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Iranian Cancelled Acquisitions of the 1970s

RLBH

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Hopefully this is the right forum for this. A bit of browsing on the Flight International archive yields this gem from 1974:
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1974/1974 - 1113.PDF
On the same basis [of preferring twin-engined aircraft], the Iranian requirement for an attack aircraft points to the Fairchild A-10 rather than the single-engined LTV A-7.
Then, five years later,
http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1979/1979 - 0470.PDF
Requests for the A-10 Thunderbolt II from [...] Iran [...] were also turned down.
The second quote indicates that the A-10 probably won the competition. But I can't find anything else other than these two tidbits. Can anyone shed any light on the matter - expected roles, numbers of aircraft envisaged, other competitors?
 
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Dynoman

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The Shah of Iran was in the middle of a huge military acquisition order that included 300 F-16's (some of which were already constructed and being prepared for delivery in 1980) when the revolution was taking place. 70 A-10's were ordered and due to be delivered by 1985. I don't know of a competition or set of requirements for the Iranian attack aircraft but I'll keep looking.
 

RLBH

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The trouble with this subject is that the internet is awash with undocumented claims that the Shah ordered this, or that, whizz-bang weapons system. Some of it is wishful thinking, some of it is misinterpreting inquiries as a serious intent to order, some of it is not recognising export control regimes. The Wikipedia article on the subject is an amazing example of this at work.

As a result, the entire experience of researching Iranian plans before the Revolution has taught me to be very careful about sources. The 300 F-16s is well documented. The second link above explicitly says that A-10s were requested (though not in what quantity) but that export authorisation was refused. Without hard documentation, I'm inclined to treat all claims with extreme skepticism.
 

Abraham Gubler

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There is a thread here somewhere listing the various things the Iranians were planning on buying before the revolution.
 

Grey Havoc

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Assuming for a moment that the 70 aircraft figure was in the ballpark, then it's likely the actual number of A-10s required was 72, given that the IIAF hewed quite closely to USAF doctrine in most matters (never having gotten around to formally creating it's own doctrine prior to the revolution). That would have equipped three squadrons in a single Tactical Fighter Wing.
 

iverson

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RLBH said:
The trouble with this subject is that the internet is awash with undocumented claims that the Shah ordered this, or that, whizz-bang weapons system. Some of it is wishful thinking, some of it is misinterpreting inquiries as a serious intent to order, some of it is not recognising export control regimes. The Wikipedia article on the subject is an amazing example of this at work.

As a result, the entire experience of researching Iranian plans before the Revolution has taught me to be very careful about sources. The 300 F-16s is well documented. The second link above explicitly says that A-10s were requested (though not in what quantity) but that export authorisation was refused. Without hard documentation, I'm inclined to treat all claims with extreme skepticism.
No kidding! Notice how the first of the two cited PDFs (1979 - 0470.PDF) reports "Laser-guided smart bombs and cluster bombs cannot be supplied to Iceland." Iceland does not have a military, much less an air force--just a paramilitary Coast Guard and a police force.

But, perhaps they were planning to restart the Cod Wars or go back to the viking tradition?
 

Grey Havoc

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iverson said:
No kidding! Notice how the first of the two cited PDFs (1979 - 0470.PDF) reports "Laser-guided smart bombs and cluster bombs cannot be supplied to Iceland." Iceland does not have a military, much less an air force--just a paramilitary Coast Guard and a police force.

But, perhaps they were planning to restart the Cod Wars or go back to the viking tradition?
Seemingly that request was part of an abortive attempt by the Jóhannesson government to arm the Icelandic Coast Guard's then sole F27-200M (TF-SYR, delivered in 1971).


EDIT: Correction, looks like they got their second F27-200M (TF-SYN) in 1977, rather than in 1980 as I thought.
 

RLBH

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Grey Havoc said:
Assuming for a moment that the 70 aircraft figure was in the ballpark, then it's likely the actual number of A-10s required was 72, given that the IIAF hewed quite closely to USAF doctrine in most matters (never having gotten around to formally creating it's own doctrine prior to the revolution). That would have equipped three squadrons in a single Tactical Fighter Wing.
One of the things the IIAF did, that sets it apart from other regional air forces in the professionalism stakes and makes it comparable to Western air forces, was to have a number of 'overhead' aircraft, typically in the region of 30% - for NATO powers, it's nearer 50%, but most minor nations don't have any overhead allowance at all. A 70-aircraft buy for Iran would equate to about 50 front line aircraft; I'd suggest that it equates to three squadrons of 18 aircraft - Iran's F-5 squadrons were tasked with ground attack amongst other things, and operated in 18-aircraft squadrons, whilst the Imperial Army had three corps headquarters. The idea of one 18-aircraft squadron to support each corps, plus 16 aircraft as allowance for deep maintenance, makes sense, but is of course speculative.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Dynoman said:
The Shah of Iran was in the middle of a huge military acquisition order that included 300 F-16's (some of which were already constructed and being prepared for delivery in 1980) when the revolution was taking place. 70 A-10's were ordered and due to be delivered by 1985. I don't know of a competition or set of requirements for the Iranian attack aircraft but I'll keep looking.

