “small” Countries. So it is written, so it shall be done.


8 posted on 02/12/2013 12:47:30 AM PST by Kickass Conservative (I only Fear a Government that doesn't Fear me.)
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To: PAR35
Iran begged, borrowed, and stole to get a few F-14s flying. They cannibalized most all of their fleet to do it.
9 posted on 02/12/2013 12:47:30 AM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Liberals make unrealistic demands on reality and reality doesn't oblige them.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

They did. Apparently they used them to good effect against the Iraqis during the war - ironically the only real example of the Phoenix missile being used effectively in combat.


10 posted on 02/12/2013 12:50:13 AM PST by JerseyanExile
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To: JerseyanExile

Thanks. That was a bad missile to be on the business end of.


11 posted on 02/12/2013 12:54:08 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Michael Barnes
Two F-15's were lost to ground fire (one AAA and one SAM) during Desert Storm and a Japanese F-15 was accidentally shot down by one of its squadronmates (oops!), but thus far there has not been an F-15 lost to enemy aircraft.


Here's a picture of an Israeli F-15 that lost its right wing in a collision with an A-4 during a training exercise in 1983. The pilot could not see the extent of the damage due to the stream of leaking fuel, so he flew ten miles to the nearest base and landed.

12 posted on 02/12/2013 12:59:45 AM PST by Stonewall Jackson (Molon Labe!)
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To: Kickass Conservative
Used to be that Iran's revolutionary government executed all who were trained or educated in the West. A full on backward mentality ruled. So it's not a false assumption since those who were Western educated were either executed or ran for their lives to other countries. Only a few were able to hide it.

Friend of mine had an Iranian roommate in college. He said the Iranian's father was a army general. After the Shah was deposed, all of Iran's military leaders were called to meet with the Ayatollahs government. His father went got tired of waiting so he went down the hall to the restroom. From the meeting room he heard machine gun fire. He then escaped out the bathroom window, the only survivor of that meeting. The General got his family out to America.

The cavemen who took over Iran would print what looked like a yearbook. Would have a picture of a military leader taken at their graduation from a Western military course or school, taken from their files. The next page would be a picture of that person's gruesome execution. The books circulated heavily throughout the Iranian exile community. People wanted to make sure their relatives or friends weren't in the book.

13 posted on 02/12/2013 1:27:28 AM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Liberals make unrealistic demands on reality and reality doesn't oblige them.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Iran has recently tested a brand new air-to-air missile dubbed “Fakour”, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Fakyours !


14 posted on 02/12/2013 1:36:08 AM PST by Candor7 (Obama fascism article:(http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html))
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

In 1977 students at Air Command and Staff College have three mixes about 3 months long over the course of the year. The exchange officer in my first mix was Iranian. Very nice and pleasant fellow. Unfortunately he had progressed too far up the chain when the Shah fell after his return and he didn’t “escape out the bathroom window”.


15 posted on 02/12/2013 3:10:04 AM PST by Portcall24
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Excellent post!


16 posted on 02/12/2013 4:00:57 AM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I witnessed this exhibition from about 100 yards away from the runway. Those things were awesome at takeoff and turns. The Shah was said to be about another 200 yards away and was thunderstruck. The whole base stopped and watched (if they were outside).


17 posted on 02/12/2013 4:09:30 AM PST by Safetgiver ( Islam makes barbarism look genteel.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Nice back then when we had friends in the Middle East (other than Israel). I hope Jimmy Carter is proud of what he’s done.


18 posted on 02/12/2013 4:13:47 AM PST by BobL
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To: Kickass Conservative
there were opinions that we should have modernized our F-14’s rather than replace them with F-18’s way back when.

Yes, however I have heard it said in the halls of aerospace that in terms of being a customer the Navy will always break your heart.

For the life of me I don't know why Pratt didn't do a follow on to the TF-30 or at least a FADEC upgrade.

Having the pleasure of seeing a F-14D @ Reno give an incredible flight demo w/ the GE engines, it did things no F-14 ever did before.

The proposed Upgrade beyond the F-14D never made it past the proposal phase, dang shame.

