Operation Kaman 99

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Operation Kaman 99
Part of Iran–Iraq WarIraqi invasion of Iran
Operation Kaman 99 is located in Iraq
Operation Kaman 99
Operation Kaman 99
Operation Kaman 99
Umm Qasr
Umm Qasr
Baghdad Airport
Baghdad Airport
Operation Kaman 99
Locations in Iraq
Date23 September 1980
Result Iranian victory
 Iran  Iraq
Commanders and leaders
Iran Abulhassan Banisadr
Iran Col. Javad Fakoori
Iraq unknown
Units involved
Roundel of Iran.svg IRIAF Roundel of Iraq.svg IrAF

140 aircraft:[1]

380+ air force personnel[1]
166-192 aircraft
Casualties and losses
67 aircraft shot down or 14% of its air force lost (Iraqi claim)[2]

11 airbases and other infrastructures were bombed
17% of its air force lost by early October (Iraqi claim)[3]

Aerial efficiency was reduced by 55% (Iranian claim)[citation needed]

Operation Alborz (Persian: عملیات البرز‎),[4] more commonly known by the code-name Operation Kaman 99 (عملیات کمان 99),[5] was an operation launched by the Iranian Air Force in retaliation to Iraqi surprise aerial attacks on Iran the day before which marked the beginning of the 8-year-long Iran–Iraq War.

140 to 148 Iranian fighter-bombers, plus 60 interceptors and tankers were involved in this operation, and at least 380 air force personnel were involved in this operation, making this the most large-scale operation conducted by the Iranian Air Force.[1]

Kirkuk, Al-Rasheed, Nasiriya, Habbaniyah (including Tammuz), Shaiba, Kut, and Umm Qasr airbases, as well as Baghdad International Airport and Al-Muthanna Airport were bombed during the operation.[4][1]


On 22 and 23 September 1980, Iraq launched surprise air strikes on strategic locations in Iran employing a total of 166 to 192 fighter and bomber aircraft for a total of 250 sorties.

At 1:45 pm local time, 6 Iraqi MiG-23 Floggers bombed an Iranian Air Base near Ahvaz.

Half an hour later, Iraqi MiG-23s attacked Mehrabad Airport in Tehran. At the same time the Iraqis also bombed 8 other major Air Bases in Iran.

Radio Baghdad asks Iranian pilots to defect to Iraq in a message after this operation.[1]

However, having learned from the Six-Day War, Iran had built hardened aircraft shelters where most of its combat aircraft were stored, thus the Iraqis succeeded mainly in cratering Iranian runways (which were quickly repaired), without causing any significant damage to Iran's Air Force. Now the Iranian Air Force started preparing for a counter-attack which was to be launched the next day.

Two hours after this Iraqi attack, the Iranian air force conducted Operation Entegham (عملیات انتقام, "Revenge"), bombing Shaiba, Umm Qasr and Kut Air Bases in Iraq.[6]

The battle

23 September 1980, Iran launched Operation Kaman 99 as 40 F-4 Phantoms, armed with Mark 82, Mark 83 and Mark 84 bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles, took off from Hamadan Air Base. After refueling in mid-air the Phantoms reached the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where[verification needed] they attacked al-Rasheed, Habbaniyah and Kut airbases. Meanwhile, eight more F-4s took off from Tehran's Mehrabad and launched a second attack on the al-Rasheed Air Base.

Iran launched 58 F-5E Tiger IIs from Tabriz Air Base, which were sent to attack Mosul Air Base. After the attack on Mosul Air Base, 50 F-5Es attacked Nasiriya Air Base, which was heavily damaged.

As all 148 Iranian F-4s and F-5s had been sent for a bombing raid on Iraq, 60 F-14 Tomcats were scrambled to defend Iranian airspace against a possible Iraqi retaliation. Iranian F-14s managed to down 2 Iraqi MiG-21s (1 MiG-21RF and 1 MiG-21MF) and 3 Iraqi MiG-23s (MiG-23MS), an Iranian F-5E also shot down an Iraqi Su-20 during the operation.

Timeline of the air raids are as follows:[4][7]


Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi military were dealt a heavy blow when Iranian Air Force vulnerabilities failed to materialize. All Iraqi Air Bases near Iran were out of order for months and, according to Iran, Iraq's aerial efficiency was reduced by 55%[citation needed]. This allowed Iranians to regroup and prepare for the upcoming Iraqi invasion. However, Iraqis would advance deep into Khuzestan and it would take the Iranians up to 2 years before they would finally expel the Iraqis from their territory and eventually enter Iraq. The War endured another 6 years, becoming the longest conventional war of the 20th century in which perhaps close to one million were maimed and killed.

In popular culture

  • Iranian book "140+8 Aircraft" (Persian: 8+140 فروندی‎), written by Brigadier General Ahmad Mehrnia[8]
  • Marjane Satrapi mentions the battle in a chapter of her autobiographical graphic novel Persepolis, where the father of her former classmate Pardisse Entezami was killed in action.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ The role of airpower in the Iran-Iraq War. ISBN 9781428993303.
  3. ^ The role of airpower in the Iran-Iraq War. ISBN 9781428993303.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ "Kaman" (کمان, meaning "bow"), is a reference to the legendary figure Arash the Archer, and 99 is a reference to the 99 pages of the plan of the operation. See [1]
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

  • Tafażżolī, Ahmed, "Āraš i", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 2, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 266–267, archived from the original on 28 June 2009.

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