Cold War Era

This Iraqi Mirage F.1EQ-5 made an Emergency Landing in Saudi Arabia after being Hit by an AIM-7E Fired by an IRIAF F-14A Tomcat

The Iraqi said that their Mirage F.1EQ-5 was hit by a ‘Strela’ MANPAD, fired by the IRGC: actually, there was no MANPAD: it was an AIM-7E fired by an F-14A, scrambled from Bushehr.

The photo in this post shows a Mirage F.1EQ-5 of the Iraqi Air Force (IrAF), serial number 4569. It was involved in (another of several) air raid on the Farsi Island – a little rock in the middle of the Persian Gulf – suffered combat damage, and was forced to land at Dhahran AB, in eastern Saudi Arabia, in 1988, where this photo was taken – after the Mirage was stopped with help of a flexible barrier, at the end of the runway.


As explained in the book Iraqi Mirages The Dassault Mirage Family in service with the Iraqi Air Force, 1981-1988,Since 1986, the Farsi Island was developed into the base of the IRGCN (IRGC’s ‘Navy’), including a well-protected port and a radar station. The Iraqis have had only recce photos shot by their MiG-25RBs, and no really good idea about what was going on there. Even less so did they know that the local CO had a telephone-hotline to TFB.6: i.e. that the Iranian would call Bushehr whenever any kind of Iraqi jets were detected.

So, on Apr. 21, 1988, the Iraqis decided to strike that radar station with AS.30Ls: you can see the PDL.1EQ Patrick laser-designator installed under the centreline on the attached photo.

The two Mirage F.1EQ-5 fighters approached at low altitude and a speed of at least 920km/h, before firing from some 4,000 metres away. While pulling the usual 4g avoidance manoeuvre to the side, the aircraft flown by Captain Amer Abdullah received a hit.

Abdullah then nursed the badly damaged Mirage for about 150km to Dhahran…

Now, the Iraqi conclusion about what has hit the 4569 is particularly interesting: according to them, it was a ‘Strela’ MANPAD, fired by the IRGC.

…I would just love to see one MANPAD that can hit a low-flying aircraft underway at a speed of 920-1000km/h, pulling 4gs, and that over a range of 4-5,000m….

Actually, there was no MANPAD: it was an AIM-7E fired by an F-14A, scrambled from Bushehr.

The Remora pod (visible under the right outboard underwing pylon) deflected the Sparrow sufficiently for this to proxy-fuze instead of scoring a direct hit (like on Aug. 29, 1987, when another Mirage was shot down ‘by a MANPADs’ in the same area).

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS

Iraqi Mirages The Dassault Mirage Family in service with the Iraqi Air Force, 1981-1988 is published by Helion & Company Limited and is available to order here.

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in Middle Eastern, African and Asian air forces. As well as authoring and co-authoring 560 books and over 1,000 articles, he has co-authored the Arab MiGs book series – a six-volume, in-depth analysis of the Arab air forces at war with Israel, in the 1955–73 period. Cooper has been working as editor of the five @War series since 2017.

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