Iranian Tomcats

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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mixelflick

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 16:13

Their uncanny ability to keep their F-14's airworthy is admirable, IMO. Supposedly, they have an upgraded F-14AM version? .

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1065315/pg1

New radar

Integrates a new Iranian indigenous upgrade which is consisted on a digital AWG-9 with new state-of-the-art CPUs which maximizes it's capabilities to track foreign aircraft and gives it A-G capabilities : to look down and track objects on the ground - a feature that has been traditionally unavailable in F-14A .

They say the radar is now almost similar to AN/APG-71 of F-15E Strike Eagle (here !): since this radar features the exact same upgrades on AWG-9


New weapons

Fakour missile : Upgraded Phoenix missile (NATO codename AIM-54A+ ) with a range of +300 km . it's range is higher than original phoenix but details are un-known

Maghsoud missile : ALL-NEW Iranian AWACS killer with a range of 500kms . currently in last stages of development

Overhaul and Airframe refurbishment :

Since these birds are received during 70s and have been used in a long war , the airframes could have micro fractures not visible to un-armed eye . X-ray is used to find those fractures and repair is performed .

Engines

(TF-30) are currently in the process of reverse-engineering . all of them are over-hauled and combat-ready as we speak .
The "Stall" problem in F-14 which were witness during High-G maneuvers is no longer the case .

New paint job

Finally , For its designation , its given the "Asian-minor-2" Splinter Scheme (snazzy)... :mrgreen:

Now I'm not rooting for the Iranians, but I find their work to keep the F-14 a viable platform admirable. The 'Cat has really grown on me over the years, especially the GE F-110 engined birds. They must still think an awful lot of it, to go to these lengths and keep them competitive. Whereas before, the goal seemed to be just keeping them combat capable.

QUESTION: They have the $, so why not retire them and order SU-30's or even secondhand SU-27's from Russia? The Flanker would seem to give them similar/even better capabilities, minus the air to air "reach" that the Tomcat possesses? Is the latter that profound??
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f-16adf

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 16:28

I think any Russian/Iranian Flanker deal needs UN security council approval due to Resolution 2231?
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mixelflick

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 17:30

f-16adf wrote:I think any Russian/Iranian Flanker deal needs UN security council approval due to Resolution 2231?


Ah, I see. I knew there had to be a reason they weren't springing for new aircraft. Doubt they'd opt for more Mig-29's, and there really isn't another option to replace the F-14 in the long range, interceptor and air superiority role. Like I said though, give them credit for keeping those F-14's airworthy and upgraded. I realize a lot of their claims are propaganda,
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arian

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 22:55

This is mostly fantasy, however. The F-14AM "was" a project where they were going to use some Chinese radar tech to upgrade their F-14s. But apparently this did not progress past prototype stage. Before that they had a project to upgrade using Russian technology, but that also went nowhere. And in any case most of these claims are, more than likley, wild exaggerations.

mixelflick wrote:
f-16adf wrote:I think any Russian/Iranian Flanker deal needs UN security council approval due to Resolution 2231?


Ah, I see. I knew there had to be a reason they weren't springing for new aircraft. Doubt they'd opt for more Mig-29's, and there really isn't another option to replace the F-14 in the long range, interceptor and air superiority role. Like I said though, give them credit for keeping those F-14's airworthy and upgraded. I realize a lot of their claims are propaganda,


Well, they also didn't really have all that much money and the AF seems to have been the most neglected of all forces over the last few decades. Iran's AF is basically tiny and completely inadequate even against their immediate neighbors in air-defense role. Dozens if not hundreds of billions spend on Syria this past decade, so not a lot left for fighters.

And the new infusion of cash seems to be earmarked for civilian aviation which was also almost completely depleted (and needed a lot more than fighter planes given the need to supply its regional affiliates constantly).

And while F-14s may still be "in service", at the rate of maybe a dozen or so actually usable aircraft, I really doubt they are any sort of "long-range interceptor, air superiority" type at this point. No weapons for such a role in any case.
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f-16adf

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 23:55

Yes, that's a very good point.
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popcorn

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 00:01

arian wrote:And the new infusion of cash seems to be earmarked for civilian aviation which was also almost completely depleted (and needed a lot more than fighter planes given the need to supply its regional affiliates constantly).


That $150B freed after sanctions is misleading. The US Treasury estimated that about only a third would be left after the IG settled outstanding obligations. The Iranian Central Bank estimated only around $35B would be left over. Not that much to divide among various government priorities let alone funnel into terrorism.
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arian

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 00:50

popcorn wrote:
arian wrote:And the new infusion of cash seems to be earmarked for civilian aviation which was also almost completely depleted (and needed a lot more than fighter planes given the need to supply its regional affiliates constantly).


That $150B freed after sanctions is misleading. The US Treasury estimated that about only a third would be left after the IG settled outstanding obligations. The Iranian Central Bank estimated only around $35B would be left over. Not that much to divide among various government priorities let alone funnel into terrorism.


