|The crew of the doomed F-4|
According to eye witness accounts, an Iranian 'F-4E Phantom II' of the 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron crashed on Bushehr air base's runway 31L this past Monday, 23 Sept. The cause of the accident according to my sources is mentioned as "a violent tire burst" that forced the aircraft off the runway. As a result, the crew attempted to eject which resulted in the unfortunate death of the F-4 pilot Major Rezaee and injuring WSO Capt. Salimi (shown in the above photo).
Bushehr is home to two squadrons of F-4E Phantom IIs, and one permanent detachment of F-14A Tomcats originally out of the 8th Isfahan Tactical Air Base. Bushehr is also the same base where the drone harassing F-4E had flown from, which was later intercepted by a USAF F-22 Raptor.
This is the second such incident at this very same air base. Back in January 2012, an F-14A crashed at night immediately after take-off killing the pilot and RIO. Needless to say, the port city of Bushehr is also home to the Iranian regime's sole nuclear power reactor built by the Russians.
The 'Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force' was the second largest operator of the F-4 and RF-4E Phantoms after Germany. The service has managed to keep the US built type fly-worthy by obtaining spare parts from the global black markets, or through indigenous aircraft industries. It is said to have around 65 flyable F-4E Phantom II aircraft mainly based at 3rd Hamedan, 6th Bushehr and 9th Bandar Abbas tactical fighter bases, with a few aging F-4D aircraft based in Chahbahar 10th AB.
|Some of the 61st TFS pilots|
This deadly incident did not receive any media coverage inside of Iran as it coincided with the regime's "Sacred Defense Week" festivities commemorating the beginning of the 8 year long Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s.
Reporting for The Aviationist.