MiG-25 vs F-4 in Iran-Iraq war

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The problem for you is that now we know how many planes iraq lost in total from iraqi archives and iraqi officers. Rendering the wild claims from earlier tom cooper books obsolete (relying 100% on iranian claims then trying to "match" iraqi figures around the iranian claims to make them fit).

The total fixed wing Aircraft losses do not exceed 170 For all causes. And Iraqis admit to losing only about 25 or less to air combat (and only claim a few iranian jets in air combat too... Ceding most claims to air defence sams).

I can see that the erroneous wild claims by cooper and bishop are still plastered on every Wikipedia page and thus the myth goes on.

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Actually I am not getting my info from Tom Cooper either as many of his statistics are incorrect from the Iranian point of view as well. Also, don't you think losing 25 aircraft in air to air combats in the 8 years of war seems off by a lot?!!! Iraq lost what, 30-40 fighters during the month long first persian gulf war in mostly to air to air combat.
The back bone of the Iraqi air force were the MiG-21 and 23s, while three MiG-25s were downed by air to air engagement one way or another, which makes 12%-13% of the air to air loss! This doesn't even come close to the sorties flown by the MiG-21, 23 and Mirage F-1s.
Moreover, with such statistics on the Iraqi side, for example what would be the point to have the Mirage F-1 interceptors in Basra base? Let's leave the job to the ground defenses instead of the interceptors.
Sorry, but not taking in to account any sources and just relying on statistics, the loss of 20-25 fighters in air to air combat just doesn't add up!!

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Iraq lost 23 aircraft in the air during 1991. and that's to a far superior enemy.

I can't look up the exact figures for MiG25 losses, but they were pretty small. I believe there were 2-3 fighter versions lost of which one was in an accident. leaving a possibility of 1-2 to be shot down. 1x MiG25RB was also shot down by a SAM.

Similarly Iran lost 19 F14 airframes between 1980-1990 (and that EXCLUDES pre-war accidental losses). i.e. they had 77 airframes in 1980 and in 1990 had 58 airframes (of which about 20-25 air worth at a time).

Let us repeat that in 1980 Iran had over 300+ BVR capable modern fighter jets.
Iraq had.... 0!

Its only in 1982 that Iraq began fielding BVR capable fighters in numbers (Mirage F1, MiG23ML, MiG25PDS). So the Iraqis managed to fight the entire period of the "most intense" part of the air war with ZERO BVR fighters versus 300+ Iranian BVR fighters... and they didn't lose air superiority. Not bad... and mostly due to the effect of Iraq's better organised ground based air defence system than anything else.

What the Iran Iraq war truly demonstrated is that against a 2nd level country, a soviet-style (but mixed eastern-western) air defence system can hold its own and be pretty resilient. This experience then took the Iraqis onto their disasterous experience in 1991...

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Noted but in terms of aircraft during that time, the F-14A still had its superiority among the existing fighters; hence, the burden of a2a on its shoulders.

Regarding MiG-25 I don't think there is much discrepancy on the statistics.

F-14 for sure hasn't been 19 and pretty much the statistics given above are correct; although, not sure if you meant 19 in a2a combat, coz with the same logic of downing 20-25 on the Iranian side the F-14 makes up 80%-100% of the a2a Iraqi kills! Also, the Iraqi fighters avoided the F-14 as much as possible as a general rule and would automatically cancel their mission whenever encountered them. And the F-14s which were limited by the Phoenix missiles in stock relied on announcing their presence in the hope of the Iraqi mission cancellation.
The loss as far as I remember was F-5 90-100 and for F-4 was 110-120 but not sure. Have to check again; however, out of these average 15% of them were lost to a2a combats.

Regarding BVR capabilities on paper may be correct that Iran was 300+ but must take note that the F-4's BVR capability was statistically around 20% and during Vietnam war was around 13% using Sparrow missiles. It was the F-14 that truly carried that capability and let's not forget that Iraq's lack of BVR technology was rectified after 14 months. The next 6yrs+ Iraq was using the BVR technology and benefited from it greatly.

