Vahdati AFB, 4th Tactical Air Base
(Paygah Hava'i Vahdat/Paygah-e Vahdat)
The Vahdati Air Force Base in Dezful is located at N32°26'04.00" E48°23'51.50" and is operated by the Iranian Air Force under the Western Area Command. Dezful lies in Khuzestan province and is near the Iraqi border on the west bank of the Dez River. The base was originally the home of two tactical fighter squandrons, a tactical fighter training squadron, and search and rescue squadron.
On 22 September 1980, Iraqi MiG-23s and MiG-21s attacked several air bases in Iran, including the Vahdati AFB. However, the Iraqi raids failed because Iranian jets were protected in specially strengthened hangars and because bombs designed to destroy runways did not totally incapacitate Iran's very large airfields. Within hours, Iranian F-4 Phantoms took off from the same bases, successfully attacked strategically important targets close to major Iraqi cities, and returned home with very few losses. As the war continued, Dezful came under attack from Iraqi ground troops. A local commander had requested air support from Vahdati AFB to stop the opposing Iraqi forces. Due to a lack of pilots, President Bani Sadr had to release jailed pilots whom were suspected of maintaining loyalty to the Shah.
In September 1997, Brigadier Habib Baghaii (commander, IIAF) and Brigadier Reza Pardis (Operational Commander, IIAF) established a headquaters at the Vahdati AFB in order to command air strikes on two basecamps of the National Liberation Army in Iraq. They sent nine Phantom and Tiger jets which dropped a 500 and 1000 pound anti-personnel bombs on camps near the cities of Kut (170km SE of Baghdad) and Jalula (130 km NE of Baghdad).
By 2008 three tactical fighter squadrons (the 41st, 42nd, and 43d) were based at Vahdati, along with a other light aircraft for local SAR and base hack duties. All the fighter squadrons were equipped with F-5E/F Tiger IIs, and there were reports of aircraft capable of aerial reconnaissance being in service with the 43d TFS. However, since Iran's RF-5E were all most likely out of service prior to 1995, this is debatable. There have been seperate reports of Iranian F-5s being modified for reconnaissance, which might explain these reports at Vahdati.
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