Previous discussion on this topic is here:


http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,734.60.html
 

Grey Havoc

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RLBH said:
Grey Havoc said:
Assuming for a moment that the 70 aircraft figure was in the ballpark, then it's likely the actual number of A-10s required was 72, given that the IIAF hewed quite closely to USAF doctrine in most matters (never having gotten around to formally creating it's own doctrine prior to the revolution). That would have equipped three squadrons in a single Tactical Fighter Wing.
One of the things the IIAF did, that sets it apart from other regional air forces in the professionalism stakes and makes it comparable to Western air forces, was to have a number of 'overhead' aircraft, typically in the region of 30% - for NATO powers, it's nearer 50%, but most minor nations don't have any overhead allowance at all. A 70-aircraft buy for Iran would equate to about 50 front line aircraft; I'd suggest that it equates to three squadrons of 18 aircraft - Iran's F-5 squadrons were tasked with ground attack amongst other things, and operated in 18-aircraft squadrons, whilst the Imperial Army had three corps headquarters. The idea of one 18-aircraft squadron to support each corps, plus 16 aircraft as allowance for deep maintenance, makes sense, but is of course speculative.
That makes a lot of sense.
 

TsrJoe

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I'm wondering if any other display models were prepared for other possible IIAF. equipment, eg. C.5 Galaxy, E.3 Sentry, A.10, etc. :)
 
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Grey Havoc

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The C-5 order was part of the Shah's efforts to revitalise SEATO. Also, pre-revolution, Iran was pretty heavily involved in supporting UN peacekeeping operations.
 

Archibald

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Werner von Braun left NASA in May 1972 and went working for Fairchild - Hiller - Republic. And he was hired to try and sell A-10s to Iran, among others countries. Also the backup ATS-6 NASA comsat. All those efforts went nowhere.
 

Archibald

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The Shah also considered buying the CIA mothballed fleet of A-12 OXCARTs gathering dust at Palmdale since 1969. It would have been a mix ELINT / recon variant to support those AWACS already mentionned.

The Shah arm spree in the 70's was completely insane.
 

Grey Havoc

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The initial proposal was to convert them into F-12 type interceptors! The reconnaissance variant was arguably a sounder acquisition.

As to the military build up, there was method in the Shah's seeming madness. Not only was there genuine threats to Iran, especially the Soviet Union despite a brief detente in the early 1970s, but also the Shah wanted to bootstrap Iran's (already quite decent) Science & Technology base further as well as her industrial infrastructure. Most of his purchases were actually pretty well thought out, including spare sparts and other long term technical support. A major problem however, was that despite major investments in education, technical and otherwise, by the second half of the 1970s the Iranian armed forces in general were increasingly having trouble absorbing the torrent of new equipment and the associated expertise to operate & maintain it fast enough, against a background of political instability contributed to greatly by the Carter administration's often insane policies. The Soviets were very willing indeed to stir the pot that Carter had unwittingly provided them, though that would eventually end up back firing even on them.
 
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riggerrob

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Bell developed a couple of Huey helicopters specifically for the Imperial Iranian Air Force: 214A, 214C and 214ST. They all had larger engines and wider main rotor blades to improve hot-and-high performance in Iranian mountains.
The 214A Huey Plus got a single Lycoming LTC4B-8 engine. 296 x 214As and 39 x 214Cs were delivered before the Shah was ousted.

Bell also offered to sell the longer Huey 214 Super Transporter version to Iran. 214 had an extra row of seats (for a total of 20 passengers versus 15 in UH-1H). 214 also got the wider rotor blades plus a pair of the same CT7 engines now installed in H-60 Blackhawk. Civilian 214STs ferried oil workers out to offshore oil platforms.

Ironically 50-odd 214As were eventually sold to Iraq during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War. A few ended up logging in British Columbia.

Many of those wide-bladed Huey variants flew against Iran in the hands of private military contractors like Black water.

One disadvantage of those wide blades is that they are so heavily-loaded that they cannot auto-rotate (as per Pierre Fourand).

As an aside, did the Iran-Contra Inquiry ever reveal exactly which types of spare parts USMC Colonel Oliver North sold to Iran?
 

TomS

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The spare parts were apparently for the HAWK missile system.

Iran had asked for TOW, HAWK, Harpoon, Sidewinder, and Phoenix. They got TOW and HAWK missiles, plus parts for the HAWK system.

The factual findings from the investigation do a pretty good job of listing the various tranches of shipments, if not the specific parts.

 
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Hood

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It wasn't just the Air Force, cancellations for the Navy included:

Submarines
Tang Class
Kusseh (ex-USS Trout (SS-567): US transfer 17/12/1977 but returned to USN 05/1979
Ex-USS Wahoo (SS-565), ex-USS Gudgeon (SS-567): US transfer cancelled following 1979 Iranian Revolution

Type 209 class
6 subs: ordered 11/03/1978, cancelled following 1979 Iranian Revolution, some components used in construction of Chilean Type 1300 class

Destroyers
Modified Spruance/Kouroush class
Kouroush, Daryush, Nader, Andushirvan: ordered 1974, contracted 23/03/1978, cancelled 03/02/1979 following Iranian Revolution, appropriated by US Congress into USN, commissioned as USS Kidd (DDG-993), Callaghan (DDG-994), Scott (DDG-995) and Chandler (DDG-996) respectively
2 ships: ordered 1974 but cancelled before 23/03/1978 contract issued

Frigates
Kortenaer class
8 ships: cancelled following 1979 Iranian Revolution

Patrol Craft
US 64-foot Mk III class
50 boats: kits for local assembly for Coast Guard, some shipped before 1979 Iranian Revolution, unclear how many were assembled

Amphibious Warfare Ships
Hengam class
2 ships: cancelled following 1979 Iranian Revolution
 
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