True, what Iran lacked in air defenses Iraq used immensely and effectively and in return, Iran relied on its F-14 until they went fatigued towards the end of the war and the shortage of coolant for the Phoenix missiles; hence, the birth of Sedjil, converted MIM-23 Hawk Missile.

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yes. no doubt. the best fighter interceptor of the iran iraq war was the F14A. It however never performed adequately due to many factors including lack of AWACS support, low operational availability etc...

Iraqis only claimed about 5-6 F14s as shot down in air combat anyway.

ultimately the fact that Iraqi planes flew in and out of Iran for 8 years, conducting hundreds of thousands of combat sorties and losing less than 200 planes in the process is a testament to that. Similarly, iranian F4 phantoms could fly into Baghdad even in 1987 despite there being a large air defence umbrella and interceptors and a MiG25 squadron around... both sides chaffed under a lack of AWACS platform which meant that it was exceedingly easy for either side to sneak in hilly terrain along the border and be detected too late for effective interception.

Lets not forget that by March 1988 the Iraqis were flying Il-76 heavy freighters INTO IRAN and dropping "pallet bombs" (with no loss)! This in addition to the lumbering medium bombers that flew into Iran on many hundreds of missions over 8 years (TU22, Tu-16 and B6D) and suffered a less than 1% attrition rate... despite these being "ideal" targets for the F14 / Phoenix combo.

In reality the "most effective" interceptor for both sides was the short-medium altitude SAMs, due to the inherent weakness of both sides air operations and control capability. I am surprised Iran has not bothered to upgrade its capability after the war... but it seems they took their experience from teh war to focus more on having nimble mobile forces and lots of independent capable and highly mobile ground based air defence systems...

Iran's post-war action (focusing on building up alternative forces and de-centralised air defence and rocket based attack) shows that the overall experience of using "us style" air supremacy simply didn't work out. The fact that the air force was left to soldier on with whatever they had and without much more investment in air capability over the past 25 years is a testament to that.

Similarly the Iraqis "attempted" in the 1988-1990 period to "upgrade" their air operations shortcomings with the expensive project consisting of three aircraft:
-Baghdad 1 "ground mapping and control" aircraft series
-Adnan-2 "AEW & C" aircraft series
-Boeing 727 "Airborne Command Post" series

demonstrating aptly that they were not impressed by the capability of their air interception and attack capability during the war...

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Actually, it was the F-14 that saved Iran from Iraqi air domination. The fact of not having AWACS had little bearing on the matter granted that having AWACS would have made the job easier, but still ground radar did the job and the blind entry points were covered by Bonanza's and lookout posts, as well as the F-14 itself. 95% of the aerial victories is contributed to the excellent performance of the F-14 and the Phoenix missiles, some 155 kills. The only reason why the F-14 flew over 65,000 sorties during the war was because they were up 24/7 and towards the last couple of years they shifted 8 F-14s to Bushehr TAB to act as Scramble fighters, reducing their flight time in the southern region.

As for Iraqi planes going in and out of Iran ... conducting hundreds of thousands of combat sorties... is a bit exaggerated don't you think? Let's say there were a total of 200,000 sorties inside Iran and not more (coz hundreds of thousand will be at least 400,000 and up), that makes an average of 70 sorties per day not missing one day! Let's say Iraq lost total of 200 Planes which makes it easier to calculate making their loss something around 0.001 or 0.1% per sortie!!! In other words we can assume their rate of success was at least 95% (I will give rate of failure 4.9% with such a performance!). That is one hell of a statistic and I am surprised with that many sorties why Iran's industry, military bases, etc. wasn't leveled? We are talking about hundreds of million pounds of bombs being dropped!! Let's say Max load is 6,000lbs (which is more) but we will make that half 3,000lbs as an average for excluding different missions like Escort, Anti-radar strikes, etc. Not taking in to account the downed air crafts (assuming none were over the persian gulf!) makes it 199,800sortiesX3,000lbs=599,400,000lbs of bomb dropped!!!! Even if you dropped that to 50,000 sorties that will be around 17 sorties per day inside Iran which couldn't have happened, even during the first persian gulf war, Iraqi armed forces (land and air), industry, power plants, most military objectives were almost destroyed by 35,000-40,000 combat missions. While Iraqi air force had many successful inland attacks in Iran, still the majority of the missions were cancelled due to the presence of the F-14s.
Baghdad's air defense was one of the strongest in the world and all you have is ONE example and maybe couple of more air attacks on Baghdad. It was an Iron Dome for itself during that time. As said before, Iraq's ground defense was much better than Iran's and as a result, Iran relied on the F-14 mainly. The last couple of years of the war, due to less F-14 flights, Iraqi air force had more effective inland attacks.

