Tomcat Fights

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The F-14 was the most advanced fighter jet of its time and still is one of the most expensive ones. This movie is not however about the F-14s; it’s the story of few men who had to operate their F-14s without proper equipments. Challenging the odds, they t

Part1

Narration:

During the 1960s, the cold war between the two superpowers the United States and the Soviet Union had reached its peak. In order to attack possible targets in various parts of the world, the United States had positioned numerous advanced aircraft carriers in the world’s seas. And the Soviet Union had equipped its long range bomber aircraft with anti-ship cruise missiles, so they would attack the aircraft carriers in case of a conflict.

The fighter planes the US Army strategists had placed on the aircraft carriers had to be able to target the Soviet Union’s bombers from a very long distance. This idea led to the designing and manufacturing of the F-14 aircraft.

The first prototype of F-14 was shown in 1970, and the plane came into service in the US Navy 4 years later. With its sophisticated radar, F-14 was able to identify and track 24 targets at a 250 km distance and simultaneously attack 6 of them with air-to-air Phoenix missiles.

The long range missile could shoot down the enemy’s airplane from 112 km away at the ideal conditions.

The ties between Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and the US were at its best in 1970s, and the two countries were strategic allies. The Soviet Union, which was worried by the close cooperation between the Iranian and American armies, flew the reconnaissance aircraft MiG-25 over Iran to take photos of the Iranian military bases.

Iran’s existing fighter planes and anti-air defence could not stop MiG-25 planes. The Shah informed the Americans, and a contract was signed for the sales of 80 F-14 aircraft to Iran. Therefore, Iran became the only country that had the sophisticated aircraft besides the US Navy.

The aircraft entered Iran in 1976, and their flights stopped the Soviet Union’s reconnaissance flights of MiG-25 planes.

When demonstrations of the Iranian people against Pahlavi regime became more serious in 1978, the American trainers and technical advisors left Iran. After the victory of the Revolution, military ties and contracts between Iran and the US were nullified, and provision of F-14 spare parts to Iran stopped.

1.5 years after the victory of the Revolution, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein is preparing to launch an extensive offensive against Iran. Many believe that the F-14 fleet of Iran has been grounded forever after the departure of the Americans.

F14 was the most advanced fighter jet of its time. It still is one of the most expensive ones.

This series is not about F14s however. It’s the story of a few men who had to operate their F14s without proper equipments.

Challenging the Odds, they turned their aircrafts into Iraq’s worst nightmare.

21 September 1980

02:00 PM

Using the tactic of the Zionist Regime Air Force, Iraq Air Force attacks Iran Air Force bases.

Despite sanctions and organisational problems after the Revolution, the F-14s from Shiraz Air Base fly over Khark Island in the afternoon of the same day to prevent the probable attack by Iraq.

On the following day while Phantoms and F-5s were attacking their targets in Iraq in the fearsome operation Shadow of Elburz, the pilots of F-14s did not let any aircraft approach vital parts in the country.

Iraq’s attack has a humiliating result.

According to the evidence and documents, the 1st Iraqi aerial invasion happened in April 1979 in Bahram Abad Customs of Mehran.

However, the Iraqi activities began in mid April 1980 in Khuzestan. Gendarmerie stations in Khuzestan reported that during the nights, Iraqi helicopters carried weapons and ammunition to the rebels who fought the Islamic Republic.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff orders the air force to stop that by aerial coverage.

Tom Cooper, researcher and writer of Iranian F-14 Units in Combat believes that the first victim of the F-14s is one of those helicopters; an Iraqi Mil helicopter.

In summer 1980, the Iraqi army shells Iranian border stations by mortar, fights the Iranian border guards directly, and bombs the scattered forces of 92 Armoured Division positioned on the border.

The Iranian political figures do not want the expansion of skirmishes.

In response to the attacks, the Iranian Air Force launches some limited offensives against Iraqi stations.

