The main fighters of the Iranian Air Force today are American fighters from the 1970s, plus a small number of fighters purchased from China, Russia, and Iraqi planes from the 1991 Gulf War.

Judging by the number of fighters, Iran is an air power. Their air force is equipped with a variety of the most powerful fighter aircraft of both the Soviet Union and the United States such as the F-14, F-4E, MiG-21, and Su-22. But Iran is also an isolated and embargoed country, banned from buying fighter jets for a very long time; so over the past four decades, Iran’s air force has had very few new aircraft.

Iran Su-22 Fighter-bomber
Iran Su-22 Fighter-bomber

Indeed, some of the “newest” warplanes in Iranian service are actually Soviet-made Su-22 Fitters of 1970s vintage, once operated by Iraq, ditched in Iran nearly twenty-three years ago, and now being slowly rebuilt and upgraded for another several decades of service. The Fitters could conceivably be more than seventy years old by the time they finally retire for good in 2040 or later.

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