Iranian F-14 Crash Highlights Iran’s Need for New Fighter Contract

An Iranian F-14 Fighter Jet.

An Iranian F-14 Fighter Jet.

Recent news of an Iranian F-14 crash reinforces the notion that Iran’s diminishing stable of military aircraft and its inability to manufacture more will increase pressure on Tehran to make major, multibillion dollar purchases—most likely from Russia or China.  The excerpted article from a media outlet close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Tasnim News Agency claims the fighter crash was a result of engine failure and illustrates the fact that Iran’s remaining F-14 fleet is far beyond the end of its life cycle.  Iran is the only country that continues to fly the F-14 and it is unclear how many are still operable.  Iran only had 79 operational F-14s when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979.  Over the decades, the number of Iranian F-14s has dwindled because of accidents and the need to cannibalize some aircraft for spare parts to support others.

While Iran likes to trumpet its domestic military industries, no Iranian manufacturer can make an aircraft as sophisticated as western countries, Russia, or China.  Currently, the necessities of the war in Ukraine raise questions about the number of Russian aircraft that the Kremlin will transfer to any other state in the near future.  At the same time, however, increasing oil revenue and both waivers and non-enforcement of sanctions give Iran greater shopping cash.  China may want to help Iran rebuild its air force since a major sale could help Beijing cement a decades-long relationship with Tehran.  An alternate and not mutually exclusive approach would be to augment its anti-aircraft missile capabilities.  Either way, the loss of one of its last F-14s over Isfahan will likely increase pressure on Iran to reconsider its air defense while coming to terms with the need to purchase a modern fighter aircraft from abroad.


“Soqut-e Havapeyma-ye Jangandeh F_14 dar Isafahan (Crash of an F-14 Warplane in Isfahan),”, Tasnim News Agency (media outlet close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), 18 June 2022.

The head of the army’s public relations department for the Isfahan region said, “The F-14 fighter plane suffered a technical malfunction this morning and the pilot and co-pilot landed by parachute, and were taken to Al-Zahra Hospital for treatment.  In an interview with Tasnim reporter in Isfahan, Rasoul Motamedi, referring to the incident for the F-14 fighter plane this morning, said: “This warplane suffered a technical malfunction in the engine at 10:30 a.m.…  The pilot and co-pilot of the aircraft were injured during the parachute landing, and were immediately taken to Al-Zahra Hospital for treatment, but the F-14 plane was destroyed.”

Image Information:

Image: An Iranian F-14 Fighter Jet
Source: Tasnim News