Theodore's World: Pentagon Stops F-14 Parts Sales Amid Iran Concerns

« Troops Respond To Criticism Of The War | Main | Laser Technology Ray-Gun For Military In The Works »

January 31, 2007

Pentagon Stops F-14 Parts Sales Amid Iran Concerns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday said it had stopped selling surplus parts for the F-14 fighter jet, saying it was the "right thing to do," given congressional concerns that some parts could land in the hands of Iran.

Iran, which is facing strong Western opposition to its nuclear program, is the only country still flying the F-14, also called the Tomcat, since the U.S. military retired the plane in July.

The Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency said it halted sales of certain sensitive F-14 parts in February 2006, but the ban now covered all F-14 parts until the government completed a comprehensive review of what to do with them.

"It was the right thing to do," said Dawn Dearden, spokeswoman for the Pentagon agency, citing what she called "the situation in Iran." The West accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies, saying it only wants to make electricity.

The Pentagon's move took effect on Friday, and came after congressional criticism of security weaknesses that gave buyers for Iran access to the aircraft parts. The agency did not disclose details of those incidents. It formerly held liquidation sales of surplus parts.

The earlier halt in sales affected what the agency called "unique" F-14 parts and those "deemed critical to F-14 operations" that could be used for other aircraft.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and member of the Senate intelligence committee, has written legislation to eliminate all Pentagon sales of F-14 parts saying weaknesses in security allowed buyers for countries including Iran and China to obtain sensitive military equipment, including F-14 parts.

The bill would also ban previous buyers who already had surplus F-14 parts from exporting them to third parties.

Wild Thing's comment.......

About time and how could they have let it occurr in the first place?

Posted by Wild Thing at January 31, 2007 12:47 AM


With the F-14's in the Boneyard,somebody better keep an eye on those people working there. When you can get a couple thousand for a small part that takes minutes to remove from an aircraft, it would tempt many people. A black box, valve, or other part removed from an aircraft may never be discovered till years later, if at all. The F-14 is still one of the worlds most formidable fighter aircraft. Iran has F-14's, money, and will pay whatever is necessary to procure spare parts.

Posted by: BobF at January 31, 2007 09:14 AM

Wouldn't it make more sense to sell Iran defective spare parts for the F-14. Say, something that forces the "Wing Off" light to come on? Or maybe rewire the eject mechanisms to engage when the airplane is set to cruise control?

Posted by: Billy at January 31, 2007 10:20 AM

Billy has the solution.

Posted by: TomR at January 31, 2007 11:33 AM

It's about time, and from a lefty like Wyden no less. BobF has a point about watching the boneyards and who works there, the airlines can't hire them all as screeners.

Billy has a great solution, anyone who has flown can look out at the flap controls with them extended and see a little blue electrohydraulic servo, Abex or Moog, one of many on an aircraft, they are rugged and dependable but delicate internally, when they fail it gets ugly real fast, just a few of these that are 'marginal' need get installed and the old term 'Thud Pilots' will have a new meaning.

Hmmm, ejection inside a hanger, saw that once, no need for pilot retraining, I like the concept and it matches their rules of engagement by blowing themselves up. Inchallah!!!!

Posted by: Jack at January 31, 2007 12:17 PM

As a follow up to Billys post, re-program the IFF computer so the planes will shoot each other down.

Posted by: Mark at January 31, 2007 12:59 PM

Billy had a good idea but their is one problem with it. Back in the 1970's, we trained Iranian technicians in aircraft maintenance. In 1979 I attended advanced aircraft electronics training with two Iranian NCO's. These individuals were sharp and would be able to detect and repair any defective parts. The fact that they were able to keep some of the F-14's flying all these years is a testament to the superb training given these people. Also, that's why our Air Force has no equal.

Posted by: BobF at January 31, 2007 07:49 PM

Bob they do have the money your right. I think they will still get stuff blackmarket or something anyway, somehow, someway.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 1, 2007 01:29 AM

Billy I like that idea, good one.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 1, 2007 01:31 AM

Bob, waaa I forgot about that.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 1, 2007 01:36 AM

Rest assured that the Pentagon has not been selling F-14 parts directly to Iran, not for a loooooong time. What has been happening is that they have been selling off F-14 parts in stock in surplus sales. It's the same sort of thing that happens among branches of the service all the time, where they have surplus auctions to sell off obsolete equipment. I've been to a number of them myself.

There are always restrictions on where and to whom critical munitions parts can be sold. Evidently, what has happened is that the Pentagon has discovered that F-14 parts sold as surplus are reaching Iran through a third country, possibly an allied country where Iran has managed to set up a front operation. Since the exact route is probably difficult to trace, they solved the problem by just taking all of the F-14 parts out of surplus status.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at February 2, 2007 11:10 AM

The F-14 parts are not nearly as critical as the nuclear materiel that Halliburton has been selling Iran for years. They reportedly stopped selling in July of 2006.
see global
. . . [During a trip to the Middle East in March 1996, Vice President Dick Cheney told a group of mostly U.S. businessmen that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships, a statement that, in hindsight, is completely hypocritical considering the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

“Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well,” Cheney said. “I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes . . . There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what’s best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like.”

Cheney was the chief executive of Halliburton Corporation at the time he uttered those words. It was Cheney who directed Halliburton toward aggressive business dealings with Iran—in violation of U.S. law—in the mid-1990s, which continued through 2005 and is the reason Iran has the capability to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
It was Halliburton’s secret sale of centrifuges to Iran that helped get the uranium enrichment program off the ground, according to a three-year investigation that includes interviews conducted with more than a dozen current and former Halliburton employees.

If the U.S. ends up engaged in a war with Iran in the future, Cheney and Halliburton will bear the brunt of the blame.] . . .

Posted by: Marta at February 3, 2007 09:53 PM