We should have sold them to the Israeli's for a $1 and let them do a continuous improvement program, they'd still be flying and kicking @$$ IMHO...

19 posted on 02/12/2013 4:16:54 AM PST by taildragger (( Tighten the 5 point harness and brace for Impact Freepers, ya know it's coming..... ))
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
Just wow...

I had a former co-worker in the early 90's who's dad was someone high in the Intel and or Military and got out before it hit the shan. He noted it was an incredible country before the Ayatollah took over, much like America and for a young man a great deal of fun, then again he was probably of the privileged class.

Now one can only imagine what a cesspool the country and culture is, and our dear leader Chumpolini turned his nose to their begging for liberation and one wonders how many more were "purged". The worse part is he is Carter part Duex and his Iran will be Egypt for starters if no more countries...

20 posted on 02/12/2013 4:23:29 AM PST by taildragger (( Tighten the 5 point harness and brace for Impact Freepers, ya know it's coming..... ))
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To: Kickass Conservative; taildragger

You would think upgrading would be cheaper, but its not always I guess.

Could we have rebuilt the B-1 with composite skin and radar-absorbing material? Could we have done that with other old aircraft? I guess it would require so much testing it’d be cost prohibitive?


21 posted on 02/12/2013 6:08:29 AM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: taildragger

Just visited the AMARG in Tucson. On the tour they said that all non museum Tomcats were scheduled to be destroyed to stop parts from being delivered to Iran.


22 posted on 02/12/2013 6:13:17 AM PST by cb
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Naval aviators made the difference.


23 posted on 02/12/2013 6:15:39 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: Michael Barnes

Yes.

U.S. F-15 Eagle Kill Records:

5 Iraqi Mig-29 Fulcrums
7 Iraqi Mirage F-1’s
8 Iraqi Mig-23’s
2 Iraqi Mig-21’s
1 Iraqi ll-76
2 Iraqi SU-25 Frogfoots
3 Iarqi SU-7/17
1 Iraqi MI-24 Hind
2 Iraqi SU-22 Fitters
2 Iraqi MIG-25 Foxbats
4 Serbian Mig-29 Fulcrums
1 Afghan MI-24 Hind (F-15E)
2 U.S. UH-60 Blackhawks (fratricide)

Israeli F-15 kill records:

80-92 Mig-21 Fishbeds
several MIG-25 Foxbats

Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 kill records:

2 Iranian F-4E Phantoms
2 Iraqi F-1 Mirages
1 Iraqi Mig-25

Japanese F-15 kill record:

1 Japanese F-15J (accidental shooting by another Japanese F-15J)

U.S. F-14 Tomcat kill records:

2 Libyan SU-22 Fitters
2 Libyan Mig-23 Floggers
1 Iraqi MI-8 Hip

Iranian F-14 Tomcat kill record:

?????

Iranian F-14 losses:

1 killed by an Iraqi MIG-21


24 posted on 02/12/2013 6:35:13 AM PST by 2CAVTrooper (Slaving away so obama supporting deadbeats can play)
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To: Stonewall Jackson

The pilot Zivi Nedivi said that if he had actually seen the damage he would have more than likely ejected.

The aircraft was fully repaired, and saw further combat service.


25 posted on 02/12/2013 7:19:37 AM PST by 2CAVTrooper (Slaving away so obama supporting deadbeats can play)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
While the F-15 taxied onto runway, Don and Dennis started engines of the Tomcat ahead of the schedule and burned down fuel in the warm up area during the Eagle demonstration, to reduce the difference in thrust to weight ratio between the two fighters.
When I saw the title of this article I was gonna contribute that story, which Don Evans told me in my office at Grumman years after the event.

The last time I saw an F-14 in flight, it was flown by a Navy crew back to Long Island and landed at the Westhampton Beach (Gabreski) field. The Tomcat was on its way back to Calverton and AFAIK is still on static display beside the fence of the old Grumman facility there. As such the plane was old and tired, and was limited to non-maneuvering flight, so the crew simply landed it with no demonstration. The contrast between that and the kind of show Don Evans (or any of the test pilots) would sometimes put on was depressing. Sic transit gloria. I can only imagine what kind of flying shape the last of the Iranian F-14s must be in.

