Aviation Historian 30
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B.Taghvaee - Iran's Weasel Diesels
With a fuel complement of a 370 US gal (1,400 lit) tank on each wing and a central fuselage-mounted 600 US gal (2,270 lit) tank, IRIAF “Diesel” 3-6714 (c/n 3564) was displayed at the Dezful Airshow in March 2012, shortly after its re-delivery following an extensive upgrade and lifetime-extension programme.
With the snow-capped Alborz mountains providing a majestic backdrop, F-4D 3-601 taxies in trailing its brake parachute at Mehrabad circa 1970-71, with student pilot 1st Lt Kayvan Noorhaghigi in the front seat and instructor Capt Javad Fakkouri in the rear seat.
The second of the IIAF’s Diesels to be delivered, 3-602 is seen here circa 1970-71 fitted with a centreline-mounted SUU-23 gun pod, a version of the M61 Vulcan cannon, fitted with a load of 1,200 x 20mm rounds and with a rate of fire of 6,000 rounds per minute. This F-4D served with both the IIAF and the post-Revolution IRIAF.
Iran’s most venerable F-4D - and the oldest Phantom still in operational service anywhere in the world - serial 3-6690 taxies out at Mehrabad for a Functional Check Flight (FCF) on July 27, 2019.
Another picture of 3-6702, this time before an Instrument Flight Training Mission at the 10th TFB, “Delhamed Brothers”, at Chabahar, in October 2014. Sadly, on July 11, 2018, ’6702 was destroyed in a crash a few days after its re-delivery to the IRIAF from IACI following a major overhaul.
One of the last eight Diesels still in IRIAF service, 3-6693 is seen here undergoing major maintenance work at the F-4 Overhaul Centre at Mehrabad in February 2019. Following its refurbishment to limited combat-capability, ’6693 made its first post-overhaul check flight on May 16, 2019.
Diesel 3-6702 arriving at Mehrabad on October 20, 2008, for overhaul at Iranian Aircraft Industries (IACI). In September 1976 a pair of IIAF Phantoms were scrambled to intercept “lights in the sky” over Tehran, one of the F-4s suffering electrical failure in flight; it was later thought to be a meteorite shower, rather than aliens over Iran.
A rare photograph of an IRIAF Diesel in flight, in this case 3-6694, armed with an SUU-23 gun pod and a pair of wing-mounted 370 US gal fuel tanks, during a sortie over Kerman in central Iran, in January 1992. The IRIAF’s Diesels continued to serve in the wake of the Revolution - although spares became increasingly hard to come by.
Four IRIAF Phantoms on display a few days before Iran’s Military Day Parade at the 3rd TFB at Hamedan in April 2008. Nearest the camera is Diesel 3-6705, which crashed following an attempt to land on a road after engine failure on January 12,2016.