Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
|Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force|
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force seal
"Skyhigh Is My Place"
|Anniversaries||8 February (Air Force Day)|
|Brig Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh|
|Deputy Commander||2nd Brig Gen. Hamid Vahedi|
|Coordinator Deputy Commander||2nd Brig Gen. Mahdi Hadian|
The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF;
The Air Force has attempted with some success to maintain in service the large number of American-built aircraft which Iran acquired during the
The IRIAF came into being when the former
This "new" Iranian air force largely inherited the equipment and structure of the former IIAF, even losing most of its leading officers in the course of post-revolutionary chaos, as well as due to the prosecution of those considered as loyal to the Shah, pro-U.S. or elsewhere by the new government in Tehran.
Due to strained relations with the west, Iran had to procure new equipment from
Due to the continuous spare parts shortages faced by the air force, a decision was made in the late 1980s to develop a local aerospace industry to support the air force.
In 2002, Iran with the co-operation of
Since then the country has also become self-sufficient in the manufacture of helicopters. The country claims that it is capable of producing the U.S.
A series of purges and forced retirements resulted in the manpower of the service being halved between February 1979 and July 1980, leaving the IRIAF ill-prepared for the
The Iranians retaliated with operation Kaman-99 which involved 206 F-4, F-5 and F-14 aircraft.
On 23 September 1980, Iran launched Operation Kaman 99 as 40 F-4 Phantoms, armed with Mark 82, Mark 83 and Mark 84 bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles, took off from Hamadan. After refueling in mid-air the Phantoms reached the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where they attacked: al-Rashid, al-Habbaniyah and al-Kut airbases.
Meanwhile, eight More F-4s took off from Tehran and launched a second attack on the al-Rashid airbase.
Iran proceeded to launch 58 F-5E Tiger IIs from Tabriz, which were sent to attack Mosul Airbase. After the attack on Mosul Airbase, another 50 F-5Es were dispatched to strike Nasiriyah Airbase, which was heavily damaged.
As all 148 Iranian F-4s and F-5s had been sent for a bombing raid on Iraq, 60 F-14 Tomcats were scrambled to defend Iranian airspace against a possible Iraqi retaliation. Iranian F-14s managed to down 2 Iraqi MiG-21s (1 MiG-21RF and 1 MiG-21MF) and 3 Iraqi MiG-23s (MiG-23MS), an Iranian F-5E also shot down an Iraqi Su-20 during the operation. Iraqi MiG-23s managed to down 2 F-5Es, while Iraqi MiG-21s also downed 2 F-5Es. Iraqis also by mistake shot down one of their own Il-76MD strategic airlifters with a SA-3 SAM.
The Iraqis however were well prepared for the attack and had flown over most of their air force to other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, this made sure that most of the Iraqi Air Force survived the operation.
Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi military were dealt a heavy blow when Iranian Air Force vulnerabilities failed to materialize. All Iraqi airbases near Iran were out of order for weeks and, according to Iran, Iraq's aerial efficiency was reduced by 55%. This allowed Iranians to regroup and prepare for the upcoming Iraqi invasion.
Although the readiness rates of the IRIAF significantly increased in the following months, its overall role and influence declined, as the clerical government prioritized resources for the
After the successful liberation of most Iranian areas captured by the Iraqis in the first half of 1982, the situation of the IRIAF changed completely. From an air arm that was offensive by nature, it was largely relegated to air defense and relatively infrequent bombing attacks against targets of industrial and military significance inside Iraq. Simultaneously, the IRIAF had to learn how to maintain and keep operational its large fleet of U.S.-built aircraft and helicopters without outside help, due to American sanctions. Relying primarily on antiquated equipment purchased from the U.S.A. in the 1970s, the Iranians began establishing their own aerospace industry; their efforts in this remained largely unrecognized until recently.
During 1984 and 1985, the IRIAF found itself confronted by an ever-better organized and equipped opponent, as the Iraqi Air force—reinforced by deliveries of advanced fighter-bombers from France and the Soviet Union—launched numerous offensives against Iranian air bases, military bases, industrial infrastructures, powerplants, oil-export hubs, and population centers. These became better known as "The Tanker War" and "The War of the Cities". To defend against an increasing number of Iraqi air strikes, the IRIAF leaned heavily on its large fleet of Grumman
Confronted with the fact that it could not obtain replacements for equipment lost in what became a war of attrition against Iraq, the IRIAF remained defense-orientated for the rest of the conflict, conserving its surviving assets as a "force in being". From mid 1987, the IRIAF found itself confronted also with U.S. Navy fighters over the Persian Gulf. A number of confrontations that occurred between July 1987 and August 1988 stretched available IRIAF assets to the limit, exhausting its capability to defend Iranian air space against Iraqi air strikes.
Immediately after the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the IRIAF was partially rebuilt through limited purchases of
During the 1991
Even after the cease-fire with Iraq, the IRIAF carried out several air raids against
In 2007, Iraq asked Iran to return some of the scores of Iraqi fighter plans that flew there ahead of the Gulf War in 1991. And as of 2014, Iran was receptive to the demands and was working on refurbishing an unspecified number of jets. In late 2014, Iran returned 130 military aircraft to Iraq.
In 2006, after Iranian media published a series of reports suggesting that
At the end of 2014, there was evidence that the IRIAF was involved in the