to 1920 (1299) there was no use of air power in the
armed forces of Iran. By then Reza Pahlavi became
commander in chief of the Armed Forces, and realized
the importance of air power in future conflicts.
In 1921 (1300) the Iranian ambassador in Washington
DC requested to purchase aircrafts from the U.S. The
U.S. officials denied the Iranian request based on
the disarmament treaty of World War I. Therefore Iran
had to turn to European countries, such as Germany,
Russia and France.
The first country to acknowledge Iran's request was
Germany, which agreed to sell some JUNKERS aircraft
Since there were no provisions
in the budget for purchase of aircraft, H.I.M. Reza
Shah Pahlavi (At this time Prime Minister) asked the
Iranian people to raise needed funds to purchase these
Following this request, the people of Gilan and Mazanderan
province raised the funds to purchase 2 Junkers F-13
The contract was signed, the aircrafts were delivered,
and were called "Gilan" and "Mazanderan"****.
the Russia agreed to sell aircraft to Iran. Iran purchased
DH-4 and DH-9 (built in Russia, called R-1 and R-5)
and Avro-504, from Russia (the Russians called it
AVROSHKA).These aircraft were delivered in 1923 (1302).
At the same time France also agreed to sell aircraft
to Iran so IIAF purchased Spad-42, Potez-8, Breguet-14,
and Breguet-19 from France.
These Aircraft were delivered
between 1923 (1302) and 1925 (1304).
Feb. 25, 1925 (5 Esfand-1304) the first Iranian pilot
Colonel Ahmad Khan Nakhjavan, who was trained in France
with Colonel Yadolah Azam Zangeneh
(Mrs. Farah Jahanbani's
Father and General Nader Jahanbani's Father in Law
) with only 200 Hours
of flight experience, flew a Breguet-19 with the Iranian
Flag and Insignia on it from France to Iran's Ghale-Morghi
Airport where Reza Khan Mirpanj (Later Reza Shah The
Great) personally greeted them. Thus on this date
the first Iranian Air Force Aircraft piloted by Iranian
Pilot crossed international borders and entered the
Up to this date the Iranian pilots were being trained
a) a group sent to France for pilot training.
b) another group sent to russia for pilot training.
c) in Iran by a German Instructor pilot by the name
Purchasing the aircraft was the easy part. Training
the pilots to fly them, the ground crew to maintain
and repair them, and building the airports were the
hardest parts and required time. Also during this
period, the Air Force was changed from a small office
in the Army to a separate department and was called
Imperial Iranian Air Force.
Ahmad Khan Nakhjavan became the first Air Force Commander.
In 1924 (1303) the first group of student pilots and
Mechanics were sent to Russia and France for training.
Later In 1929 (1308) Iranian Air Force had a total
of 15 pilots of which 6 had graduated from Easter
flying school (France) and 9 from Sebastopol flying
school (Russia). At this time the IIAF had total of
33 aircraft of 9 different models.
During the next 15 Years (up to World War II) over
400 Aircrafts of 18 different models and from 4 Countries
were in the IIAF Service. The 8 air bases built at
this time included pilot training and instructor pilot
schools plus a maintenance training school. An Aircraft
factory "Shahbaz" was also established and
would build 3 different types of aircraft.
the beginning of the WWII, Iran remained a neutral
country. However, in 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
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. Personnel were dismissed
from service and most of the aircraft were dismantled
( Some Air Force personnel witnessed that our Aircrafts
were cut into half by British troops to make them
From 15 Curtiss H75 A-9 Hawk Aircrafts that Iran had
purchased from USA and they were delivered on May
1941, 10 were ready to fly (SN 15252 to 15261 and
other 5 were still in boxes. The British also took
all these Aircraft and shipped them to India!!!
The young Air Force was reduced to practically nothing!
Iranian Air Force that had been built by H.I.M. Reza
Shah The Great had been all but destroyed by the British
and Russian forces during their occupation from 1941
to 1946. Reza Shah, the founder of the Air Force was
forced to resign, as part of the cease-fire condition
imposed 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 (21 Azar, 1325), encouraged by the political
pressure applied by American Government, the Army
and Air Force, under the direct command of the young
Mohammad Reza Shah ((( Only
40 Days After receiving his Pilot Certificate, and
having less than 100 flying hours, Shah of Iran made
four Reconnaissance Flight over enemy territory, this
was the first time that the leader of a country would
actually participate and fly over war zone.)))
drove the Red Russians and the "puppet"
government of "Pishehwari" out of Iran.
economy of Iran was weakened as a result of this occupation
and the war. 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
the Armed forces.
The country struggled for ten years!But these obstacles
would not prevent the Air Force to get back to course
1946 (1325) the
Pilot Training College reopened its doors and trained
11 pilots which all of them graduated on 1947 (1326)
and received their certificate from Shah himself.
In 1947 (1326 ) the Aircraft mechanic school and Maintenance
college started again by accepting 90 cadets.
In 1951 (1330) the first European officer (Col. P.
Shawnen, French Air Attaché) attended the IIAF
pilot training college and received his certificate
after his graduation.
United States decided to help equip the Iranian Air
Force 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. For that reason USA
equiped IIAF with P-47's, RT/33 (reconnaissance aircraft),
F-84's, and F-86's as part of their Military Assistance
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
More information to
in a 3 Month period, of the 34 operational aircraft,
8 crashed due to the variety of aircraft built by
different countries. This reduced the whole Air Force
to only 26 aircraft and 15 Air Crews (Pilots &
The 2nd Fighter Base (Vahdati) became operational.
Dey 1341) The First Out of Country Mission (Congo-Africa)
The 3rd. Fighter Base (Shahrokhi) became operational.
Also the first Helicopter becomes operational in IIAF.
(Monday 12 Bahman 1343) the first Four F-5A Freedom
fighters were delivered to IIAF.
4Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Shiraz Starts Operation.
5Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Tabriz Starts Operation.
6Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Busheher Starts Operation.
7Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Chah-Bahar Starts Operation.
8Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Isfahan Starts Operation.
Contract was approved for purchase of 8 AWACS,
3 ship to be delivered in 1979. In early days of The
Revolution, Islamic regime rushed to cancel
this order. As the result these AWACS were sold to
Saudi Arabia, later on during the war 80-88 the same
AWACS were used against Iran.
9Th. Tactical Fighter Base in Omidieh Starts Operation
F-16A Falcon were ordered and paid for, of which 140
were built and Ready to deliver. (In 1979 the Islamic
cancelled the order!!!!)
the period between 1965 to 1979 more Than 7 Air Bases,
Radar facility were
Built and 750 New Air Crafts were received and maintained
operational ready, more than 80,000 personal were
trained in Iran, USA, England, Germany,....... .This
Unbelievable achievements was made possible only by
the extra hard work and devotion of each and every
member of the IIAF. History will always remember those
Homafars, and enlisted men and women of
the Imperial Iranian Air Force.
Job Well Done.