IIAF Air Defense Command




We have learned much through the years about the Air Defense Command and it's role in history. Eyes in the air are just as important, if not more so, than the air power. These "eyes" are the radar systems monitoring the skies. Without these eyes, the air power is vulnerable, ineffective, and hopeless.
According to the July 1990 "Smithsonian" magazine, radar had been
"in the works" in Germany as early as 1933.
Not long after that it started being developed in England, France, Italy, Russia, and the United States. Only England, however, really pushed radar and its practical use. By the time the Nazis were ready to start the blitz of England in July 1940, England had 29 radar stations making an invisible curtain along its southern and eastern coasts.

At the beginning of the WWII, Iran remained a neutral country. However,on August 23, 1941 (3 Shahrivar, 1320), during the heat of the WWII Iranian neutrality was broken, and Iran was attacked from the air and the sea----British from the South, and the Russians from the North ( was Called Operation "Y" under the command of Lt. Gen. E.P.Quinan).
The young Iranian Air Force, which had just begun to build its foundation, was in no condition to withstand such a heavy attack. The Allied Forces of Britain and Russia took control of two Iranian air bases in Tehran.
The British took over Dooshan Tappeh IIAF complex including Shahbaz factories and the Russians took over control of Ghale Morghi Air Base.
The invaders closed the IIAF Technical Officers Academy, the pilot training school, the maintenance school, and six air bases in the country. Armed Forces Personnel were dismissed from service and most of the aircraft were dismantled
( Some Air Force personnel witnessed that our Aircraft were cut into half by British troops to make them useless).
Out of 15 Curtiss H75 A-9 Hawk Aircraft that Iran had purchased from USA which were delivered in May 1941, 10 were ready to fly (SN 15252 to 15261 and the remaining were still in boxes. The British confiscated these Aircraft and shipped them to their forces in India!!!
Consequently, the young Air Force was reduced to practically nothing! The Iranian Air Force that had been built by H.I.M. Reza Shah The Great had been totally destroyed by the British and the Russian forces during their occupation of Iran, from 1941 to 1946.
Reza Shah, the founder of the Air Force was forced to resign, as part of the cease-fire agreement which was imposed on Iran by the British. Eventually, his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi became the Shah of Iran.
When the war ended the British left Iran, but the Russians refused to leave and remained in control of Northern Iran.
In 1946 (21Azar, 1325), encouraged by the American Government, the Iranian Army and the Air Force, under the direct command of the young Mohammad Reza Shah, drove the Red Russians and the "puppet" government of "Pishehwari" out of Iran.
The economy of Iran was weakened as a result of the war and the foreign occupation. The country was experiencing severe recession, unemployment, and disrepair during Russia's occupation. Depressed crude oil prices (less than $1.00 per barrel) imposed by the large Western oil companies prevented Iran from being able to purchase arms and re-equip her Armed forces.
The country struggled for ten years! Finally, the United States decided to help equip the Iranian Air Force with P-47's, RT/33 (reconnaissance aircraft), F-84's, and F-86's as part of their Military Assistance Program (MAP).
The Cold War between the East and the West after the WWII was the main reason for this decision. The Western allies (mainly the United States) wanted to build a cushion between the Russians and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf---gateway to the wealth of the Middle East oil fields. The first priority, however was to build strong, defensive armed forces in Iran and Turkey.

The British also stepped in by providing the IIAF with "Anson" and "Hurricane" aircraft and certain Radars. However, the British share did not come for free; it stemmed from compensations that they had to make for destroying the IIAF aircraft fleet, The Imperial Iranian Naval fleet, and utilization of Shahbaz factories which they used to support their own aircraft fleet during WWII while occupying Iran. Of course, it must also be mentioned that the British had "windfall" access to the extended Iranian Oil fields, Abadan Oil Refinery (the largest in the world at the time) and the Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf region that were part and parcel of British Imperialism, which the Iranians had to contend with. Other British motives to assist Iran at the time were linked with the Cold War, military pact with Iran and her neighboring countries("Baghdad Pact" later on "Cento Pact") and the creation of a permanent market for their weapons in Iran.

