Originally Posted by M44
I wouldn't exactly call the MIG-29 and MIG 31 outdated. The MIG 29 is just as lethal, and even more maneuverable than the F-16. The SU-27 is used on Russian Carriers, perhaps Iran is thinking of (or already) building a carrier? The SU-25 is a fighter bomber not unlike, but quite inferior to the US A-10 Warthog. The F-14 may be obsolete to us, but they are able to hold their own against similarly dated MIGS, Mirages, and Sukhois, which make up the bulk of many Middle Eastern air forces. Israel uses F-14s and I believe F-4s.
I think the "outdated" reference was to the F-4E, which has absolutely seen its best days long, long ago (still my favourite jet fighter, though). The MiG 29's are absolutely lethal and completely on par with anything the US has in forward service presently. While it is true that the SU-27 is used by the Russian Navy, it was primarily designed to be a fighter-bomber, with slightly more emphasis on strike capability. The MiG 31 is a high-altitude interceptor, basically an updated MiG-25. Not the sort of aircraft you put up against fighters, more against strategic bombers. Much as the F-18, it has the ability to change roles in mid-stream.
As far as the F-14's are concerned, the A model may be obsolete compared to the D currently in US Navy service, but I wouldn't want to go up against one, regardless of what I'm flying. The AWG-9 weapons system is still one of the most lethal in the world, especially when paired with the AIM 54 Phoenix. The problem Iran has is that all of its original 70-some odd F-14s were delivered between 1977-79. There have been no technical assistance or spare parts delivered since the revolution. It would be a miracle if Iran had a squadron strength available, and if they did, they'd hide them as they would be too valuable. It would be easy for them to get spare parts for virtually any other US-made fighter because F-16s, F-15s, F-18s and F-4s were sold all over the world in huge numbers. I would imagine they could find nearly anything on the black market. The F-14, however, was only delivered to one foreign country, being Iran.
The truth is the US wouldn't engage Iran air-to-air if it ever became necessary. They'd send in B2s in the middle of the night with bunker busting bombs and destroy the air force on the ground. Why bother assuming risk when you don't have to?
FYI Israel flies F-15s, F-16s and an Israeli-made Mirage knockoff called the "Kfir" in forward service presently. I would be stunned if they had F-4s anywhere but in a museum.