Well here it is. I don’t know if it will be light or heat. I do apologize for the length of this.
The story I’m using is from THE IRANIAN JET UFO CHASE reference early in the thread and appears to be written by someone named Bruce Maccabee, that was taken from a published story by Bob Pratt ( who was an apparent UFO investigator) from the National Enquirer, plus a partial copy of a telex and a Tehran newspaper article. I’ve never heard of either of the gentlemen.
. The whole article is a bloody mess. From the published aircrew debrief, if I had tried that on my intel debriefer, I, my backseater, and the debriefer would have shortly been assigned to Thule AFB, handing out condoms to the troops. Assuming that what was written was at least semi-true, there has to be a lot more to those debriefs than what is here. So I’ll try to put together a somewhat logical flow and make a few comments and questions. I am not going to try to identify the bogey, because there just isn’t enough info and I have no expertise there.
The whole narrative as far as the aircraft side is just, well, strange. And a lot wrong. I would love to listen to the tower tapes. They were in English if Iran at the time was part of ICAO, and I’m almost sure they were and still are. If either of the birds were talking to a military GCI site, it could be either in English or Farsi. I don’t know which. I have worked with Norwegian, Dutch, German and Italian GCI sites, and they were all in English. I would also love to see the scope film of the 2nd bird if it ever existed, to see what was going on with the radar.
The scrambled birds were obviously loaded for air-to-air, which meant that they were carrying wing fuel tanks, four radar missiles almost certainly AIM-7 Sparrows in the semi-submerged wells, four AIM-9 Sidewinders on the inboard pylons and a gun. If they were E models, the gun was internal, if D models, the gun was in a pod mounted on the centerline. This is the universal load for an air-to-air F-4. Especially note the wing tanks. They will be of import later.
Using the DOC of the article that was referenced (Iranian Jet Case.doc) , Page 2. Henry who was at Shahroki Air Field stated that it was rare for jets to take off full speed at night with afterburner. WRONG! Shahroki is at 5600 feet elevation, a very high altitude fighter field and probably density altitudes of over 8,000 ft would be common in the summer. F-4s always use full burner and take off at “full speed”, whatever that means.. I only used a military power take off a couple of times and those were on FCFs (functional test flights) looking for something specific.
Page 6, para 2. The statement of a beeper on 121.12 Mz looks like either a typo or some one writing that was ignorant of that item. Beepers xmit on 121.5 in VHF and 243.0 Mz in UHF. Every ICAO and FAA tower monitors these frequencies. Since the tower appeared to not have heard it, the beeper was away from it and in a radio shadow of the tower. Also, beepers don’t normally just fall out of planes. Possible, but ultra improbable. Pure conjecture;: some one was playing with a light plane beeper. In any case, I don’t see any connection.
I don’t know how close the Elburz mtns are to Tehran; Babolsar at 85-90 miles away, would not have been able to paint anything over Tehran less than about 18k ft. MSL, Shaharoki at 135-140 miles away should be able to see something over about 4k ft. AGL with several caveats. I’m not any type of expert on this.
Now to F-4 #1.Pages 8-10
. The moon phase was an early waxing crescent with moonrise a little after 0100. The thin crescent of the moon had been only up for an hour when the interactions started so it was almost as dark as no moon.. The moon won’t be overhead until a little past 0700.The visibility at altitude over the desert should be unlimited. The only problem is that you can’t see anything in the dark. He launched at 0130 from Shahroki heading northeast to intercept 40 miles north ot Tehran, so he was traveling 150 miles. He was probably told this was an ID pass, he probably climbed to about 20k ft MSL till he got to within 50-40 miles of the bogey, then descended. He probable was traveling around 420 knots, since that is a good all round combat speed for an F-4. It gets you where you’re going fairly quickly without using too much fuel. It would take about 22 minutes at that speed to arrive. The story does not mention any of this of course.
. Was this from the aircrew or from the tower chief? If the aircrew, the bogey would be at 12k MSL, if from the tower, it would be at 16k MSL and a wild guess at best.
On a dark night like this, I see no problem seeing a light at that distance over a desert, especially if it is aimed in his direction and at altitude. The only thing that would cut visibility short of an inversion layer, would be light pollution and airborne crud in the vicinity of the city.
Why? This was just an ID pass. There was no critical time factor.
How far was he from the bogey when it did this? How far ahead did it stay? What direction did they go? Did they stay at 12k feet or change altitude?
Well apparently they climbed out, then went east about 200 miles and turned around. The time for this would be around a minimum of 50 minutes up to about an hour. The bogey is able to do 10,000 knots down in a thick atmosphere or can teleport itself?
So the bogey is keeping him 25 miles or better, and if he gets closer he gets jammed With respect to the engines, there should be no problem with their working, as the fuel tanks have hydraulic pumps as well as electrical, and the throttle connections are mechanical. Think of a diesel engine.
Now the bogey loiters around Tehran for about a half hour until #1 gets back? I’m thinking that #2 got to play for a while, but I don’t know. There is some time missing.
This is about the right time for him to declare bingo and go home. He has been mucking around at fairly high powers setting for roughly an hour-40 to two hours. The big chase must have been fairly high to get over the mountains around Tehran, so he was probably above 20k altitude. If he had been down low, he would have had to recover at Mehrebad, and sucking fumes. #2 was on station by now.
Whoa Nelly, how does an hour and a half +, get compressed to about 10 minutes, since there was a long distance chase? If it was 10 minutes, the long distance chase didn’t happen.
And so to F-4 #2 Pages 10-13
After #1 was airborne for 10 minutes, the General launched #2, so he got off the ground about 0150, when #1 is first getting entangled with the bogey. Why is a Colonel sitting alert? Colonels don’t sit alert. He should be pushing mountains of paper, unless he has to fill a square once a year or something.
#2 heads toward Tehran. #2 and #1 had to be talking to each other as well as to the tower. Meanwhile #1 is chasing the bogey east at about the same speed and is about 125 miles ahead of #2. #2 gets a little beyond Tehran (probably SE of town) about the time the bogey and #1 turn around, and is about 50-70 miles east of there when the bogey magically appears back over Tehran. So what does he do until #1 gets back to Tehran in about 20-25 minutes, gets jammed and goes home? The narration doesn’t say. It immediately jumps into #2’s playtime as though #1 wasn’t around.. The bogey starts jinking around and they both end up in a circle chase (this implies a distance of less than about two miles, probably less than one mile). This is apparently south of Tehran. Then the bogey extends? #2 gets a lock at about 25 miles with a positive delta V, so the bogey speeds up until they are back to 25 miles. It seems that the bogey is comfortable beyond 25 miles but gets really shy inside that. The writer seems amazed that the lock held for 48 secs. (Barring countermeasures, the radar will hold lock on a target as long as the target stays in front and within the radar’s limits, and does not get lost in any clutter.) They then turn east and push up the speed. Before this they were maybe close enough to Tehran to see the shape against the background city lights, but now it gets dark again..
“pedal to the metal - (not an aviating term; the writer is using his creative writing)
Mach 2? MACH 2??? I call major B.S. This can’t be done! Remember the external fuel tanks? With them and the ordnance hanging in the breeze, and at 25-30k ft. straight & level, even a great D model might get M-1.3 and an E model about .1 more. The drag of the tanks is the major limiting factor. Someone is dreaming.
Perhaps he meant westward. It seemed that they were heading east at the time. There is not enough info to be sure though.