The 1st confirmed hit by Iranian F-14s was done by pilots Ata’ee and Pashapoor in September 1980 during these offensives.

The Iraqi aircraft had started a dangerous game. It flew near the border for hours to draw the attention of F-14s. However, it returned inland as soon as it was intercepted by F-14s.

A few minutes later, 4 aircraft approach Iranian border. The Iranian F-14 is ready to engage, but they too return near the border.

Ata’ee, flying towards Isfahan Air Base, decides to land in Dezful Air Base to refuel.

The pilots in Dezful Air Base carry Ata’ee on their shoulders. He returns to his base in the afternoon.

A few days later, the pilots in Shiraz Air Base have their 1st hit.

Aim-54 Phoenix is a powerful air-to-air missile, guided by the radar of F-14. Every F-14 can carry 6 Phoenix missiles. Its range in the ideal conditions of launching is 112 km. However, in order to make sure it hit the target, the Iranian pilots launched it mostly at 40 to 50 km from the target.

The missile does not follow the target directly. It calculates the probable course of the target and goes there. Therefore, it is very difficult to escape from it.

This is one of the few occasions during the war that F-14 pilots launched a phoenix to chase the enemy’s fighters.

Although destroying the enemy’s aircraft is the ultimate success for a fighter plane, the 1st duty of the pilot is to prevent the enemy’s mission.

This will preserve the own facilities and troops and will also impose on the enemy the high cost of flight and the abandoned bombs. When the war prolongs, the air force takes up this approach more. F-14 pilots try to force Iraqi pilots to flee. Amir Khalili is one of the pilots who have prevented the mission of Iraqi pilots.

The world record of the longest flight in a fighter belongs to Amir Khalili.

By doing 8 times of aerial refuelling, he flew an F-14 for more than 11 hours.

This record may never be broken in the aviation history. During the war, F-14 pilots had to patrol 4 to 5 hours non-stop.

Some of them have flown their planes for more than 9 hours.

The Iranian pilots of F-14 hold also the record of shooting down 3 aircraft with one missile.

An Iranian F-14, piloted by Captain Adeli and Mohammad Masbooq, shot down 3 Iraqi aircraft with one Phoenix.

In that combat, 3 MiG-23 planes were shot by one missile. Captain Adeli served in the air force several years after the war and the retired with the rank of colonel. He is now living and working in the US.

The western sources have said that Amir Farahavar too could shoot down 3 Iraqi planes with one shot, but he didn’t confirm it.

When the 8-year imposed war ended, F-14s and their pilots had shown their value. The presence of F-14s and their radar lock prevented 1000s of Iraqi aerial missions.

There is no precise statistics on the number of engagements resulting in the crash of Iraqi aircraft. Some western sources state that 250 Iraqi aircraft were shot down by F-14s, but the air force does not confirm that.

Seemingly, the west has exaggerated about the ability of the aircraft and Phoenix missile for propaganda purposes.

Subtitle:

Two months before the war broke out, we started to check the pilots one by one.

Some pilots had not flown for 18 months.

Some planes had been on the ground for long.

The technical guys got the planes ready fast.

And we checked the pilots and sent them to the war zone.

The conflict was around the border then.

Iraq bombed our stations and we retaliated.

When Phantoms went for bombing,

we covered them.

We brought almost all pilots into action.

All planes became operative too.

One of the sorties was on 9th September when the Phantoms did their mission and returned.

My rear cockpit was Lt Pashapoor.

I was a major then.

There was Major Rostami too.

He became the chief of staff after he was promoted to general.

I don’t remember who his rear cockpit was.

After the mission,we were returning to Isfahan...

...when the radar announced an Iraqi aircraft was approaching the border...

...and if we’d engage it.

We’d been strictly ordered not to engage any plane in Iraq...

...because it’d give Saddam an excuse.

We could shoot it if it crossed the border.

