Made in America: Iran’s Military Successfully Flying Old Lockheed Patrol Aircraft

Middle East

Despite its arguably aged military arsenal, Iran seems to be pretty good at maintaining American partrollers to keep a keen eye on what’s going on in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, which has of late seen a number of tanker attacks.

The Iranian Air Force’s museum-vintage P-3 Orion patrol planes have proved airworthy, as 11 November saw an Iran-owned Lockheed P-3F Orion pass in close proximity to the US Military Sealift Command dry-cargo vessel USNS Alan Shepard and USS Normandy, an accompanying US Navy cruiser, The National Interest reported.

Navy photos captured the moment when the four-engine P-3 flew by the ships as they were crossing the Gulf of Oman that separates the Persian Gulf, where multiple tanker attacks have occurred, and the Indian Ocean.

Iran is known to have bought six P-3Fs from Lockheed starting in 1973. The P-3 at the time was arguably the world’s leading patrol plane, with its high speed and superb low-level handling allowing it to comb maritime space for surface ships and submarines alike.

According to Scramble, a Dutch aviation magazine, one of six planes (serial 5-8702) crashed in February 1985, with another shortly thereafter written off. However, per evidence cited by Scramble, there are still five patrollers of this kind at the IRIAF’s disposal.

“So we believe there was no second write-off in 1985″, the magazine noted. “There might have been an incident, but the…

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