Iran Regime’s Desperate Manoeuvres
By Staff Writer
When Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, in May, many speculated that this would put America on track for another war in the Middle East. This has not happened, not even close, but many continue to bring it up as a possibility, so let’s assess what that incredibly unlikely event would look like.
If the US wanted to engage in a full-scale military campaign against Iran, their primary objective would be to destroy the Iranian air force. This would not be a hard task as Iran flies outdated American-built warplanes, so not only are their planes not up to code, the US knows exactly what pressures to put on the Regime to make it break.
The best planes in Iran’s military arsenal are the remaining Grumman F-14 Tomcats – 80 were ordered by the Imperial Iranian Air Force prior to the 1979 revolution and 79 were delivered before US sanctions on Iran came into play.
When it was developed in the late 1960s, the F-14A was one of the most capable fighter jets in the world, with an AWG-9 long-range pulse Doppler radar that had a range of over 115 nautical miles and allowed for a multiple shot capability. It could even potentially target six enemy bombers at the same time, although practical applications didn’t quite live up to that.
However, a technology that was top-of-the-line in the 1960s is barely usable today in most cases. Most people would be too nervous to travel in a civilian aircraft from then and it’s not like they have to deal with more advanced planes attacking them.
Iran has tried to upgrade the planes themselves over the years, but various sanctions have left them using substandard equipment to fit new avionics or weapons to the Tomcats. Even more pressing, only about 20 of the planes are in flyable condition. While Iran also has about 20 Russian-made Mikoyane MiG-29 Fulcrums, the dilapidated Tomcat would still be Iran’s first line of defence against an American onslaught.
The US would lead the fight with their Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor, which is some of the most sophisticated military sensors on earth. It combines stealth with supersonic speed, integrated avionics and extreme agility. Its radar could spot an F-14 from many tens of nautical miles away and attack before the Tomcat knew that an F-22 was in the vicinity.
The National Interest wrote: “The Raptor, having detected a flight of Iranian F-14s and given the go-ahead to engage, would likely turn toward the enemy and launch its Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM missile—which reportedly has a range of 96 nautical miles when launched from a conventional fighter—from high supersonic speeds exceeding Mach 1.5 and at altitudes well above 50,000 ft. It would be all over for the Iranian F-14s before anyone in the enemy formation would have any idea they were under attack.”
But what would happen if the Raptors had run out of AMRAAMs and were forced to engage within visual range? Well, F-22s can close in unobserved to less than 1000 ft, where they would be able to kill the F-14s with Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinders or 20 mm Vulcan cannon fire. This is something that F-22 pilots practice routinely during exercises and their target is mostly caught unawares.
Simply, if there were a war between the US and Iran, the US would win hands down. Iran is hardly capable of taking on Saudi Arabia military, let alone the US.