No doubt as i said the F-14s towards the last couple of years of the war were shifted down south to protect Khark Island and the oil tankers; however, even that, I really doubt IL-76s flew in for bombing runs inside Iran as there is no logic to it!!! When you can use supersonic bombers why use cargo plane to bomb anywhere?!! Even if it's because of its higher payload, the job can be done by multiple sorties!! But even that, the TU-22, TU-16, etc. didn't perform many sorties inside Iran and bombings were done by the MiG-23s mostly.

The reason Iran has shifted towards ground defense and long range missiles is not because the air force didn't function adequately. Contrary the Iranian air force's performance was exemplary during the 8yr war battling with many difficulties such as US military embargo, executions, purges, internal post revolution issues. The lack of F-14 spare parts and the absence of medium and short range a2a missiles, hindered their max performance during the war. Still with what was available, they managed to hold off Iraq back and ground Iraqi air force during the first three months of the war inflicting heavy losses to Saddam's surprise. If only he had waited six more months, then the outcome of the war would have been quite different. However, why Iran has shifted towards ground defense and long range missile strikes is quite simple; Military Sanctions!! The Russians and Chinese are not playing ball in terms of offering high tech fighters and are giving only MiG-29 and J-7s. The outdated American fighter fleet is more reliable than the Russian and Chinese fighters & technical support currently. Even now the main Iranian interceptor is the old F-14.

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The sortie rate was pretty high from.Iraq and it was mostly within 50km of the iranian border. Missions deeprrnintoniran were lless of course. Just the border guard pc7 planes were patrolling along the entire border in over 40 sorties a day... Forget about the mig21 which flew most sortieS. Iraq did indeed fly hundreds of thousands of sorties into Iran. And the F14 did in fact not shoot them down as proven by the remaining in tact airframes iraq had in 1990. Where are all the shot down airframes? Who flew them? How come those planes were still in iraqi inventory 2 years after the war if they were shot down?

As for iraq destruction Of iran. Well each plane dropped an average of 500kg or less per mission. Missions reaching reaching 1000kg were rare indeed. And usually 1/2 of planes dropped ordnance. So for 200k missions there were 100k planes dropping ordnance... Totalling about 50k tonnes of ordnance. That was peanuts compared to what iraqi artillery was doing... They'd drop 50k tonnes on Iran in a couple of months... Not 8 years.

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PC7 planes were used mainly for CAS missions on both sides; however, Iranians did lose many helicopters to Iraqi PC7s. There was no need for patrol missions by PC7s either for ground purposes or aerial as they aren't suitable planes for patrol. They were mostly equipped with rockets and seldom with GP bombs.
The average bomb weight on Iraqi fighter/bombers were more than 1tn during bombing missions, as pretty much anything less is not worth a mission. Even for the F-4s during the high rist bombing of Osirak, each carried 3,000LBS worth of ammunition.
The fact is that Iraq was able to replenish its lost fighters in the first six months of the war and later on, as Iran realized that Saddam is able to replenish its air force, they focused on cancelling Iraqi missions rather than shooting the fighters down, since Iran could not replenish its 400+ Phoenix missiles. Lack of medium range and short range missiles for the F-14 forced them to hold back. In fact, Iran air force shot most of the ~200+ Iraqi fighters in the first two years of the war and in the rest of the six years focused more on cancelling Iraqi aerial missions rather than engaging them; unless, it was necessary. Again, it was only the F-14 which stood between the Iraqi air force and Iran for most of the war and if Iran didn't have them, the outcome of the war would have been different.

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I know that the MiG-25 is about the only Soviet aircraft to have faced significant NATO adversaries in its life and still ended up with a kill-ratio better than parity overall.

