The history of the Chengdu F-7N in Iranian service

Babak Taghvaee explores the history of the Chengdu F-7N in Iranian service and the current modernization project for the country’s FT-7N combat trainer.

The Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) now operates 23 F-7N Air Guard fighters and 20 FT-7N combat trainers, serving the 84th Combat Commands Training Squadron (CCTS) at the 8th Tactical Fighter Base Babaiee at Isfahan. Over the past 12 years, the air force has gradually phased-out its F-7s from combat roles to use them as fighter pilot trainers in Isfahan. To keep them in service for at least another two decades, the IRIAF is currently working on a modernization project called Erfanian to improve the maneuverability and combat capability of the FT-7Ns.

F-7N
Fifteen F-7Ns and eight FT-7N Air Guard fighter jets of the 51st and 52nd Tactical Fighter Squadrons of the IRIAF’s 5th Tactical Fighter Base in October 2005. The weapons used by these squadrons can be seen in front of the aircraft. Abdolrahim Sharafi Farimani

Iranian Air Guards background

In the 1980s, the authorities of Iran’s Islamic Regime, which included Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, had conversations with their Chinese counterparts to buy two squadrons of F-7M fighter jets. A deal was agreed on June 29, 1985, for the latest export variant of the J-7 fighter.

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