The Soviets did not need to ‘steal’ or ‘get’ any Tomcats: obtaining quite good intel on the F-14 – from the USA – proved quite easy for the KGB. Few words ‘on popular request’.
No, no Iranian F-14 was ever ‘given’ to the Soviets. No, the Soviets never made parts for TF-30 engines of Iranian F-14s, nor have they developed the Zaslon radar or the R-33 missile for their MiG-31 on basis of any kind of intelligence – from Iran. The Soviets were never left even anywhere close to any of Iranian F-14s.
It doesn’t matter who in the West has released any of such rumours, all are wrong. Similarly, all the photos purportedly ‘showing ex-Iranian F-14s undergoing testing (“against MiG-25s”) in the USSR’ – are fake.
(Actually, if at all, then it was the details of the MiG-31, Zaslon and the R-33 that were revealed to the CIA – and then by Adolf Tolkachev, one of chief designers at what is nowadays Vympel institute, and that already in 1979, i.e. before the MiG-31 entered operational service in the USSR.)
The Soviets did not need to ‘steal’ or ‘get’ any Tomcats: obtaining quite good intel on the F-14 – from the USA – proved quite easy for the KGB. Perhaps ironically, the rest came from diverse of books. Gauging by specific illustrations in Soviet internal publications, they did make extensive use of Mike Spick’s ‘Modern Combat Aircraft: F-14’ (Salamander, London, 1983).
Already in the same year, the Soviet air force published a related booklet ‘Naval Fighter F-14 (US Navy)’ – see the attached scan. BTW, this was ‘nothing special’.
They’ve had such ‘tactical manuals’ for all other major types of Western aircraft, too – including F-4s, F-15s, F-16s, F-111s, E-2C, E-3A, even for the F-117A and the B-2A: arguably, only top-ranking fighter pilots were getting these to see (reason for this was the – ‘complex’ – training system for all their pilots), which is why they remain relatively unknown outside specific circles.
More interesting F-14 stories written by The Aviation Geek Club contributor Tom Cooper are featured in Helion & Company In the Claws of the Tomcat.