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1)As i side before (Ahmad Rushdi, real name Ahmad Sadik) does not exist in Iraqi AF at all this person is fake so do not rely any statement or claim came through him.
During Iran-Iraq war we lost a three MIG-25s all of them shot down by SAM and we didn't lost any MIG-25 in aerial combat, all these allegations Iranian F-5,F-4 and F-14 vs Iraqi MIG-25's false claims, none of Iraqi MIG-25s were allowed to fly lower than 21 Km with Mach 1+ in combat mission and they turn back with Mach 2+, in reconnaissance missions the travel and back with Mach 2+ which make both duties impossible to intercept, Iraqi MIG-25's used in indiscriminate shelling to targets deep Iranian territory.
that Iraqi Air force losses during Iran-Iraq war in aerial combat was 37 fixed-wing aircraft, and Iran were unable to deploy and operate their AIM-54s earlier in the war due to technical expertise.
2) Iranian regime who started the war on Iraq since they came to the power, first through their statements by Iranian President Bani Sadr and Khomeini to export Islamic revolution to Iraq and whole the region second by air violations of Iraqi airspace, third Iran start shelling border villages and towns such Khanaqin, Zain Alqos, Saif Saad, Zurbatiyah and Mandali and other cities left many casualties and destruction, Fourth since 7 Sept till 22-9-1980 Iranian AF began to implement combat sorties in side Iraqi territory using attack helicopters and F-4 nad F-5 until they reached the attack on the Iraqi capital Baghdad where an Iraqi MIG-21 belong to 9th Sq piloted by Maj. Kamal Abdul Sattar Alborznge shot down Iranian F-5 on 7 Sept 1980 flown by the Iranian pilot Hussein Lashkari over Baghdad which is mean 16 days before the war, In addition to the bombings and assassinations in Iraqi universities by Iranian agents in order to create chaos and instability in Iraq community. And many other action led Iraq to defend himself (all what i mentioned here documented by warrants and letters sent to the United Nations and videos) and i have copy of all these document.
3) From the beginning of the war Iranian AF turned to defense, mid 1985 and earlier 1986 Iran almost lost air superiority and Iraqi air force were attack every single targets inside Iran reaching Caspian Sea and neutralize targets just 40 km away from republics of the Soviet Union such Neka power plant 36°39′03″N 53°17′57″E or killing Seawise Giant on outskirts of the Strait of Hormuz 26°50'32.8"N 56°23'00.5"E and destroy Bushehr reactor 28°49'46.8"N 50°53'08.1"E or Tehran and Isfahan refinery, Parchin military complex 35°29'41.1"N 51°45'22.7"E and thousands of sorties, all these missions show two things can't be denied once the successful capabilities and strategic roles carried out by the Iraqi Air Force and the second thing is the inability of the Iranian Air Force for repelling these combat sorties during the war.

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1)
During Iran-Iraq war we lost a three MIG-25s all of them shot down by SAM and we didn't lost any MIG-25 in aerial combat, all these allegations Iranian F-5,F-4 and F-14 vs Iraqi MIG-25's false claims, none of Iraqi MIG-25s were allowed to fly lower than 21 Km with Mach 1+ in combat mission and they turn back with Mach 2+, in reconnaissance missions the travel and back with Mach 2+ which make both duties impossible to intercept, Iraqi MIG-25's used in indiscriminate shelling to targets deep Iranian territory.

A MiG-25RB flying at 'Mach 2+' would certainly be a difficult target to intercept - but perhaps it's quite possible with an F-14? Why do people in Iraq believe it was shot down by SAM missile and not by an Iranian AF F-14? Which type of SAM missile do the Iraqis claim shot down the MiG-25RBs?

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I know that the MiG-25 is about the only Soviet aircraft to have faced significant NATO adversaries in its life and still ended up with a kill-ratio better than parity overall.