Don said on one occasion that his physical turned up an anomaly which threatened his flying status; it was a question of whether that anomaly was going at some time to unexpectedly cause severe pain - which would be unsafe if he was flying a plane at the time - or whether that had already happened and not been identified. Exploratory surgery would have messed up his career just as bad as not knowing the status of the anomaly - but his problem was solved by a new medical procedure known as an “MRI.” Which showed that he had already gone through the painful episode. It had happened, he decided, while he was moving heavy cartons around in preparation for temporarily moving to Iran to train pilots for the Shah.

Don loved to fly. Asked what he thought of the F-111B (variant made by Grumman), he said it was a fine aircraft - as long as you didn’t get in it thinking it was a fighter plane. It had even more internal fuel capacity than the F-14, which itself had about half again as much internal fuel capacity as an F-15. The F-14 and the F-15 were both “fighter” aircraft, and both highly capable in that role. It’s just that the F-14 had so much more legs. Even in the “A” configuration with TF-30 engines, Don thought that with the wings in the minimum sweep position it could have set a time-to-climb record. Of course in the “D” variant (only developed in about 1985), it had fully competitive engines as well as variable wing sweep.


26 posted on 02/12/2013 8:42:47 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: occamrzr06
The thing with the F-14.....1 Aircraft, one bullet.
I’m not sure that there has ever been built that wouldn’t go down if hit in exactly the right spot. An A-10, maybe. But the record is that neither the F-15 nor the F-14 has ever been in a situation where air-air combat casualties have been incurred - unless Iran lost some against Saddam, but I don’t think we know about that.
I think the worst technical problem with the Tomcat was maintenance, there were more things to go wrong. I also think that when the F-14 finally got modern engines it was too late for the program, because of politics.

The money required to build the F-18 and its “variants” (the F-18E has some commonality with earlier models, but generally it is a different plane made to look the same in and labeled the same in order to allow people who didn’t want to know better to act as if it were the same plane) would have bought the Navy a awful lot of F-14Ds with all that would mean in terms of range and endurance. Even the F-18E/F doesn’t have comparable range to an F-14D - and that means that the carriers have less capability, and that means the Navy is less capable.


27 posted on 02/12/2013 9:25:48 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Don Evans, Grumman Test Pilot (1927-1994)
I had known while I was still at Grumman that Don had brain cancer, so I assumed that he was dead by now - but I’m surprised to learn that he passed away before I left, without my hearing of it.

RIP :-(


28 posted on 02/12/2013 9:54:07 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: taildragger
Having the pleasure of seeing a F-14D @ Reno give an incredible flight demo w/ the GE engines, it did things no F-14 ever did before.

I was there as well. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It impressed me almost as much as the F-22 demos do now.

29 posted on 02/16/2013 2:12:09 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: taildragger
Having the pleasure of seeing a F-14D @ Reno give an incredible flight demo w/ the GE engines, it did things no F-14 ever did before.

I was there as well. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It impressed me almost as much as the F-22 demos do now.

30 posted on 02/16/2013 2:12:41 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Stonewall Jackson
That image doesn't show the Israeli F-15. That is just part of the History Channel dramatisation of the events. They simply altered footage of USAF F-15Es to tell the story. That image is part of the dramatised footage. See 02:40 at following video.

You Tube Link - Israeli F-15 Lands With One Wing

04:13 shows actual stills of the Israeli F-15 after it landed.

31 posted on 02/24/2013 4:14:38 PM PST by Tommyjo
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To: taildragger
<We should have sold them to the Israeli's for a $1 and let them do a continuous improvement program, they'd still be flying and kicking @$$ IMHO...

A few years ago at a town hall meeting with Wayne Allard, I suggested we Lend-Lease a handful of our mothballed B-1s to Israel. He stood silent, with his mouth open for a moment and then went on to call on another waving hand.

32 posted on 02/24/2013 5:53:28 PM PST by kitchen (Due to the increased price of ammo, do not expect a warning shot.)
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