I told the radar

I’d go to Dezful and land there.

Then it said a plane was behind me at about 50 miles away.

I don’t remember the distance exactly.

I noticed it was coming from Hamadan, from north to the south.

I asked,

“Are you sure it’s the enemy?”

They said, “No. Stand by.”

I saw it getting closer in my radar.

I saw

I asked a few moments later if it was the enemy.

They said,“Not sure. But stand by.”

Then they said

it was definitely the enemy.

We were surprised because

Iraq hadn’t dared to enter our soil.

I told Pashapoor to shoot it.

He told me to do it.

I told him to do it.

He pushed the button.

In F-5, the missile left the wing tip when you pushed the button.

I heard a sound and something detached.

I told Pashapoor,

“I think the missile fell down.”

We hadn’t launched Phoenix until then, not in Iran or anywhere else.

Then we tried to find where it fell.

We yawed the aircraft to see where it fell when we saw the smoke.

Then I remembered there was a launch to eject time.

The missile detaches and then it’s launched.

I looked at the radar.

It read it’d hit the target in 5 seconds.

It went down to zero and the plane disappeared from the screen.

Someone congratulated me down there on the radar.

He was so happy he’d fainted.

I told them I had no fuel at all and I’d land in Dezful.

I told them a few times I was an F-14 because I was worried their anti-air defence...

...might shoot me down by mistake on red alert.

After numerous invasions of the Iraqi aircraft

and its army in September 1980,...

...I was on a mission with

Mr Qasem Soltani in the north of Hamadan.

The Iraqi planes approached our border but left when they spotted us.

Then Abdanan radar said 2 aircraft were bombing Mehran.

It told us to go to Mehran fast.

When I reached Mehran, I was behind a plane...

...which was going to drop its next bomb.

We were about 11 miles away.

My speed was about 220 knots more and I’d overtake it.

So, everything was ready for me to shoot it before it dropped its bomb.

I launched the missile.

As we weren’t far away, I saw the blast a fraction of a second later.

The DAS in Kermanshah, an F-5 pilot, said they’d found the wreckage.

I think the 1st engagement we had with the Iraqi MiG-21...

...was in the west of our dear Islamic country...

...before the war when they crossed the border many times.

One day I was flying with a pilot as his trainer...

...when Dezful radar informed us 6 MiG aircraft had attacked.

At that time, we didn’t have the capabilities our dear engineers...

...provided 6 months after the imposed war broke out.

We hadn’t installed heat-seeking rockets yet.

We had only Phoenix missiles and the machine gun.

They were flying 100 to 200 m apart.

When I did a barrel roll above their leader,

I saw the map on his lap.

I was about 3 to 4 m above them.

The tactic we performed above the leader disarranged them.

We fought them for about 30 to 35 seconds.

We didn’t have heat-seeking rockets.

Only machine gun.

One of our aims as F-14 pilots was to prevent and stop the attack by Iraqi planes.

We took off at 9:30 and flew towards Khark Island.

When we were entering the region, I saw 3 planes on the radar screen,...

...about 65 miles away.

They were approaching Khark.

They said they didn’t see anything and told me to enter the zone...

...until they’d see them.

First I thought it was one plane.

When we got near, I realised they were 3 aircraft...

...flying very close to each other.

As soon as we found out they were 3, our plane’s priority system...

...chose the plane ahead as number one.

Naturally, the middle one was 2 and the one in the rear was 3.

We were flying at about

25000 to 26000 ft.

I remember the number 3 next to the aircraft.

They were flying at above 30000 ft towards the area.

I told Mr Adeli if we were going to shoot, we’d better hit the one in the middle.

As they were flying close to each other, the blast might damage the other 2 as well.

I locked on the middle one and put it the F-14 radar control.

Then I checked the computer to see the best distance to launch the missile.

It showed 44 or 45 miles.

We launched the missile at that distance.