And thats all proof we need that speed is the single most important aspect of a fighter. ;)

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And thats all proof we need that speed is the single most important aspect of a fighter. ;)

Indeed - say yeahh! to the F-104.:cool:

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A MiG-25RB flying at 'Mach 2+' would certainly be a difficult target to intercept - but perhaps it's quite possible with an F-14? Why do people in Iraq believe it was shot down by SAM missile and not by an Iranian AF F-14? Which type of SAM missile do the Iraqis claim shot down the MiG-25RBs?
That is pretty much the same question that comes to my mind when allied losses during the Gulf War are discussed. Whatever plane was lost was automatically attributed to SAM or AAA. Even in case of Scott Speicher's Hornet it took years to claim a Foxbat kill.
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Indeed - say yeahh! to the F-104.:cool:

F-104 did not have any meaningful speed advantage over its adversaries (especially the MiG-21).

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That is pretty much the same question that comes to my mind when allied losses during the Gulf War are discussed. Whatever plane was lost was automatically attributed to SAM or AAA. Even in case of Scott Speicher's Hornet it took years to claim a Foxbat kill.

That's a different war altogether - why mention it?

F-104 did not have any meaningful speed advantage over its adversaries (especially the MiG-21).

Yes, both aircraft had top speeds, when clean of around mach 2+. Actually carrying useful payloads, and for useful ranges I'd guess that the Starfighter had the advantage. Wasn't the F-104 the faster climber?

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A MiG-25RB flying at 'Mach 2+' would certainly be a difficult target to intercept - but perhaps it's quite possible with an F-14? Why do people in Iraq believe it was shot down by SAM missile and not by an Iranian AF F-14? Which type of SAM missile do the Iraqis claim shot down the MiG-25RBs?

I will explain to you why it didn't happen. first open google map and check Abu Ubaydah air base on the map N32 28 45 E45 46 17 and see how it's close from Iranian border, while the Iraqi MIG-25RB's take off they start to climb up to 21 Km over Kut city, then they heading out with Mach 1+ or 2+ to Iranian airspace, with good prior knowledge of Iranian radar sites coverage area they do avoid any spotted and heading toward to their targets while Iran didn't had AWACS, in this case the Iraqi MIG-25s will reach the target without alarm Iranian air force, even if the Iranian AF spotted it will be too late to take off and intercept them because any Iranian F-4 or F14 pilot sit in the cockpit need at lest a 3 to 4 minutes to take off, plus long time needed to reach 21 Km altitude? in this time the MIG-25's finished the duty and turn back with Mach 2+, even if the Iranian F-4 or F-14 meet the Iraqi MIG-25's in the sky they would be unable to shot him down because Iranian pilots didn't equipped with flight helmet high attitude nor high altitude anti pressure suit add to that Iranian aircraft whether using AIM-7 Sparrow or Phoenix 54A missiles they can't lock or hit him snap up like this.
With all that the three MIG-25 pilots returned from captivity explained their causes of down was SAM.
That's why Iran didn't shot down any Iraqi MIG-25 in aerial combat.

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That's a different war altogether - why mention it?
Because it's an aviation forum?

Yes, both aircraft had top speeds, when clean of around mach 2+. Actually carrying useful payloads, and for useful ranges I'd guess that the Starfighter had the advantage. Wasn't the F-104 the faster climber?

Not sure about that.. Both fighter belonged to the sports fighter aircraft category. But if the F-104 had any advantage over the Fishbed, it was nowhere near the speed advantage the Foxbat has had over Phantoms and/or Tomcats.

