For the Americans, they could not have imagined that their F-14s would now become enemy’s powerful weapons against America itself.

With 34 years of service on aircraft carriers, possessing the longest-range missile in NATO, the F-14 Tomcat is named one of the greatest fighters in the United States. The variable-sweep wing design had proven to be the key to success, it was optimized for maneuvering at low and high speeds.

There was only one foreign customer in the world for the advanced F-14 Tomcat fighters in their heyday: Iran. During the reign of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in the early 1970s, the Iranian Imperial Air Force was looking for an advanced fighter, specifically one capable of intercepting Soviet MiG-25 reconnaissance flights.

The Shah chose to buy 80 Tomcat fighters over the F-15 Eagle – and according to We are the mighty, it was a good investment. Even after the Iranian monarchy gave way to the Islamic Republic of Iran after the Islamic revolution of 1979, the Iranian Air Force still owned some of the best Tomcat pilots in the world.

For the Americans, they could not have imagined that their F-14s would now become enemy’s powerful weapons against America itself.

In early 2020, shortly after Iran attacked the US base with missiles, the Pentagon dispatched F-35 fighter jets, ready for a retaliation. However, Tehran dispatched 24 F-14 and F-4 fighters, coordinated with a number of radars and surface-to-air missiles to carry out the containment mission. The success of this campaign gives Tehran confidence that it can repel any air attack from the US.

Going back in time, Americans witnessed the dangers of Iran’s Tomcats during the Iran-Iraq war. The Iranian Air Force had demonstrated such a high level that even a single Tomcat could clear the skies of enemy aircraft without firing a shot. The F-14s Tomcat shot down was the result of mistakes by the Iranian ground-to-air missile batteries.

The F-14’s successes made Americans even more apprehensive. They do not want to one day have to confront this weapon.

Since the advent of Tomcat, the United States has made great strides in fighter technology. The F-22 and F-35 fighter jets hailed by We-are-the-mighty magazine as technologically amazing that “it might seem like magic to some”.

Iran F-14
Iran F-14

According to the American magazine, it made sense for their F-14 squadron to retire in 2007, since the United States had an air superiority fighter that has a radar cross-section of just a bumble bee and possibly Take down the enemy plane before seeing it. When this information was revealed, the CEO of Northrop Grumman Group, maker of the F-14, also began talking about the idea of selling components.

The US Air Force’s F-14s retired in September 2006, replaced with Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. Soon after, in 2007, the United States placed Iran and North Korea into the so-called “Axis of Evil”. Selling precious F-14 components to an enemy was absurd. Later F-14s were destroyed.

According to many national security experts, the destruction of the $38 million planes was not simply so that Iran cannot repair its aging fleet.

Iran F-14
Iran F-14

According to we-are-the-mighty, this move was more iconic than reality. Parts of the F-14 were considered sensitive equipment, so the US did not want to sell the parts to anyone, not just Iran. They fear that, if these parts leave the United States, Iran might eventually acquire them, somehow. They wanted Iran’s F-14s to no longer fly.

Although the US has blocked all supplies of parts, Iran, with the help of Russia and China, continues to maintain service of this dangerous fighters.

Iran’s F-14 Tomcats were upgraded with avionics from China and engines from Russia. Of course, American-made weapons were equipped with a friend-foe identification system, but since Iran has changed the electronic system structure, the F-14s can work against the US Air Force.

It is estimated that, in various ways, the Iranian Air Force still has up to 40 F-14 fighters.

Iran F-14
Iran F-14

The F-14 Tomcat does not have the impressive maneuverability of the F-16, but it has excellent horizontal stability that makes it one of the most fearsome warplanes in the sky.

Interestingly, Tomcat’s main weapon is six AIM 54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missiles, with a range of up to 190 km. This is also an American weapon. The F-14 and the AIM-54 missile are still enough to create unexpected situations that force the US to not be reckless.

Currently, the F-14 is the most powerful fighter in the Iranian air force. They are a shield to intercept enemy fighters, once a conflict occurs.

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