Early In 1958, the following officers and enlisted personnel were selected and sent to Weston Super Mare (near Bristol), England to receive a nine month long radar training. Those selected were:
Capt. Hossein Soroodi (Later Major General)****
1st Lt. Hossein Loghman Zadeh (Later Colonel)
1st Lt. Hamid Shirazi (Later Major General)****
1st Lt. Hooshang Filsoof (Later Brig General)
2nd Lt. Hassan Shayegan (Later Colonel)****
2nd Lt. Hassan Bassiri (Later Colonel)
3rd Lt. Hassan Zaki Zadeh
3rd Lt. Hassan Salmassi (later Captain)****
MSgt. Ali Liaghat (Later Warrant Officer)
MSgt. Reza Parsa
MSgt. ……….. Mehdi-Zadeh
Note: ****Following completion of the radar course, these four officers remained in England to complete the advanced radar course.
Later on, another group were sent to England for the advanced radar course. That group comprised of: 1st Lt. Hooshang Filsoof, 1st Lt. Hossein Loghman Zadeh, Reza Fatemian, and Hamid Farhang (the last two were engineering graduates from Tehran University).

Note: We need photos of this first group! Please inform us if you have any to share.
In 1958-59, the IIAF graduates returned from England's training ground with a mission to establish their country's first radar station and training school. Their hard work and efforts and those of others naming a few: Gen. Qaderi, Gen. Makoei, Gen. Firouzmand, Gen. Vakili, Gen. Jahansouzi, Gen. Valli, Gen. Fakour, Gen. Zamani, Col. Jahanbeglari, Col.Safarpashandi, Col. Golestanian, Col. Salahshour, Col. Rousta, Col. Ouskoei, Col. Rezaei, Col. Jahanshahi, Col. Zare, Col. Qurbanzadeh, Col. Saffari, Col.Askarzadeh, Maj. Baqari, Anari, Yamini, Sammuk, Farnodi, etc resulted in the establishment of 19 radar stations, and an Air Defense Command, which grew in numbers to over 70,000 personnel! During the summer of 1959, the first mobile radar system arrived in the Port of Khoram Shahr. This mobile system was installed in 27 trucks! Brought to Tehran and stationed next to the runway at the Dooshan Tappeh IIAF complex. First Lieutenant Loghman Zadeh was in charge of this mission. A British officer, along with technicians and a group of enlisted men, were responsible for the movement of this radar system. Later, the first mobile radar was operational at Dooshan Tappeh. The radar school to train operators was established and the training commenced on February 22, 1960, the first British-made mobile radar was also officially delivered to the IIAF on the same day. These British radars were Type 13 and 14.

Official delivery of the first Mobil Radar Feb-22-1960 (Gen. Khatami 2nd from right)
he British were planning to establish a Ministry of Defense---which meant the IIAF would be under this Ministry. The Air Force commander prevented this from happening. After the installation of the first mobile radar, the Air Defense Department was established and Captain Hossein Soroodi became its first Commander.
The first fixed British radar was installed in Tabriz, and 1st Lt. Hassan Shayegan assisted the British with its installation. Capt. Filsoof was assigned as the first Commander of this station. Then the following radar stations were set up in Babolsar, Mashhad and ShahrAbad. After the installation of the first four British made radar systems, the United States stepped forward and equipped the IIAF with American-made radar systems.

Attention was then turned to the Southwest and Southern borders where Russian allies such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya posed a threat and could easily approach Iran.
In 1965 Lt. Iraj Ghaffari and Lt. Haghpanah were sent to Tyndal AFB (Panama City-Florida) to attend the " Weapons Controller Course" (was called "Fighter Controller Course" by the British). After completion of the course they returned to Iran and assisted the Americans with the installation of the first two American Radars in Dezful (Dehlooran Near Vahdati Air Base) and Hamadan (Soobashi near Shahroukhi Air Base). Consequently, the Americans formed two mobile training teams at these Air bases. Originally these two officers assisted the American teams to train IIAF- ADC Fighter Controller Officers and later on performed the task by themselves.
The following is a list of the radar stations that were established:

Tehran (first British built mobile radar installed in Tehran-Doushan Tapeh)
Karadj (American radar)Purchased from USA" Westinghouse Co." & was installed by Westinghouse
Tabriz (British radar)
Baboolsar (British radar)
Mashhad (British radar) Purchased from England " Marcony Co." & was installed by Marcony
ShahrAbad (40KM NW of Bojnoord - British radar) Purchased from England " Marcony Co." & was installed by Marcony
Dezful (Dehlooran - American radar) Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Spellout"
Hamadan (Soobashi - American radar) Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Spellout"
Bushehr British mobile radar, later becoming American radar. Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Peace Ruby"
Isfahan (American radar)
Bandare Abbas (American radar) Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Peace Ruby"
Bandare Jask (American radar) Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Peace Ruby"
Kish Island (American radar) Given to IIAF by USA as Military Assistance Program (MAP)under project "Peace Ruby"
Chah-Bahar (Incomplete Air Force, Navy & Army military complex - designated to have American Radar) Purchased from USA" Westinghouse Co." & was going to be installed by Westinghouse
***Sat. March 9-1979 ( 19 Esfand 1357) "Associated Press"
Col. Seyed Ahmad Madani Defense Minister of Islamic Republic announced : "Contracts of the Chah Bahar Base project Has Been Cancelled !!!!. ( Notice that cancellation of the project came only 27 Days after Islamic Regime came to power).

The IIAF also purchased 8 GPS-11 the American Moraine-Band radar Mobile System that consisted of: Westinghouse AN/TPS-43 Radar & Tropospheric scatter (E layer) Communication System as a backup to the fixed radars. In addition to the aforementioned fixed sites there were also the following mobile radar sites "Under construction":
Lengeh Near Bandare Lengeh
Taheri Near Bandare Taheri
Kohkilooyeh Near Behbahan
Abdanaan Near Dezful
Near Ghasre Shirin
In 1979 more than 90% of the job was completed.

All these 19 radar sites and facilities were built in less than 15 years. (1962-1977). While in the 23 years of Islamic regime, between 1979 and 2001, not even 1 site has been built!
Each radar site had the capacity to house 3000 to 7000 personnel and their families, and consisted of the following facilities:
Communications Sites which provided the state of the art communications network throughout the sites, the radar stations and the high command.
Anti-aircraft Hawk & Rapier ground to air missile sites,
"Hawk" ground to air missile system with its control and guidance system AN/TSQ-73 for high altitude targets and
"Rapier" ground to air Missile system for Low altitude targets.
Air Defense radars were linked to their respective defensive Hawk and Rapier Anti Aircraft missiles radar systems.
Anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) Urlikan Guns
Headquarter Buildings
Guard housing, support facilities, and motor pool
Housing community, BOQ and guest houses.
Banks, commissary, theatres, and schools.
Officer's, Homafar's and NCOs Club.
Medical and sports facilities.
Landing strip / airport, ATC and their associated facilities

"Hawk" for high altitude targets ...."Rapier" for Low altitude targets
From 1957 to 1979, the Air Defense Command commanders were:
Capt. Hossein Soroodi
Lt. Col. Ali Nakhjawan
Col. Khalil Nadji

Brig. Gen. Esfandiari (Lt. Gen. M.H.Esfandiari ADC commander from 1961-1974)
General Amir Kamiabi Pour
General Saeed Mehdiyoun
General Shapour Khourammi -- Deputy ADC Command

Note: We need photos of these commanders! Please inform us if you have any to share.

