Tensions between Washington and Tehran remain high as the US Navy carrier strike group and US Air Force bombers deployed to the Middle East to counter Iran conducted simulated strike drills
The US began deploying numerous troops and military assets to the US Central Command area of responsibility last month in response to intelligence indicating that Iran was plotting attacks on US interests in the region.
- U.S. deploying bombers and aircraft carriers in the Middle East after indications Iran planned an attack on US forces
- U.S Sends Fully Armed F-15 Fighter Jets In The Middle East Amid Iranian Threats
With the increase in tension, Can Old Iran Air Force tackle an attack from a U.S. Aircraft carrier and bomber in case America attacks Iran
Once one of the largest and most powerful air forces in the world, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) is a mere shadow of its former self. War and decades of crippling sanctions have reduced Iran’s once-proud air force to a motley international collection of aging warplanes of questionable value. The long decline of Iranian air power means the country is only minimally capable of securing its own airspace and incapable of standing up to regional rivals, let alone the United States.
Iran’s air force has long been, and remains Tehran’s weakest military link. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) roster is dense with aging 3rd and 2nd generation fighters, including the F-4 Phantom II, F-6, and “Saeqeh” F-5 derivative.
The functioning, relatively operational core of the IRIAF’s inventory is the dozen Su-24MK and 18 MiG-29 fighters purchased by Tehran in the mid-1990s.
While perfectly serviceable in low-intensity regional conflicts with Iran’s neighbors, the Su-24 and MiG-29 are exceedingly unlikely to perform well in pitched conflict with carrier strike groups like the one that Washington recently sent to the North Arabian Sea.
Even Patriot missile systems– which the US is now actively transferring to the Middle East– would pose a grave danger to Su-24s and similar aircraft operating in Iranian airspace. It has long been speculated that Iran is on the cusp of modernizing its air force with an infusion of Russian-bought Su-30 fighters, but serious internal and geopolitical problems stand in the way of any such deal being signed in the near future.
Even barring these crippling quality issues, the IRIAF roster simply lacks the number of aircraft necessary to secure Iran’s vast airspace against a full-scale US offensive.
If Iran lacks a way to meaningfully challenge the US Air Force in the sky, does it have any means at all of securing its airspace against an American offensive?
As it stands, the closest that the IRIAF can come to credibly threatening American airpower is the S-300 missile system.
The S-300PMU-2, the latest S-300 variant, and popular import choice boasts a range of up to 150 kilometers and can track six enemy aircraft simultaneously.
Assuming– and it’s important to highlight that this remains an assumption– that Iran is, in fact, able to deploy S-300 systems, the IRIAF is still unlikely to overcome the USAF, but can at least raise the costs of American victory with an effective anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) campaign.
The common theme emerges that the IRIAF is patently incapable of defending the entirety of Iran’s airspace with conventional means. But provided that they have access to the right anti-air equipment and are able to use it proactively, They stand a good chance of dragging out the conflict and thereby preventing a repeat of what the USAF managed