(نیروی هوایی شاهنشاهی ایران)
The Imperial Iranian Air Force had spearheaded to modernization of the armed forces. In 1979 it was by far the most advanced of the three services and with 500 modern combat aircraft including top-of-the-line F-14A Tomcat fighters, about 5,000 well-trained pilots and over 14 fully developed airbases throughout the country, could count among the most impressive and finest air forces in the developing world.
With the propeller fighters on which it had to rely until 1956, the Iranian air force could have done little against the Soviet air force's jet fighters. In1956 Iran received the first jet planes, long since requested, for his air force: 24 Lockheed T-33 training and reconnaissance planes arrived, between 1956 and 1958 about 75 Republic F-84G Thunderjet fighter bombers were delivered. These aircraft were not as modern as the Shah had wished, both were of the first generation of American jet fighters, belonging technically to the pre-Korean era. When the coup in Iraq toppled the monarchy, the Shah pointedto the "dangerous" political developments in the neighbouring state, and then Imperial Iranian air force acquired modern swept-wing planes: 70 F-86 (sabre-jets), built under licence in Canada, were handed over in 1959.
Next to Israel, Iran was the largest overseas operator of the Phantom. A total of 32 F-4Ds, 177 F-4Es, and 16 RF-4Es (plus 8 F-4Es borrowed from the USA and subsequently returned) were supplied to Iran before the fall of the Shah. The capability of the F-4 (the backbone of the Iranian Air force) and F-14A fighters had further more been enhanced by the acquisition of a squadron of Boeing 707 tankers, which extends their combat radius to 1,400 miles with in-flight refueling.
The most spectacular acquisitions of IIAF were the F-14A (Tomcats). At the time this was the latest western jet fighter, just being inroduced into the US armed forces, and the value of this one sale was said to be $ 1850 milion. This deal was vital for the survival of the Grumman Corporation. The F-14A wing-wing Tomcat fighters were equipped with Phoenix missiles, capable of locating and destroying six targets simultaneously from a range of fifty miles or more. The ultrasophisticated Phoenix AAM system was first operationally tested in Iran, when F-14 Tomcat aircraft equipped with Phoenix radar picked up Soviet-piloted MIG-25 Foxbats overflying Iranian air space at 65,000 feet and over Mach 2. Throughout the 1970s, Iran purchased sophisticated aircraft for its air force. The acquisition of 80 F-14A Tomcat fighters added to 186 F-5 fighters and 209 F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers, gave Iran a strong defensive and a potential offensive capability.
The IIAF also was responsibility for maritime-reconnaissance and shore-based anti-submarine warfare, for which it operated 6 P-3F Orions. P-3F Produced in 1975 for IIAF total 6 planes. Iranian AF version of the P-3C, equipment changes, inflight refuelling (After the Revolution, it seems that an RC-130 Hercules was added to this unite).
In 1977 Iran placed orders for 160 F-16 (Light fighter/strike) and even carried this process one step further by contributing to the research and development of the new F-18 fighter, a plane not yet part of the United States military arsenal. Both of these combat aircraft and Boeing AWACS were cancelled after the Islamic revolution in 1979. The sale of the Boeing AWACS to Iran created considerable controversy, because Iran was the first foreign customer for this system, ever NATO countries had been unwilling to buy it, because the cost was so high.
Numbering some 40,000 officers and men in 1973, the air force had grown to 100,000 in 1979 and was expected to grow further by 1980.
After the WWII large-scale training programme was established, and the first group of officers and NCOs in the Iranian air force left the country on 1 May 1948 to undertake special training in the US. Shortly thereafter, the Iranian air force opened its own Air Officers Training College for the education of maintenace engineers, a college for higher officers, and a college for non-commissioned officers. A significant number of Iranian pilots were trained in the US and the Bavarian Furstenfeldbruck. The Training center of IIAF was at Tehran (Doshan Tapeh and Ghaleh Morghi bases).
لیست پایگاههای هوایی
Aire force headquarter was located at Doshan-Tappeh, near Tehran, and major bases were spread througthout the western half of the country. The principal base, Mehrabad AFB (occupying the southern section of Tehran International Airport) was the largest air base in the Middle East. In mid-1970s the IIAF airbase structure was consist of a number of Tactical Air Bases which were numbered: