Introduction — July 29, 2018
The new Fakour air-to-air missile gives aging Iranian Air Force planes a distinct advantage over any of the more modern U.S. fighters they are likely to come up against.
The original AIM-54 Phoenix missile, upon which the Fakour is based, is credited with 62 air-to-air kills in the Iraq-Iran War. The Phoenix has since gone out of production and the U.S. Air Force has nothing of comparable range.
Meaning that Iran’s Air Force will be able to launch missiles at U.S. planes long before they are in range of U.S. air-to-air missiles. To quote from Military Watch magazine:
The vast majority of U.S. made aircraft, including the F-18, F-15 and F-16, have a maximum strike range of 75km against enemy aircraft when using their AIM-120B missiles. Elite platforms such as the F-22 Raptor and Saudi Arabia’s U.S. made F-15SA are capable of deploying AIM-120C missiles with a range of 105km, but the range of these platforms remain less than half those of the Iranian platform.
Defence Blog — July 23, 2018
Iran held a ceremony on 23 July to mark the start of mass production of the new Fakour long-range air-to-air missile, upgraded and reverse-engineered version of the US-made AIM-54 Phoenix.
The Tasnim News Agency reported that on Monday during a ceremony in Tehran, Brigadier General Amir Hatami inaugurated the production line of Fakour, saying it could be mounted on all types of fighter jets.
The Fakour is an Iranian air-to-air missile used on F-14 Tomcats fighter jets to intercept and destroy air-to-air targets. It is a local adaptation variant of US-made missile based on the AIM-54 Phoenix.
According to the local source, the Iranian variant boasts several improvements over the original platform including a superior guidance system, enhanced range and greater speed.
The new guidance system is approximately 30% smaller and based on the reduced weight of the more modern systems and potential for added propellants the missile’s range can be estimated to have increased by approximately 15% relative to the original AIM-54 Phoenix, allowing it to hit targets at distances of 220km.
The minister highlighted Iran’s military preparedness and defense capabilities, stating that any threat against the country will receive a proportional response.
Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great headways in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the arms sphere.