Bagaimana jet pejuang lama Iran masih beroperasi?

Ini bukan cerita mazhab. Ini cerita teknologi dan kesungguhan. Jet pejuang Iran dari tahun 70an masih lagi dalam keadaan baik dan mampu melakukan operasi perang. Dengan teknologi ini mungkin TUDM masih boleh menggunakan lagi jet Sabre, Tebuan, Skyhawk, F-5E dan MIG 29 tanpa perlu membeli jet pejuang yang baru. Kehebatan teknologi penerbangan Iran ini mengkagumkan Pentagon.

Ingenuity keeps Iran’s Vietnam-war-era planes flying in fight against Isis

The Pentagon is confirming that footage of a combat plane in action against Islamic State (Isis) over Iraq is the Vietnam-war-era F-4 Phantom used by the Iranian air force.

Iran’s air force is reliant on American planes it had before the 1979 revolution as well as planes flown to Iran by Iraqi pilots, which were apparently intended as protection from US air strikes during the 1990-91 Gulf war.

It is a tribute to Iranian ingenuity that Iran has been able to keep the planes flying, given US sanctions in place since 1979. The Iranians have done so by a combination of smuggling – using shadow companies to buy parts – and cannibalising parts from civil aircraft. They have also engaged in reverse engineering, though this seldom produces a perfect match, resulting in weaker parts.

Justin Bronk, a research analyst in the military science programme at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said of the plane spotted over Iraq: “This is the equivalent of a late Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom D or E variants. We do not know which one.”

Bronk, who specialises in combat air power, added: “It is extremely impressive that the Iranians have kept this airworthiness given the ban on spare parts. The Iranian aerospace industry is one of the best in the world in keeping old aircraft airworthy.”

Many of the original pilots left Iran or were executed after the 1979 revolution. The present crop have to contend not only with ageing aircraft but also the fact that they are able to log only a small number of flying hours compared with, say, US pilots.

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