In 1972, Iran procured 60 F-14As from the United States. The Tomcat
fleet was hampered by the U.S. refusal to sell F-14 spare parts to Teheran
since the 1980s.
By 2002, only 25 out of the F-14As were still in operational service,
the sources said. In that year, however, Iran launched a $1 billion to
overhaul the F-14s as well as the U.S.-origin F-4 fighter-jet.
The sources said the F-14A upgrade was taking place at the Iranian
Aircraft Industries Complex in Mehrabad. They said the company was expected
to overhaul and upgrade additional F-14s in 2007 and 2008.
The upgraded F-14s would be equipped with Iran's new guided air bomb.
Officials said the new 2,000-pound bomb has been flight-tested and would
undergo serial production. On Sunday, Iranian state television showed the
Ghased bomb destroying a target.
"We will use these [bombs] against our enemies when the time comes,"
Iranian Defense Minister Mustafa Najar said on Sunday. "We will use this
weapon where we want to hit the enemy's strategic and defense targets. This
will be used against our enemies, against those who violate our land and air
Meanwhile, Iran has reported the development of a one-ton
Officials said the Iranian Defense Ministry has developed a 2,000-pound
bomb that could be guided to its target. They said the bomb, dubbed
Messenger, or Ghased in Farsi, has been successful in recent tests by the
Iranian Air Force.
A Defense Ministry statement described the bomb as a smart munition. The
statement said the Defense Ministry would launch serial production of the
2,000-pound bomb on Aug. 27, the onset of Government Week.
Industry sources the Messenger was meant to resemble the U.S.-origin
Joint Direct Attack Munition. JDAM is a kit that converts general purpose
bombs to smart munitions.
Officials provided few details of the bomb. They said the munition
contained a GPS system that could guide the weapon to its target.
The Defense Ministry said Messenger was launched from the Iranian Air
Force's U.S.-origin F-4 and F-5 fighter-jets. It was unclear whether the
bomb could be fitted to the air force's Soviet-origin fleet, comprised
of the MiG-29 and the Su-24 fighters.
The ministry said Messenger, development of which was completed in 2006,
was one of the most powerful smart munitions in the world. The statement
said only several countries had the capability to develop such a weapon.
Defense Minister Mustafa Najar said Iran has become self-sufficient in
military production. During a tour on Aug. 23 of an installation of Iran's
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Bushehr, Najar said his ministry was
producing missiles, munitions, artillery as well as naval surface and
Najar said the ministry was also manufacturing fighter-jets, unmanned
aerial vehicles and armored ground platforms. The minister said Iran's
military has achieved what he termed full combat readiness.