There are a lot of ellipsi. What is missing? They are still out east of Tehran and in the dark, only a thin crescent moon. He is saying that the bogey is chasing him and he is giving ranges every 5 miles from 15. The only way he can see the bogey is by the supposed lights on it. He can’t see an unlit object at all. Even under a full moon, he would have to be within a mile or so to see a shape. To be able to put an eyeball on it assuming it is about co-altitude, he has to turn enough to put it at his 5 or 7 o’clock. There is no depth perception out that far, he can’t radar paint it and he has absolutely no idea how far away it is. (An aside- since most of the chases were out to the east, why didn’t the General have Babolsar scramble one or two? They were a lot closer to the action. I assume that he was keeping a close eye on all this.}
They apparently get back to somewhere near town and south of it, where he turns into the bogey. At this time, he has been airborne over an hour at fairly high power settings and has been using burner for at least 5 min..maybe as much as 15 during his chase. He is not going to punch off his tanks unless he has permission from the General, and there is nothing in the narration that says that he did. By this time he is starting to get low on fuel.
OK, the bogey shoots what appears to be a missile, but the size estimation is extremely iffy as there is not much moonlight and the description of lit sounds like a propulsion device . How far away was the bogey at this time? He had to be very close to see the launch, but had to be at a long range for the missile to fall into trail at 3-4 miles. It appears that he is somewhere around the magic 25 mile difference, but at that distance, he won’t see a launch. He turns away and pushes over? He has to be far enough away to attempt to get the missile to his beam so as to dodge it, but then he pushes over. That would just solve the firing solution for the missile, because he just straightened out his flight path. . As he turns away, he should be inverted and pulling to break the solution, not doing a push over.
“ Now according to the tower, this happened directly over the tower and that the missile chasing #2 was within about a hundred feet of the plane. But the pilot reports it is 3-4 miles behind him. The pilot then reports that the missile goes back to the bogey and formates within a few meters of it. To see this, #2 has to be within about a couple thousand feet of the bogey if they are still over the city, and if away from the city, within about two hundred feet. Remember there is only a sliver moon (probably about 30-40 degrees or so up by now, and it is still dark out away from the city lights. Did the bogey haul up close to #2? Previously, the bogey had been keeping both birds at about 25 miles. How high were they above the field, a thousand feet or so or around 20k ft area? For the tower to see both machines they had to be low but in the next event that immediately followed, they were at 26k feet. More high power maneuvering. By this time they had to be sucking fumes.
We now have the third gizmo drop to the ground and illuminate the area. This was close to the refinery. There is no indication of what was found the next day on the helicopter trip for either the flare or the beeper.. They then had some comm problems on the 150 radial that appeared to be at the reporting point KZ although it doesn’t actually say, and had problems with the INS platform. That indicates something on the ground in a hole jamming both the UHF and VHF frequencies. The INS? No idea. Was there a huge magnet? Probably not. (If the platform got dumped, then the show was over & they would immediately land if possible.) The description of the INS fluctuation 30-50 decrees does not state in which axis.
It does not mention what color the lights were but all aircraft flying at night carry nav lights on the tips of the wings that are green and red, with a white light on the tail. There is also a red rotating beacon on the fuselage. By seeing this from below in the city light glare, it could look like the description, with the wings appearing to be a cylinder, the beacon in the center and the nav lights at the ends. It would have been about 6k ft above them. The aircrew should have known that it was another bird though.
Ok, a short class on the F-4 electrical system! I’m doing this from memory after 35 years, so bear with me. If anyone wants better information, let me know & I’ll dig my dash one out of the closet and go into detail.
All the systems on this airplane are late 1950’s technology. It has a generator on each engine that produces DC with a transformer that converts some of the power to AC, a battery, and a Ram Air Turbine (RAT) (the RAT is an emergency generator) that can be deployed to produce both DC and AC if both generators fail. There is also a bus tie so that if a generator fails, the other can pick up the total load. There are about five DC buses that run various lighting systems, some instruments, part of the weapons system, intercom and some pumps. There are some seven or eight AC buses that run the nav, comm, radar, platform, most of the weapons systems, and some delivery computers. There are various relays that latch each of the electrical sources to each other and to the different buses. There are also about a jillion circuit breakers for almost everything in the world, with almost all of them in the back seat.