The American radars did not perform well in the hot and humid weather of the Persian Gulf. Several attempts to upgrade the radars did not correct the problem instead made it even worse (General Dynamics final upgrade of the American search radar made by Bendix installed in the Western Iran, Persian Gulf region and the kish island resulted in
" Zero Detection")! It may be pertinent to mention that in 1972 due to extensive detection and coverage problems arising in most areas, particularly the Persian Gulf region, either from inadequacies associated with the installed foreign radar systems themselves or selection of poor radar sites by the foreign military advisers, an extensive radar coverage optimization study was carried out by the IIAF with the help of USAF, FAA, US universities & industries and Pentagon. A thorough search for more suitable radar sites and extensive meteorological investigation of the Persian Gulf region weather behavior pattern, from zero feet to 10,000 ft above the sea level, and interoperability and suitability of yielding the desired interlaced-mesh radar coverage of the Iranian airspace by various radar systems namely: ground, mobile and HAWK missiles radar were conducted which eventually led to further studies such as the Automation of the Iranian Defense, deployment/purchase of AWACS, etc. The study of the Automation of the ADC which later led to the same for the entire Iranian Defense System, apart from its technological complexity and mammoth implementation undertaking became highly a political issue and was strongly opposed by USSR government which finally compelled the governments of Iran and the USA to abandon it. The Automation of the Iranian Defense conceptually in a nutshell consisted of: two hardened Command Posts (the primary Command Post and its backup) buried in the mountains in the Northern and Southern Iran hardened to withstand a direct hit of a 1000 lb bomb. The raw data from the nationwide radar sites, airbases, Navy, Army, etc were to get locally converted into digitized data by digitizers and then the real time data with the aid of special modems would be transferred via national microwave telecommunication system to the two gigantic main frame computers located at the two command posts where the information would have been processed and used.

The large white domes of radar on hilltops and mountains could be seen from miles away making them easy targets. The IIAF decided to purchase the F-14 Tomcat which could be used as an airborne radar system. The F-14 Tomcat is the US Navy's carrier based two-seat air defense, intercept, strike and reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft was developed by Grumman and entered service with the US Navy in 1972 and IIAF in 1974.
The IIAF was the only foreign force in the world allowed by the US government to have F-14's.
The F-14 Tomcats were purchased to be stationed at Chah-Bahar to defend the Iranian interest in the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean. When the F-14's arrival in 1974 the Chah-Bahar Air Base was not ready as an interim measure they were transferred to Isfahan.

**Wed. March 28-1979 ( 8 Farvardin 1358) "Associated Press"
Col. Seyed Ahmad Madani Defense Minister of Islamic Republic announced " The Islamic Regime has decided to RETURN the F-14s !!! to USA and reduce the Armed Forces to half!!!!!!!.

Plans for using AWACS an airborne air defense capability were also underway, eight AWACS were negotiated for, five were ordered and three were ready for delivery. AWACS an aerial radar platform with its main advantages such as: over the horizon extended line of sight and look down capability that is not troubled by the ducting phenomenon the prevailing atmospheric condition in the Persian Gulf region {the significance for defense is that radio waves, such as radar, can be trapped in a duct [if the ray curvature within a thermal inversion is stronger than the curvature of the Earth's surface, rays can be continuously guided along the surface of the Earth without ever escaping to space, this region in which rays are trapped is called a duct] and propagate along a path following the curvature of the earth's surface, instead of traveling in a straight line. This bending of the radio wave path is caused by the refractive properties of the atmosphere and sometimes results in waves bouncing along the sea surface for long distances}.
The fanatic Islamic regime cancelled this order and paid for their mistake later during the Iran-Iraq War in which these AWACS (now sold to Saudi Arabia) were used against Iran.
At the same time, there were two large projects called "Sik-Switch" and "Sik-Sentury"----Sik-Switch was for communications (including satellite), and Sik-Sentury served the airborne defense systems.
Unfortunately, both projects were cancelled by the Islamic regime.
The Air Defense Command, in addition to these radar sites, also had 6 fighters from each air base on alert (2 ships on 5 minutes, 2 ships on 15 minutes, and 2 ships on 30 minutes alert)---a total of 60 fighters. Also, all 79 ships F-14's were used mainly for air defense.