Procurement: Keeping the F-14 Parts From Iran


February1, 2007: The U.S. Department of Defense has halted the sale of surplus F-14 aircraft parts. The F-14 was withdrawn from service last year, and, as normally happens, the navy began to sell off the unneeded parts. That's a lot of parts, some of them useful for other aircraft, but much of it only good for recycling. It was quickly discovered that some of the parts had found their way to Iran, where a few F14s, which Iran acquired in the 1970s (before the shah was overthrown and the clergy took over), are being kept barely operational. Iran can make about 20 percent of the parts for the F-14, but many custom components can only be obtained from the United States. Oops. The navy will now sort through all those surplus F-14 parts, release the ones not unique to the F-14, and destroy the unique ones by melting, shredding or crushing them. About 13 percent of the 76,000 parts that comprise an F-14, are unique to the F-14, and in demand by Iran. Although companies buying surplus parts, sign an agreement not to export certain ones, if the money is good enough, some parts will get smuggled out of the United States anyway. That's already happened once, and the Pentagon is determined not to let it happen again. At least as far as the F-14 is concerned.


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