Navigation consists of two components, the TACAN system, and the “platform” that carries the attitude information, electronic compass system and inertial navigation system. It gets its heading information from a fluxgate and TACAN information from, of course, the TACAN. The rest is internal. One of the shortcomings of the INS is the fact that the position drifts, so it can’t be used for precision nav. After two or so hours, the indicated position could be off by as much as a mile. The TACAN is a military system that reads a ground site and gets bearing and distance from the site. It does not have a VOR, ADF or ILS system, and is way too early for GPS. The radio is UHF only. The radar can be used for navigation, but is not designed for it.
The radar is made by Westinghouse and is what Henry (and Bob?) worked on. It’s analog, not digital, and is a hybrid system of solid state & tube (valve for our Brit friends) technology. A real EMP would have fried the semiconductors & knocked it out till repair, So Henry is right about self repair. The display is not the cathode ray tube that everyone thinks of as a radar display. It has what is called a storage tube and is designed for air to air. There is no gradation of the return display, there is just a return or not a return depending on what the gain level is. The backseater controls the level of return of the display and the elevation of the radar antenna with a couple of knobs. It is extremely hard to give a size of an unknown target using just the radar, simply by the way it is used, so the estimate of the bogey having a radar return of a tanker is somewhat of a guess without having looked at a target of a known size shortly before hand.
The easiest way to block communications is to transmit noise on the same frequency with more power than the radio you’re talking to. The effect is that you get blasted with constant noise. There was no indication in the story as to what the effects of the comm problems were. Since the problems were at the same location for both the commercial bird and #2, there may have been a dead spot in that area. It did not say the location of #1’s problem. Just not enough info. As for navigation, all that is necessary is to blast noise and the TACAN reception is knocked out. In fact, the TACAN will occasionally lose lock for short periods while just flying straight & level.
Radar jamming works much the same way in the search mode, except that modulation is not used. The effect on the display is a totally flooded area anywhere the radar horn can see the target. Any lobe will do. The operator knows that the target is there, he just doesn’t know where. The problem for the target on this one is that when the strength of the reflected return becomes greater than the strength of the transmitted return, then the target gets burnt through.
Finally, Chaff is the oldest method of jamming radar, and was used in WWII. Still effective
In the attack mode the most popular counter is what is called a gate stealer. It breaks your lock and you have to reacquire another lock for launching a Sparrow. I don’t think it is still classified, but I don’t know, so I won’t go there. There are other methods of playing with radars that I know of, more that I’ve heard of and don’t know how they work, and I don’t know how many that I’ve never heard of (take that Rumsfeld). B-52s and E-F/B-111s carried quite an arsenal of jamming & spoofing equipment. I know the Marine EA-6s also carried it but I have no idea how much or of what. For what it’s worth I don’t think that any US electronics or Soviet planes were there. But then, I don’t know.
Jamming the AIM-9 is simply drawing the seeker away from the target by providing another stronger IR source. Note the film clips of A-10s in Bagdad pulling off an ordnance delivery pass and kicking out a half dozen flares to spoof any Strellas. Radar is not needed for the AIM-9.
