Operation Sultan 10

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Operation Sultan 10
Part of Iran-Iraq War
Iraq map.png
Date 29 October 1980
Location Northern Iraq
Result Limited Iranian victory
Iranian Air Force
IQAF Symbol.svg Iraqi Air Force
6 F-4 Phantoms fighters
2 F-14 Tomcat fighters
3 airtankers
4 MiG-23 fighters
Casualties and losses
None 4 MiG-23 fighters
2 MiG-21 fighters (on ground)
3 Mil Mi-8 helicopters (on ground)
1 pilot captured

Operation Sultan 10 (Persian: عملیات سلطان ١٠‎) was an operation of the Iranian Air Force on 29 October 1980, the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. In this operation six F-4E Phantom IIs from IRIAF's 32 and 33 Squadrons took part in an attack on the Al-Hurriah airbase near Mosul in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.


in the last days of October 1980,commanders of First Military air base of Iran in Tehran received intelligence that French engineers had been sent to Iraq and numbers of Mirage F1s which the Iraqi Air Force had bought from France hold at Al-Hurriah airbase near Mosul. This personnel of French Air Force was appointed to train Iraqi pilots and technicians to use Mirage F1s.


The operation was called Sultan-10, meaning only 10 fighters supposed to cross the borders(Sultan 1 to 10). The target was 180 miles inside Iraq at Mosul. 8 Phantom (2 as reserve), 3 Tomcat (1 as reserve) and 3 Boeing 707 tankers (1 as reserve) planned to operation. Both Tomcat fighters should have been beside tankers to protect them, because loss of tankers would cost loss of all 4 Phantoms. If operational team crossed the Iran's border right to the Mosul they would engage to Air Defence bases which supplied with SAM-2, SAM-3, and SAM-6. Commanders ordered to doing it in radio silence and start the operation before dawn. just before get into Iraq borders they refueled and used Turkey sky to enter Iraq. Tankers and Tomcats stayed in low altitude and waited for Phantoms return. During protecting tankers one of Tomcats radars was always off to reduce recognition Possibilities by Iraq.

Meanwhile attack team bombed Mosul and was on their way to Iran. because of using max capacity of air-to-surface missiles, None of Phantoms had Air-to-air missile.

By advantage of AN/AWG-9, Tomcats noticed that 4 fighters are heading toward Phantoms at 40 miles. As far as Phantoms didn't have any missile to protect themselves, Sultan-7 (captain sedqi) and Sultan-8 (captain Tayebi) was ordered to protect them. They headed toward them and raised their altitude to 15000 ft. But they didn't noticed the existence of tomcats. so they raised to 20000 ft and again to 22000 ft.[1]

Sultan-7 missiles: 2 AIM-54, 2 AIM-9, 3 AIM-7

Sultan-8 missiles: 2 AIM-9, 6 AIM-7

At 45 miles to those 4 fighters tomcats recognized there as 4 Mig-23. Sultan-7 ordered both tomcat to turn there ECCM on. But after a while his own system got spoiled and sultan-8 ECCM most have covered both aircraft. at 20 mile from four Mig-23, captain sedqi said to his co-pilot to prepare two AIM-54 Phoenix. The first missile launched, followed 8 seconds later by the second. The first missile destroyed aircraft at the same time of hit. The second one seemed to not hit it, but co-pilot said it paralyzed the plane and Sultan-8 Confirmed it along this report that warhead exploded earlier or later that it's supposed to. Iraqi fighters now noticed the danger and reduced their altitude which Iranian pilots said that it was the same mistake that made their work easier. in only 7 mile to 2 Mig-23, it supposed to Sultan-7 and 8 launch their missiles together but it revealed the csd system of Sultan-8 is not working which without csd he couldn't use its missiles and only could use the M61 Vulcan. Captain Sedqi(sultan-7) told Sultan-8 that stay side the Sultan-9 and Sultan-10 and wait until he back. Sedqi turned the Afterburner on and the two Mig-23 split up which leader went to right and the follower went to left. Sedqi chased the leader and released first AIM-7 which hit the tail and seconds later a wing detached and it leaped toward the ground. suddenly co-pilot said "there is a Mig-23 behind us". Sedqi shut the Afterburner off and reduced the speed to 150 miles and took the nose cone down, toward the Mig-23 that was passing through his bottom and shot the second AIM-7 which hit the tail and Mig-23 went down, but it's pilot ejected and was the only pilot who survived. one of killed pilots was Ahmad Sabah, who took down 2 Northrop F-5 of IRAF in early days of war.[2]