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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran upgrades U.S.-built fighter jets

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has overhauled and modernized its warplanes, including the "sophisticated" F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, an Iranian military official said on Tuesday.

Air Force Deputy Commander General Aziz Nasirzadeh said in an interview with the FNA news agency that indigenous radars and new engines were installed on F-14 Tomcat jets, developed in the 1970s.

He said that although most airplanes had "old designs," all of their components, "including systems and parts, are being optimized and upgraded on a regular basis."

He also said Iranian bombers were armed with "indigenous 2,000-pound (900-kilogram) smart bombs," Qassed (Messenger).

Iran's Air Force announced in September that it had successfully test-fired Qassed 1 and 2 bombs in aerial drills over the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

The Iranian fleet of Grumman F-14 Tomcat aircraft was bought from the United States during the reign of the last shah. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has been under a U.S. arms embargo.

The United States announced in January 2007 that sales of spare parts for F-14s would be suspended due to concerns that they could end up in Iran.

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