True, its a lot less when said and done. But $35 billion is still a lot. That's about 3 years worth of Iran's military expenditures (although indirect expenditures for other things like supporting various militias fighting around the ME may not be counted in that total of military expenditures of Iran). 3 years worth is not small either way.

But with nearly 200 civilian airliners on order, that's probably the majority of that money (not sure what the total costs of those orders are, but several tens of billions probably). Iran's civil aviation was becoming almost extinct.

Overall, from what I can see, Iran doesn't really appear interested in military aviation. At least not in an air-defense role. And overall their air-defenses seem very inadequate and forgotten. Despite S-300s and various local reverse-engineered copies of various systems, it all seems very inadequate.

Either Iran is thinking it can't afford to properly create an air-defense system given all the other priorities it has, or as those who claim familiarity with their internal politics say, the AF is intentionally left weak.

The implications for this against any potential future US/Israeli intervention don't bode well for Iran. There's virtually nothing to counter a US campaign against them. 20 MiG-29s and 20-a dozen derelict F-14s, a handful of Sa-6s and Hawks, 2-3 S-300 batteries. It should be a cakewalk for the US.
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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 16:35

arian wrote:This is mostly fantasy, however. The F-14AM "was" a project where they were going to use some Chinese radar tech to upgrade their F-14s. But apparently this did not progress past prototype stage. Before that they had a project to upgrade using Russian technology, but that also went nowhere. And in any case most of these claims are, more than likley, wild exaggerations.

mixelflick wrote:
f-16adf wrote:I think any Russian/Iranian Flanker deal needs UN security council approval due to Resolution 2231?


OK... so you're not buying the improved Phoenix either?

I'd think if wanting to keep the F-14 in service, that'd be where the $ goes first. Let's say it still has the AWG-9, aging sparrows (E model?) and AIM-9's (Lima version)?": At that point you're just flying an aircraft marginally more effective than their F-4 Phantoms. Would make no sense keeping it around without the Phoenix IMO..
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arian

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 23:17

mixelflick wrote:OK... so you're not buying the improved Phoenix either?

I'd think if wanting to keep the F-14 in service, that'd be where the $ goes first. Let's say it still has the AWG-9, aging sparrows (E model?) and AIM-9's (Lima version)?": At that point you're just flying an aircraft marginally more effective than their F-4 Phantoms. Would make no sense keeping it around without the Phoenix IMO..


No I'm not buying improved Phoenix either. I base that on nothing other than the Iranians constantly BS-ing with such claims and projects for decades, with nothing ever to show for it. So I could obviously be wrong, but claims on paper are easy enough for the Iranians to make all day. And they do.

I would be hugely surprised if there was a single operational Phoenix missile left in Iran since the 1990s, in fact. Also, I doubt the maintenance of the Tomcats is a priority for Iran. There doesn't appear much to indicate that any part of their AF is a priority for Iran.

Just my opinions, however.
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 16:19

mixelflick wrote:Engines

(TF-30) are currently in the process of reverse-engineering . all of them are over-hauled and combat-ready as we speak .
The "Stall" problem in F-14 which were witness during High-G maneuvers is no longer the case .


Not buying this one at all.

Making a copy of turbine blades or vanes (hot section) is not as easy as scanning them for a 3D printer to create a mold. There are decades of proprietary PW metallurgy at work, combined with proprietary metals, and processes. If it's not difficult enough to recreate exact copies of the blades, imagine the work required to copy a fuel control, or modify it so that 'stalls' aren't a problem. I'm not saying they haven't done something to the engines to improve the stall margin, but if they are making copies of the TF30s parts, you can bet they don't have the durability or performance of the OEM parts.

This is why EVERY TF30 that has been retired has been destroyed and not just sent to a scrap heap. To keep the parts from finding their way to the black market.

Last accounts of the Iranian Tomcats I heard, only had about 12 flyable aircraft of the original 80+spares. If they were smart enough to copy engines, they'd be flying a lot more Tomcats, and their 'new' aircraft would have TF30 copies and/or J85 copies pushing them.

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 20:01

You can be sure if they're concerned with perfection they'd of re-engineered Russian engines into them. No way did I suggest Al-31 was the only available engine. Isn't that podded layout more or less the reason F110 could be adapted? The Iranians are on a very tight military budget. Most of their money is sapped by social programs. They scratch by any way they can and fake it whenever possible.
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mixelflick

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Unread post24 Apr 2017, 17:37

Understand your point about not buying any of the upgrades. It's fun to dream though, about more powerful engines, Phoenix clones and perhaps even HOBS missiles. If I were flying a Super Hornet, it'd sure give me pause.

But a dozen or so TF-30 powered Tomcats with early model sparrow and sidewinders... I'd think it'd be a Turkey shoot. The SH's AESA would give first look/first shot of an AMRAAM, likely resulting in first kill. WVR their nose pointing ability coupled with the -9x is on paper a bloodbath.

Maybe when it's all over the history channel will do a new "dogfights" series. 1970's vintage Tomcats vs. State of The Art F-22's. Then we'd finally have an answer to the F-14 vs. F-22 thread, LOL...

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