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Let's not forget one of the reasons Iran purchased the F-14 before the Iranian revolution was to intercept the Russian MiG-25 Recon flights. Once the F-14s were received and a few interceptions took place, the Russians cancelled and reduced their recon flights over Iran.
As for how the interception and shoot down of the Iraqi MiG-25 by the F-14, you should take in to note that the F-14s were always flying 24/7 during the first few years and when in fact Shahram Rostami and RIO Rafeii intercepted the MiG-25 over the Persian Guf, they were already airborne. The F-14 reached at 40,000+ft and had only a short window of opportunity to fire. The MiG-25s flying at high altitude and at speeds of over Mach 2 and the interception of the F-14s at Mach 1.5+ didn't leave much room for the Phoenix missiles to complete their flight profiles. As for the Sparrow F which was suited for the F-14, the Iranian Tomcats were not equipped with them as the interim government cancelled all its contracts with US one sided.
And correct, the Iranian pilots did not have pressure suits and F-14s would seldom fly above 40,000ft. Even some test flights done at those altitudes during the war deemed dangerous and unless it was necessary the F-14s didn't fly that high.
The only record of the shoot down of MiG-25s during Iran Iraq war is with the HQ-2 surface to air missile stationed near the city of Esfahan which managed to gain the only SAM kill.
In fact 3 out of 4 MiG-25 kills were as a result of aerial combat in which two were the result of bad luck for the Iraqi pilots. One suffered cabin pressure failure and shot by F-5 canons. My understanding from this thread is that the MiG-25 was W/O upon landing.
The other MiG-25 was intercepted and engaged by F-14 piloted by Jahabakhsh in which the Iraqi MiG-25 fled toward north by NW, running out of fuel around the city of Van in Turkey.
There are couple of more claims by Iranian side from different sources; however, the IRIAF had not confirmed those kills.
As for Scramble time of F-14s, standard time was 30mins; however, after some modification on procedure the Iranians reduced the time to 15mins same as F-4s. As a result, the F-14 scramble flights began taking effect some 5 years after the war had started to reduce the heavy burden on them against many opposition to the plan. The home base of the Tomcats were Esfahan and Shiraz and setting up another one in Bushehr had its own challenges.

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Let's not forget one of the reasons Iran purchased the F-14 before the Iranian revolution was to intercept the Russian MiG-25 Recon flights. Once the F-14s were received and a few interceptions took place, the Russians cancelled and reduced their recon flights over Iran.
As for how the interception and shoot down of the Iraqi MiG-25 by the F-14, you should take in to note that the F-14s were always flying 24/7 during the first few years and when in fact Shahram Rostami and RIO Rafeii intercepted the MiG-25 over the Persian Guf, they were already airborne. The F-14 reached at 40,000+ft and had only a short window of opportunity to fire. The MiG-25s flying at high altitude and at speeds of over Mach 2 and the interception of the F-14s at Mach 1.5+ didn't leave much room for the Phoenix missiles to complete their flight profiles. As for the Sparrow F which was suited for the F-14, the Iranian Tomcats were not equipped with them as the interim government cancelled all its contracts with US one sided.
And correct, the Iranian pilots did not have pressure suits and F-14s would seldom fly above 40,000ft. Even some test flights done at those altitudes during the war deemed dangerous and unless it was necessary the F-14s didn't fly that high.
The only record of the shoot down of MiG-25s during Iran Iraq war is with the HQ-2 surface to air missile stationed near the city of Esfahan which managed to gain the only SAM kill.
In fact 3 out of 4 MiG-25 kills were as a result of aerial combat in which two were the result of bad luck for the Iraqi pilots. One suffered cabin pressure failure and shot by F-5 canons. My understanding from this thread is that the MiG-25 was W/O upon landing.
The other MiG-25 was intercepted and engaged by F-14 piloted by Jahabakhsh in which the Iraqi MiG-25 fled toward north by NW, running out of fuel around the city of Van in Turkey.
There are couple of more claims by Iranian side from different sources; however, the IRIAF had not confirmed those kills.
As for Scramble time of F-14s, standard time was 30mins; however, after some modification on procedure the Iranians reduced the time to 15mins same as F-4s. As a result, the F-14 scramble flights began taking effect some 5 years after the war had started to reduce the heavy burden on them against many opposition to the plan. The home base of the Tomcats were Esfahan and Shiraz and setting up another one in Bushehr had its own challenges.

Excuse Me are you rely on Tom Cooper stories and Iranian Allegations or do you have a any proof of these myths?
I have read you first top comment on this page but i wouldn't replay because it contains a lot of inaccuracies at the same time another user did already, however i don't mean to offend your words but i know it's not your fault since such this nonsense published somewhere through books or internet. As i explain and confirmed to you Iraqi air force didn't lost more than a three MIG-25's in combat mission during Iran Iraq war none of them shot down by any Iranian aircraft all of them were lost by SAM. And there is no MIG-25 down near or around the city of Van in Turkey this is totally false allegations.