Imperial Iranian Air Force|
First and only foreign country to fly the F-14 was Iran. Back in the early '70s the shah was about to buy new fighters for the Imperial Iranian Air Force. The choice was either the MDD F-15 Eagle or the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. After a competetive show and certainly a lot of talks about the pros and cons of both fighters, Iran decided to go for the F-14 Tomcat.
BuNos 160299 to 160378 (F-14A-90/95-GR) were built for Iran with the last one (BuNo 160378) remaining in the US after the islamic revolution in Iran. This particular aircraft was put into storage at Davis-Monthan AFB until it was refurbished and used at the PMTC at Point Mugu, CA.
After the islamic revolution (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) and reorientation of Iran and its good relations to the USSR the Navy was quickly changing its AN/AWG-9 radar and AIM-54 missile systems. That way any data fallen into the hands of the enemy would be useless to them.
In the 1990s some 20 of 79 F-14s are said to be still in flying condition, with the other airframes serving as spare part platforms.
According to the Flight International magazine (Sept. 1999), Iran has managed to keep operational a large number of its F-14 fleet until today. Iran - with the help of Russian experts & technology - is comprehensively upgrading its F-14 fleet involving a new radar, engine and a glass cockpit. This will not only keep their F-14s operational but will give Iran also a potent F-14 force well into the next century. (Not mentioned by Flight International is the major problem of airframe fatigue. Even with Russian technology, this problem cannot be solved and remaining airframe hours will certainly end the Iranian F-14 era some day.)
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