This is coolbert:
From a recent StrategyPage article:
"Iranian F-4s Are Shy And Retiring"
"March 19, 2013: On March 12th an Iranian F-4 jet flew towards an American MQ-1 Predator patrolling the Iranian Gulf coast. The MQ-1 was in international waters (more than 22 kilometers from the Iranian coast) and it was feared that the Iranians were going to try and shoot it down . . .. Last November an Iranian F-4 fired two missiles at an MQ-1 in a similar situation, but both missiles missed"
"Iran bought 225 F-4 Phantom jets in the 1970s, and several dozen are still operational. Spare parts are obtained via a smuggling network, with some of the less complex parts manufactured inside Iran."
ONLY the other day an Iranian F-4 Phantom heavy fighter attempting to engage and destroy an American UAV. NOT the first time this has happened.
That F-4 Phantom originally designed in the 1950's, still going strong! A "workhorse" during the Vietnam War, widely used world-wide by a variety of nations for many decades, and remaining a combat aircraft NOT to be trifled with. About 5 % of the 5,000 or so Phantom as manufactured still in service!
American F-4 in the SEAD [Suppression Enemy Air Defense] mission leading the way during the First Gulf War .
Spare parts for the variations of the Phantom I would assume difficult to obtain - - and those models in existence presenting a maintenance problem! From an acknowledged aviation authority we have this comment:
"Still a good weapons platform! And with the advanced avionics available today, it can be upgraded to current standards for weapons."
"However the downside is that each F4 is unique, a near hand-built airplane with wiring, components and parts unlike any other F4, making them a maintenance nightmare when it comes to commonality of parts, blueprints, etc. . . . They were made in 'blocks' of 20, 30, or 50 planes, with each block incorporating different changes to avionics or design, and then each plane within the block receiving add-ons or changes as it progressed through the manufacturing process . . . Maintenance guys . . . never knew what they were going to see the first time they lifted the side panels off an F4"
As it was for an American air force maintenance man during the 1960's so it is now for an Iranian almost fifty years later? That situation for the latter even more dire, spare parts not obtainable through normal channels, and those "blocks" of F-4 presenting in some cases presenting a difficulty beyond amelioration I might think!