Starving Iran’s Tomcats


Categorie: Air, Iran |

F14iranThe U.S. government has stepped in to halt the auctioning of spare parts for the Northrop Grumman F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, Defense News reports:

The sales of all F-14 parts were suspended on January 26 pending a review, the Defense Logistics Agency said in a statement. Dawn Dearden, a spokewoman for the agency, told AFP the sales were frozen “given the current situation in Iran.” Iran bought 79 F-14s from the United States before the fall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979. The move comes amid growing U.S.-Iranian tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and what Washington sees as Iranian subversion of U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Not to mention Iranian agents have been fingered in the recent Iraq commando raid that killed five U.S. troops, according to The New York Times:

Investigators say they believe that attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable about the inquiry.

With a confrontation looming, the U.S. is trying to strangle the Iranian air force in advance of a bombing campaign. As I reported last year at Defense Tech, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has managed to maintain or even increase its combat power despite embargoes:

All told, the IRIAF flies as many as 300 fighters. All are older designs, but have been maintained and, in many cases, upgraded by the indigenous aerospace industry, which has become proficient in reverse-engineering weapons and spare parts — and perhaps even engines. And the IRIAF has aerial tankers too — a force multiplier only the most advanced air forces maintain.

Iran’s air defense network would be a tough nut to crack, even with our F-22 fighters and aircraft carriers. We could do it, of course, but probably not without loss. But then what?

And don’t forget: there is still no direct evidence of state-sanctioned Iranian meddling in Iraq. If there is, our government hasn’t entrusted us with it.

Cross-posted at Defense Tech


4 Responses to “Starving Iran’s Tomcats”

  1. [...] The Navy retired its last F-14 Tomcat fighter last year. But Iran still flies a handful that it bought back in the 1970s before the Shah’s overthrow. And the country is desperately in need of spares, so much so that F-14 parts have become hot items on the black market. Which is why the Navy doesn’t mind the bad PR it gets from seizing legally sold retired Tomcats from their rightful owners, as the Los Angeles Times reports: On Tuesday, customs agents and officials with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service seized two of the fighters from the Yanks Air Museum and one from the Planes of Fame air museum, both at the Chino Airport. Investigators learned about the F-14s during an undercover sting operation when they were investigating the potential sale of jet fighter parts to Iran, according to the affidavit. [...]

  2. [...] Starving Iran’s F-14s [...]

  3. [...] Related: Israeli satellite assists raid Middle East arms race Starving Iran’s fighters No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  4. [...] So why did Tehran cancel the fly-over? According to Air Forces Monthly, the Iranian government perhaps believed that Israel was planning on bombing the assembled aircraft, on the day of the event — effectively destroying Iran’s entire, beleaguered air arm. AFM bases their assessment, in the June issue, on local Iranian news reports that in turn referred to Russian intelligence sources. [...]

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