Monday Eye Candy: Tomcats and Sukhois. What!?


Here are some images I wasn’t expecting to see this century. It shows the Su-27s of the Russian Knights aerobatic team being escorted by Iranian F-14 Tomcats and F-4 Phantoms. Talk about bizarre. Two of America’s legendary Cold War fighters being flown by one of its biggest 21st Century adversaries alongside two Soviet-designed jets that were meant to shoot them down.

Click through the jump for more great pics.

Images via Alert5.

32 Comments on "Monday Eye Candy: Tomcats and Sukhois. What!?"

  1. I think I;am gonna be sick…

  2. Odd that the Iranian "Tom Cats" are flying in the "wing forward position". Are they not able to retract the wing in flight? I doubt the Su's are flying that slow! :)

  3. Wow, they're really pulling out all of the stops by escorting the Russians with a couple of their precious few working Tomcats. I imagine that those Tomcat pilots must have been ecstatic to actually get an opportunity to actually get some flight time in them since with the shortage of parts I imagine that these Tomcats spend most of their time grounded.

  4. This seems like a fitting photo to me as the Sukois are basically just a fixed wing copy of the Tomcat. Too bad we didn't learn as much from the success of the F-14 design as the Russians did.

  5. Both are beautiful planes and both will go down aviation history as hallmarks of aircraft design and engineering. Political hot heads – relax and enjoy this rare sight.

  6. IIRC the Iranians were rumored to have given the Soviets an F-14 or two after the revolution in return for manufacture of reasonable spare parts.

  7. Surprised they didn't try to put the RQ-170 up there as well.

  8. The Iranian F-14's probably can't fire the AIM-54 Phoenix missiles, but could still pose
    a serious threat to the US Navy F-18's in a dog fight. The problem with selling military hardware to precarious allies is they can change sides in an instant. Now the
    Iranians have an adavnced airframe to use as a template for their own design.

  9. "Template of their own design" – you mean the twin tailfin F-5s?

  10. Makes me miss the Tomcat. The F-14D and proposed F-14F had got ride of all the problems of the old A models in engines troubles. The F-14 could kick a F-18s but most of the time. Too bad politics killed them.

    Hate to admit the F-14 looks awesome in Desert camo just as it did in the grey yellow and back of the old VF-84 Jolly Rogers squadron.

  11. So this proves the point of so many Aces that this planet has, that no matter the type of plane, It all boils down to the skill of the Fighter pilot. You can have a very high tech fighter, but have a crappy pilot vs having a very crappy fighter and a very skilled pilot. It just boils down to how good is your fighter pilots. Judging by how the Iranians fly and fight in the air, I doubt they would not be a match for any western Fighter pilot, who is a graduate of Either Top Gun school or Red Flag or maple flag. Even though the Iranians have F-14's, we have pilots that are experienced enough to take them down in one swipe.

  12. We're talking aircraft that are at a minimum 25-30 years old at this point which have been poorly maintained. I would think hitting afterburner on either type would result in either one of those little farts we used to see in the cartoons or complete immolation.

    Flying them in combat is a great way to meet Allah and their 72 virgins. Poor maintenance, no parts, and limited flying time does not bode well for the IAF.

  13. We'll see F-15's posing with Flankers before the next decade is over…

  14. Quick Q:

    Are these F-14's at Esfahan airport? (Khatami Air Base, built once the Shah received F-14's),51.861111

  15. on IAF vs USN

    throwing outdated fighters at the world's most powerful air force would be stupid beyond reason

    if Iran tries something they'll probably round up Saudi hostages, put them in an airliner, and use it as a human shield
    – shoot, and you kill the hostages and anger Saudi Arabia
    – don't shoot, and those outdated aircraft can launch all the missiles they want at stand off ranges, or even get close enough to the carriers

    this is the age of insurgent tactics, we better start adapting to it, rather than assume the enemy will try to fight a battle they know they'll never win

  16. It would have been interesting if the Iranians had gotten their hands on blackbirds. Considering the costs on our end maintaining them and all.

    We'd probably still have our Blackbirds if they still had weaponized ones, or we would have developed missiles fast enough to take down Iranian A-12's. Nothing like the other guy having really fancy hardware to motivate weapons development.

  17. It would be interesting to see how our tactics would be used in the bvr arena in regards to an AIM-54 launch from one of these Tomcats. More interesting if the Iranians were capable of doing any modifications without us knowing.

    In the end I still think it would be beat

  18. Raptor was there… sneakskie like.

  19. here we come WW3…

  20. If the Military needs F-14's we have still have hundreds of them, just go to Tucson and drive around the boneyard. Row upon row of mothballed F-14's among hundreds of other outdated types of the older model F-18's, F-111's, A-6's, F-4's, F-15's, A-10's, B-52's etc etc etc….just waiting for maybe China to do something stupid…

  21. While looking for more information on the F-14's, found something interesting, from a website about the Shah-era air force.….

  22. But if the Iranians are desperate enough……

  23. Hey how about those F-4's? Who in St. Louis would have though the Phantom II would still be a combat plane in 2012 back in the day? The F-4 is like the B-52 of the fighter world. I know Japan, Israel, Greece & Iran have them. Any other users still?

  24. All we have to do would just start flying missions near there air space and make them send up the planes and just have them chase us around for a while and place stress on the planes and crew and eat up the man power and spare parts. It will get to a point where they have to stop flying them just to keep them ready if we ever attack and by the time they figure out it is a real attack they will be sitting on the run way burning or they so far behind on the power curve we will be in and out before they are a threat. Just my 2 cents

  25. Note that only 3 Iranian Tom's and 2 Iranian Phantoms are shown – perhaps the extent of all they have left that are 'flyable.' Certainly less than full mission capable.

    Mostly Iran flies F-5's and Ex-Sov designed hand-me-downs from China.

    Either way – all good missile bait.

  26. It doesnt take much to look up what Iran has in their inventory. Janes has pretty good estimates.
    25 of 44 F14s
    10 Mirage F1s (actually stolen from Iraq during Desert Storm)
    25 Mig29s
    65 F4s
    75 F5s
    5 Saeqehs (Iranian twin tail F5) with plans to build 24.
    The F4s are being phased out

  27. Ahhhhhh yesssss to see those war-birds is so surreal that I forgot that the F-4 was replaced by the F-14. Those Russian birds would leave them behind if they weren't ordered to take it easy on those old veterans. And the Antronov cargo beast is beyond belief what a monster!

  28. That really is an awesome sight. Especially since the US retired their Tomcats. I really believe that the F-14s that Iran owns are not as bad off as we are led to believe. Especially with modern espionage the way it is.

  29. Thanks for the sanity!

  30. why are they escorting a russian airshow team?

  31. Those Sukhoi SU -27's are neat looking birds. I'm so tired of grey airplanes.

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