As soon as the missile detached, the countdown started on the screen.

When it reached zero,I had nothing on the screen.

I didn’t think we’d been able to hit the 3 of them, but we had.

The wreckage of the 3 aircraft was found later on Khark Island,...

...and it was confirmed the 3 had been shot by one missile.

Part2:

Narration:

F14 was the most advanced fighter jet of its time. It still is one of the most expensive ones.

This series is not about F14s however. It’s the story of a few men who had to operate their F14s without proper equipments.

Challenging the Odds, they turned their aircrafts into Iraq’s worst nightmare.

The Soviets introduced Mig 25, otherwise known as Fox-bat, 45 years ago. It could fly three times faster than sound and as high as 120 thousands feet.

It flew so high that its crew had to wear what looked like a space suit.

To this day, Mig 25 remains one of the world’s deadliest fighter jets.

Before 1979, the Soviet MIG 25s repeatedly invaded Iranian airspace during reconnaissance operations, at times breaking the sound barrier.

The tables were turned in 1974, When Iran got her hand on F14 fighter jets and long range Phoenix Missiles.

For the time being, MIG 25 had to leave Iranian airspace… but the fight was far from over.

In 1980, Saddam Hussain was ed of detailed aerial pictures of Iran.

For their reconnaissance operations, they could not use any ordinary aircraft.

It needed to fly high enough not to be detected by Iran’s anti-air missile system. If it was detected, it needed to be fast enough to flee Iran’s fighter jets. It also needed to be capable of taking highly detailed aerial pictures.

That would leave MIG 25 as Iraqis’ only choice.

After nearly a decade, MIG 25 was to return to Iranian airspace.

Sadeghpoor was the first one to see a MIG 25 on his radar.

Ever time Iranian pilots tried to engage a MIG 25, it would accelerate, go up and flee the F14s. Major Aliasghar Jahanbakhsh, was one of those who tried to fight the illusive bird.

Iran was under sanctions form both the western and eastern blocs. So replacing the current stock of long range Phoenix missiles was out of the questions.

That was why it was deemed a success to neutralize a MIG 25 without sparing a Phoenix.

Then the Iraqi pilot made a costly mistake.

MIG 25 showed off its vigor in the Israeli Arab conflict.

In 1971, Egyptians used 4 MIG 25s for Recon missions over Israeli positions.

From Sinai Desert to Gulan Heights.

Israil Phantoms failed to catch any of the four MIGs. An Israeli pilot later said, after MiG 25s activated their After Burner even Sparrow Missilies, which move 4 times faster than sound, could not reach them.

The same MIG 25, however, did not have it as easy when it came to face Iranian pilots.

23 July 1983 would be remembered as one of the most important show-downs in the history of rivalry between MIG 25 and F14.

Although F14 could fire its phoenix missiles from a lower position, the missile would have a better chance if it was fired from a higher altitude.

To reach higher, however, the pilots needed special pressure suits; suites that could not be bought due to sanctions.

The slightest technical glitch could endanger everything.

An F14 can fly as high as 60 thousand feet. That day however, something unexpected happened.

In majority of the fights, MIG 25s could out speed Iranian F14s.

Iranian fighter jets would spot a MIG 25 while patrolling, but they would run out of fuel before they could catch up to it.

Even in perfect conditions, Iranians had mere seconds to lock on MIG 25 and fire the missile.

As the MIG 25 was falling down, the name of Iranian pilots was recorded as the first ever to hunt a MIG 25.

For the next 7 month, Saddam’s army kept the MIGs away from Iranian airspace.

And even after that, upon spotting an Iranian F14, Iraqi MIG 25s would increase their altitude and speed and flee the scene.

The Iraqis received information on F14 radar system from the Americans so that they could help their pilots stay away from

After some major defeats in 1984 and 1985, Iraq started to use MIG 25s for blind-bombing Iranian cities from high altitudes.

