Totally forgot to point out this post at Defense Tech. Take a look.
UPDATE: Speaking of Iran, check this out at Instapinch:
LOS ANGELES – Federal agents seized four retired F-14 fighter jets that authorities said were improperly transferred from the Navy to two air museums and the company that produced the TV show “JAG.”
The Tomcats were not properly demilitarized before being transferred to private parties, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which worked with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in a 17-month investigation.
By “not properly demilitarized” means going through a process we call “de-mil”, or remove any and all things in/on the aircraft that could be used by other countries who have the F-14 (i.e. IRAN!) or things that a static aircraft does not need.
Iranian F-14’s are not “Tomcats”…they are F-14 “Targets”
A lot of folks are familiar with the near-legendary story about how a fancy demonstration for the Shah resulted in Iran’s decision to purchase F-14s instead of F-15s. And we’ve been hearing a lot lately about how the Tomcat could come back to bite us if we decide on military action against Iran.
What’s not been mentioned, to my knowledge, is that we’d much rather be facing Iranian F-14s instead of Iranian F-15s. (Now, now, Tomcatters…hear me out!)
What if the Shah had decided to buy the F-15 instead of the F-14? Sure, you could argue that the Tomcat has some advantages over the Eagle, and you’d have a point. But the bigger issue is that of maintenance and operation. The only reason any sort of “embargo” of spare parts to Iran has a prayer of working is because no one else in the world ever owned any F14s. Just about everyone has some F-15s at this point. Even if every nation which operates Eagles made a 100% effort to keep spare parts and knowledgable personnel from falling into Iranian hands, the sheer scale of the installed base would make acquiring spares and even upgrades fairly easy. 1980 vintage Tomcats or more recent vintage (via upgrades and better maintenance) Eagles?
Despite the fact that we’d just as soon not have to tangle with Iranian Tomcats, the outcome of such encounters is far more certain than it would be against better-maintained Eagles with a larger number of effective support personnel.