Along with the US-origin F-4, F-5, and F-14 fighters, 24 Mirage F1s are still the backbone of the Iranian Air Force.
In the payroll of the Iranian Air Force, there are nearly 200 fighters of all kinds originating from the US and the West. It is interesting that a country embargoed for more than 40 years has access to modern Western weapons. Iran is operating a squadron of 24 Mirage F1 fighter jets. During the first Gulf War, Iran gained access to a small number of Iraqi Dassault Mirage F-1 warplanes. The aircraft were moved to Iran from fear of destruction in dogfights with more modern Western planes. Rather than returning them, Iran seized the aircraft as part of compensation for its 1980-88 war with Iraq.
During the 1980s, France was a major supplier of military equipment to Iraq. Between April 1981 and June 1988, France delivered a total of 86 single-seat Mirage F.1EQs of four different variants and 15 two-seat Mirage F.1BQs to the Iraqi Air Force. The four units operating them had flown a lower number of combat sorties against Iran than those operating MiG-21s or Su-22s, but their mounts proved far more versatile, while offering excellent flight performance, superior precision in navigation and weapons delivery, and load-carrying and self-defence capabilities. Their excellently trained pilots performed most of their tasks superbly, and there is little doubt that the type eventually outperformed all the other combat aircraft in the Iraqi arsenal.
During the Iran–Iraq War, Iraq’s Mirage F1EQs were used intensively for interception, ground attack and anti-shipping missions. The Mirage F1EQ allowed for Iraqi strikes to be conducted over a greater combat radius into Iran than had been previously possible. In November 1981, an Iraqi Mirage F1 accounted for the first Iranian F-14 Tomcat to be shot down, followed by several more in the following months, giving the previously timid Iraqi Air Force new confidence in air-to-air combat engagements with the Iranians.
When the Gulf War broke out, 24 Mirage F-1BQs and F-1EQs escaped to Iran, and have since become the property of the Iranian Air Force. It is not clear exactly how many of these fighters are operational. From the very beginning, Iran has had many problems in operating them. As the plane radars are designed for French and American air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, Iran had for years serious problems with supplies, installation of radar, available missile synchronization and pilot training. However, it has been able to operate the F1 aircraft using domestically made missiles and making some alterations to the radar as well as the low-altitude navigation and infrared targeting systems.
Iran’s Mirage F1 has undergone many upgrades with domestic systems. Iran claims the Mirage can carry a variety of weapons, including cruise missiles with a range of up to 300 km. These French-made fighters can be deployed for a variety of aerial missions. It can also be used in logistical support for ground operations. Along with the US-origin F-4, F-5, and F-14 fighters, 24 Mirage F1s are still the backbone of the Iranian Air Force.
Real footage of Two IQAF(Iraq Air Force) Mirage F1 attacked the Power Station – Iran-Iraq War