The Soviets would continue to help Iraqis maintain and improve their MIG 25s. Their pilots would even go as far as flying some of the MIGs for Iraq’s army.

Iranian F14s were responsible for neutralizing MIG 25s and the two birds continued to fight until the final days of war in 1984

Subtitle:

It flew three times faster than the speed of sound.

It’s no wonder they were so difficult to get a lock on.

To ensure a missile does not explode near your own plane, there’s a time delay before a missile is armed.

Now imaging we’re going head to head toward a supersonic plane…our selves flying almost as fast as sound…our distance decreasing insanely fast.

There were times that the missile would reach the enemy plane before being armed. There was never enough time to hit them.

F-14s were the only plane that stood a chance. From a distance at least we had enough time to arm and launch our missiles. Mr.Sadeghpour was flying the day MIG-25 came to khark for the first time.

But they couldn’t catch her.

They tried but they didn’t have a chance.

No one though MIG-25s would come over to this side of after they returned to the base everybody went to read up on their training text books on how to catch a MIG-25.

My mission was to watch over Tehran’s sky .around between Qazvin, Malayer and Gharave three cities west of Tehran.

That was when I heard a plane flying toward Isfahan.I flew to Delijan in 8 minutes. In Delijan, I noticed I am flying at about 2000 kilometers per hour.

I chased it and caught up with him on Abbasi dam.

The fight had begun.

We were not exactly head to head He was at an 11 o,clock angle with me.

I tried to position myself like this.

We continued to fight but he was out of my range.

I couldn’t hit him but he didn’t get to do his mission neither.

He couldn,t hit Isfahan. Instead of turning right, he turned left…toward Russian. Later,Arabic newspapers wrote about a MIG-25 crashing around lake Van in Turkey.

Some of our bullets might have hit him or he might simply ran out of fuel.

nevertheless a MIG-25 crashed that day.

it was july 1983 colonel Rostami was deputy head of Shiraz command.

I was a lieutenant then.

I remember I was with Mr.Rafiee.

it was early in the morning around 7 maybe we went through the whole routine…we took off.

We patrolled the area and then went to refuel.

I contacted Behbahan center.

I think it was colonel Aasem… I recognized him from his Shiraz accent.

He was really good at his job… you would always feel comfortable when he was in command.

Rostami was done with aerial refueling.

He was in cap-station 10…which would be above Khark all of a sudden, Aasem said there’s something flying at high altitudes.

We detected a MIG-25.

He was flying from North to South Approaching Khark at a speed of about two mach!

We had enough fuel.

We started the chase.

The first thing the colonel did was to increase his altitude.

Due to sanctions, we didn’t have pressure suits.

F-14s can reach up to 65000 feet but in needs the pressure suit.

They had g-suits, all their systems were complete.

We didn’t have those suits. F-14s don’t need to go to higher altitudes in order to hit MIG-25s.

The phoenix missile has been designed to hit speeding targets as hight as 80 thousand feet.

I realized the best thing to do is to turn it around so that we could reach the right angle with the target…and have the Doppler effect to our advantage.

We climbed to 36,000 feet, we reached mach 1,4 with after burner.

Parameters were set, so it picked up.

We were flying at about mach 1,5 and he was flying at 2,5…we were flying toward each other at about 4 times the speed of sound!

We were getting closer and closer.

The radar was showing that!

When we first detected him, we were 150 miles apart but by the time we reached the higher altitudes we were only 50miles apart.

We were losing our chance…if we didn’t hit him, we would lost him.

We were at 37 thousand feet that something happened!

The cabin is pressurized.

The air pressure inside the cabin is kept at 8 thousand feet, so that you can breathe normally.

You don’t want to experience the real air pressure at 35 thousand feet.

Now the system malfunctioned for a mere moment, I could feel my eardrums coming out like this…it was very short… and fortunately it went back to normal and we continued with the operation while increasing the altitude, the colonel was trying to decrease our angel with the target to zero.

