Iran says it has succeeded in upgrading a Grumman F-14 Tomcat and return it to service.

According Mehr News Agency the process to upgrade the F-14 fighter jet began in February 2017. The Tomcat undertook flight tests last month and has now joined Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) F-14’s fleet, said Mohammad Jafar Tak, commander of Shahid Babaei Airbase.

In fact, along with the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm internal cannon, AIM-54 Phoenix radar-guided long-range air-to-air missile, AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile and AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile, Iranian Tomcats can be loaded also with the Fakour-90 air-to-air missile and MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air-missile (SAM) used as air-to-air missile.

The U.S. Navy retired the iconic Tomcat on Sep. 22, 2006 and today the F-14 remains in service with IRIAF.

In January 2007, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced that sales of spare F-14 parts would be suspended over concerns of the parts ending up in Iran and in Jul. 2007 the remaining U.S. F-14s were shredded to ensure that any parts could not be acquired.

However, in Oct. 2010 IRIAF commander stated that his country was overhauling its F-14s and mentioned that Iran-made radar system had been installed on the fighter.

Moreover, in the summer of 2010, Iran requested that the U.S. deliver the 80th F-14 it had purchased in 1974, but delivery was denied after the Islamic Revolution.

This article by Dario Leone originally appeared on The Aviation Geek Club in 2018.

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