What happened with all the losing and regaining stuff? The exact instruments and their mode of failure are not indicated. The general description is not the way the electrical system would work. If you lose something like the systems, or instruments, even by something external, a circuit breaker normally pops, and the GIB has to reset it. When #2 tried to fire a Sidewinder, he said he lost the fire control panel and comm. I wonder if they had been on hot mike and someone switched to cold mike on the intercom. That would have given roughly the same effect at least for a short time. With the Sidewinder, did he have a growl or did he try to hose it off ballistically? If I remember correctly, the launch signal is on one of the DC buses, can be powered by only the battery and only needs the trigger pull if the switches are set correctly. The switches are all mechanical or relay and he didn’t indicate a total electrical loss. Again, Radar is not needed for Sidewinders If there was a failure on the weapons panel only, It should have been a circuit breaker pop with a need to reset. There was nothing mentioned. The fact that the panel failed at the exact time he tried to shoot is really suspicious. There is no way to tell that a Sidewinder is being launched from outside the plane. Also it is a short range weapon with a normal range of not more than about two miles. Why was he trying to shoot at a missile at a range of over ten miles? Even when the missile fell in behind him it was still out of range. He was a Colonel, so he had a lot of time in the bird even though he was no longer as proficient as a senior Captain or Major. And due to his experience, he shouldn’t get rattled like a Lt. might.
The telex is incomplete but looks normal although I was not familiar with them. Since the incident was odd, the normal list of addresses would be a shotgun approach to see if anyone in the world had any information. The next question is: what was the expertise of Lt. Col. Mooy. It appears that he was not an F-4 driver and may have not even been rated. He did what he was supposed to do by taking down the next day interview and sending it on. What was in the telex would have been a glaring indication of “strange, that doesn’t sound right” for someone familiar with the bird. It apparently went out without someone at MAAG who was familiar with the F-4 looking at it. I think the next day briefing was not the real debrief but one put on for the general. The real debrief would have taken place immediately after the flight.
My take on this is that apparently something odd happened, but the story is so garbled and error riddled that it can’t be used for anything.. It also seems that there is a lot missing from this story. Someone is spoofing someone?
I have gotten another link from a post in the thread, from Wickipedia org
I’ll use this for a few more comments, but I’m not going back & editing.
This version has the Air Force Command Post getting the civilian call first instead of the tower. So who got the calls and who were the aircrews really talking. to? My opinion is that civilians in the area would not have the phone number of the command post, so it was the tower they talked to. The aircrews? Who knows.
#1 aircrew Captain Mohammad Reza Azizkhani, & Yaddi Nazeri
#2 aircrew Lieutenant Parviz Jafari & ??
So at this time, Jafari was not a Col. but a Lt. Considering that he was a new guy, I think that he got himself into a tight spot, flubbed his switch settings, and then tried to cover his ass. What he was seeing, I have no idea, but it seems he saw something. (When we practiced air-to-air, there was usually other stuff hanging on the pylons, so we did not do the switch drill. When the only task for the flight was air-to-air, and carried captive missiles or empty pylons, we did do the switch drill. As a result, early in the flights, there was usually some switch errors that negated a successful kill, usually by not turning on the master arm switch). My guess is that he got into the habit of not doing switches, and tried to do an AIM-9 launch with the missile still safed. Or even, tried to launch it with the pickle button rather than the trigger. He seemed to be excited at that point.
In this version, the tower chief says that #2 was about 2500 ft when he went over the tower with the bogey, not its missile, in close trail. The first description is that of a dark rectangle without mentioning lights. The description of the object on Wiki resembles that of the object seen while #2 was on final approach, resembling an aircraft with nav lights and rotating beacon. Again, if it was an aircraft, they should have recognized it as such, so I’m not going to speculate. Extra question: nowhere does it indicate that either of the F-4s were flying blacked out, so did they stay lit during all this?
One other thing that he stated was that he tried to eject but the “eject button” didn’t work. This is another major “I call major BS” item. There is no such thing as an eject button. The ejection system is totally mechanical. There are two handles for ejection, one between your legs on the front of the seat in the form of a large triangular ring The other is a curtain on the top of the seat with a circular ring at each front.corner. All mechanical by rods, pneumatics, explosive charges and rockets.
I would like to see what both pilots’ total time in type and night time in the last quarter was. It might explain at least a little if they were ultra low time.
My take still stands. Due to the munged information on the aircraft side, I’m guessing that the rest would be just as bad, and I think that it would be useless as proof of anything.