Because you will get the best results if you hit him exactly head to head.

You have 10 seconds to…fire the missile in that position.

We were in a position to fire the missile.

If you waver, you will lose him! The radar showed we were ready to fire. We had a lock on. Five or six seconds after we had a lock on.

I told Mr.Rafiee to fire the missile.

We fired it and we kept flying upward and onward toward the target.

Phoenix is not your typical missile!

It doesn’t hit the target from any possible direction.

Because if the target sees the missile coming, it can easily evade the missile. Phoenix, however, goes up and attack the target from above. It’s very difficult to evade a missile like that!

Part3:

Narration:

When Phantom fighter bombers attacked their targets in the depth of Iraqi territory, they faced numerous sites of SAM and Roland missiles, and the fire of anti-aircraft guns. After bombing the target, they faced another problem; the Iraqi interceptor fighters that chased them. On their way back home, the Phantoms' hope was the birds that waited near the border to save them from their chasers. The birds were called F-14.

F-14 fighter aircraft possessed the highest modern technology at the time of their manufacture, and even now, their name is still on the list of the best equipped and most expensive fighters in the world.

This series, however, is the story of the efforts of the men who, without having the whole equipment of this fighter and in the hard times of sanctions, could deploy this fighter aircraft wholly, and turn it into a horrifying weapon against the enemy; a nightmare that frightened the Iraqi pilots who were equipped with the most advanced fighter aircraft.

Iraq wages war on Iran by launching an extensive offensive.

As the Iranian Army is not well prepared, the Iranian Air Force becomes the main defender against Iraq's invasion.

By flying lowly, Phantom and F-5 aircraft of the air force attack the columns of Iraqi tanks and armoured vehicles and slow down their advance.

The army finds the time to position its units on the border. Defence lines are secured in the frontline.

The Iraqi army cannot advance now.

Iraq's offensive has stopped at the entrance of Ahvaz, Abadan, and Susangerd. However, this achievement has cost the air force dearly. Some air force aircraft have been shot down by the fire of the anti aircraft defence of the Iraqi army. The air force loses some of its pilots.

When regaining the occupied regions starts, the air force changes its strategy in using Phantoms.

The late Colonel Bahram Hooshyar, the then Operations Deputy of the Air Force, proposes a plan that some Phantoms fly at a very high altitude and release their bombs together from that altitude towards the places the Iraqi soldiers and equipment are positioned. In addition to destroying Iraqi facilities, a carpet of bombs will have a devastating effect on their morale.

By carrying anti electronic action pod, the Phantoms neutralise the radar system of Iraqi SAM missiles. However, the plan still faces a big danger; Iraqi interceptor fighters. Therefore, it was decided that the high altitude bombing of Phantoms to be covered by F-14 aircraft.

Iranian army needs the bombing of defence facilities of Iraq to launch Ramadan Offensive.

The air force summons pilots chosen for this mission.

One of them is a young pilot named Abolfazl Mehreganfar.

Same day, Omidiyyeh Base, Khuzestan Province

Four Phantoms are waiting on the runway of Omidiyyeh Base for the arrival of the two F-14s.

The Phantoms are armed with various bombs to the maximum capacity.

According to the flight plan, the fighters are not allowed to have radio contact, and doing the mission in radio silence will guarantee the mission's success.

Two F-14s approach the rendezvous.

The F-14s make a turn above the Phantoms. The Phantoms take off the runway.

The pilot of the other F-14 is Captain Harandi.

It is 40 days after recapturing and freeing Khorramshahr.

After Iraq's defeat in Khorramshahr, the United States provides Iraq with varied intelligence information. The American AWACS planes, flying over Saudi Arabia, can detect the take-off of the Iranian aircraft and their route only 2 minutes after they take off. The flight information of this mission is given to the Iraqi Air Force. The operation is discovered and the Iraqi defence is prepared immediately to intercept Iranian aircraft.

