The Iranian Air Force is allegedly trying to develop a similar heavyweight interceptor based on the technology of the F-14 Tomcat. If the attempt is successful, it will be the second one developed from the twin-engine naval fighter.
The decision to remake the obsolete 4th generation fighter was headed by the Deputy Commander of the Iranian Air Force, Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi. One of the goals is a second indigenous Iranian fighter in its ranks, infused with the old Tomcat components in a modernized version, reported Fighter jets World.
One example is the Kowsar lightweight fighter program, made from the American F-5E Tiger II third-generation lightweight platform. Before the trade embargo, which Iran bought in large numbers, comparable to a fourth-generation aircraft had better equipment installed on it.
In 2018, the Kowsar program made possible an updated version of the F-5E that is produced today.
It is no surprise that the Tomcat and the F-4E are the templates for the ambitious heavy fighter category of the next IAF to be in development. The IAF needs fighters that can blunt the F-15 and F-15, F-35, F-22 that are the most used fighter of the United States Air Force.
Despite its age, the Tomcat is the only heavy fighter the IAF has in its inventory; it is similar to the 4th generation F-15 and F-15, which are still used with military units other than the USAF. The F-14 Tomcat is made for air-to-air combat with excellent beyond visual range (BVR) attack capabilities.
Iran's defense industry has established a sophisticated manufacturing base for servicing the F-14. The aircraft has undergone over 300 upgrades, including the overhaul of its radar, avionics, and electronic warfare systems and the installation of new longer-range air-to-air missiles.
The US pushes for an arms embargo against the nation, stopping it from buying heavyweight jets from abroad, making a plane domestically is a more cost-effective alternative than spending more. Iran designed and developed the long-range air to air, Fakour 90, carried by the F-14, one of the few in service today.
A Tomcat heavy fighter prototype is one platform that can arm the Fakour 90; such a large missile will need the power of a Tomcat 2.0, roughly the same specs as the original.
Even though the Tomcat is an obsolete fighter, an indigenous jet made from it should be more advanced into the 4++ gen, China, and North Korea to develop it further.
One more speculation is the new plane will be derived from Soviet MiG-29A, which is its latest combat aircraft in service. What will be called heavyweight jet might be different from the international criterion, closer to the Kowsar.
Iran's only medium fighter with air-to-air fighting capabilities is the MiG-29A, joined by the F-4E. If Iran's "heavyweight boxer" turns out to be a medium-weight fighter, it will be a lighter alternative to heavyweight fighters imported from other countries.
According to reports, the country has expressed a desire to buy Russian Su-30SM or Su-57 fighter jets. Developing a candidate from F-14 Tomcat will be the cheaper alternative than purchasing Su-30SM or Su-57 fighter jets.