Iran announced that it has developed a new anti-aircraft missile system, based on the half century old American Hawk system. The U.S. sold Iran Hawk systems in the 1970s, and Iran has tried to keep these in service ever since. It is believed that Iran obtained key components for their new missile system from China. Iran says it is manufacturing and deploying their new system.
Four years ago, Iran claimed to have modified Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to be fired from F-14 aircraft, as an air-to-air missile. In theory it’s possible, but practicality is another matter. Iran received F-14s from the United States in the 1970s, the only export customer for this U.S. Navy fighter.
The 1970s era Hawk missiles the Iranians have are probably no longer fit for use, as none of the components, especially the solid rocket fuel, lasts that long. But it is possible that the Iranians have managed to keep these missiles working via smuggled, Chinese manufactured or homemade, parts. The Hawk is a 17 foot long, 1,300 pound missile, with a range (when fired from the ground) of some 40 kilometers. Fired in air-to-air mode, it could go 100 kilometers or more.
Consider that the F-14 was designed to fire the Phoenix missile, which was 13 feet long, weighed 1,000 pounds and had a range of nearly 200 kilometers. None of the Phoenix missiles Iran had in the late 1970s, are believed to be still operational. Indeed, the U.S. technicians who were maintaining the Iranian missiles, ap… >>>