The Iraqi anti-aircraft defence fires a number of ground-to-air SAM missiles at the flying group.

The electronic jammer of the Phantoms deviate the gigantic horrendous missiles.

The Iranian fighters have dominated the sky since the beginning of war. Iraq has been seeking help from France for some time to confront Iranian Air Force.

France has equipped its Mirage F-1 fighter aircraft with the best air-to-air missiles Matra and Magic, and has delivered them to Iraq.

Iraqi pilots have been trained to fly this advanced fighter plane. It is now time for Iraq Air Force to utilise the result of the purchase.

Four Phantoms, protected by two F-14s, are flying towards Iraq at full speed.

Six Mirage planes attack Phantoms.

Mehreganfar and Harandi serve until the end of the war in many missions in the air force. Most importantly, they train F-5 and F-4 pilots who enter Isfahan Base in the middle of the war to fly F-14.

Both pilots were retired from air force with the rank of colonel, and ever since, they have by flying in passenger airlines.

Tom Cooper, the author of Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat, relates an interesting story whose heroes are the pilots of F-14s that were in charge of backing up Phantoms.

General Maher Abdel Rashid, commander of a division in Iraq Army and a member of Saddam family, meets Tomcats!

Subtitle:

No country had the Phantom we bought at that time.

Brigadier Pilot Alireza Namaki

Writer of the Book

History of Air Combats in the Sacred Defence

It had flown in the Vietnam War, and had almost proved itself.

With that aircraft, we could both attack in the depth of the enemy territory...

...and support our ground forces.

So, we both provided backup fire and did strategic operations.

Phantom was nicknamed generous by the pilots.

I'd just returned from a CAP mission.

Unfortunately, we didn't find anything that day.

But I'd shot down 3 of their aircrafts on the previous missions.

One was some time ago when--

As long as these pilots are in this base in such a high morale,...

...victory is ours, because righteousness is always victorious.

It was in the afternoon.

There was a phone call from the commanding office.

I had to go to the special office in Tehran the following day.

Col Abolfazl Mehreganfar

F-14 Pilot

I went to Tehran in a Bonanza to the special office.

There was a briefing.

We were to fly in two F-14s, four F-4s, and an aircraft tanker.

Our mission was bombing at a high altitude.

We took off from Isfahan Base in absolute silence in the morning...

...and flew towards Tehran.

Between Tehran and Isfahan, the tanker aircraft which announced...

...its destination to be Mashhad, returned to low altitude.

We made contact on the desert.

We refuelled as far as the mountains

near Azna and Dorud above Omidiyyeh Base.

The F-4s were at the runway.

They took off.

But we 2 F-14s didn't land or we weren't supposed to land.

We flew one on the left and the other on the right sides of F-4s.

We climbed to 45000 ft.

I was on the left,

Mr Mehreganfar on the right.

I was to cover any interception

on the right, Mr Harandi on the left.

The leader of F-4s was Capt Anet.

We flew past both Old and New Tala'iyyeh and entered Iraqi soil.

We were to bomb Tigris and Euphrates and Basra-Baghdad Rd.

We were certainly detected by their radars and their planes scrambled towards us.

The closest aircraft was probably their airborne one.

It was approaching us on our right from the direction of Kut Base.

There were 2 aircraft on our radar.

I talked to Number 2, Mr Harandi.

He too had them on his radar.

We decided that I fire a missile at them, as I was on the right.

When it got 30 miles close, I launched my Phoenix missile.

Why 30 miles?

Because they had Mirage planes and they could launch missiles at us...

...at a 20-mile distance.

So, we reacted first.

I followed the trace of our missile for a reflexion or explosion in the sky.

At last, we saw the explosion.

Their tactic was this.

As they didn't have time to climb to the altitude of 45000 ft,...

...they lifted the plane's nose and launched

   

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