(Wikipedia) - The Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) was a branch of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces and was established by Reza Shah, the Shah of Iran, in 1920. It became operational with its first fully trained pilots on February 25, 1925.
Iran's first attempt to procure aircraft from the United States in the 1920s failed due to Washington's refusal to supply equipment because of a World War I treaty. Until World War II, the IIAF's aircraft inventory consisted entirely of European (mainly British and German) aircraft. However, following a coordinated British and Soviet invasion of Iran during World War II in retaliation for Reza Shah's declaration of neutrality, the IIAF's bases were occupied by the allies and all existing IIAF aircraft were either destroyed or dismantled by the invading British.
After World War II, the IIAF began to slowly rebuild its inventory, with mainly American and British supplied aircraft. In the 1960s, the IIAF acquired 90 Canadair Sabre fighters from the RCAF, but they were flipped over to the Pakistan Air Force.
Later, in the 1970s, the IIAF became the only military force other than the United States Navy, to be equipped with the F-14 Tomcat. Although after the 1979 Iranian revolution, some of these planes were not in working order due to a lack of necessary spare parts, because of an American arms embargo and damage sustained on the aircraft during the Iraqi invasion (Iran–Iraq War). Some were brought back in to service, thanks to localized production of reverse-engineered, Iranian-made, spare parts.
Due to the continuous spare parts shortages faced by the air force, a decision was made in the late 1980s to develop a local aerospace industry to support the air force.
In 2002, with the co-operation of Ukraine, Iran successfully started manufacturing Iran-140; a license-built version of the Antonov An-140 transport aircraft. Simultaneously, Iran began construction of two 100% domestically produced fighters, upgraded using technology from the F-14 Tomcat and the F-5 Tiger II. The fighters have been named the Azarakhsh and the Shafaq.
Since then Iran has also become self-sufficient in the manufacturing helicopters.
Iran has also developed significant air defence capabilities which have proved to be a deterrent element against hostile states. Capture of an American spy drone in mint condition on December, 4, 2011 by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran was such a disgrace for the US that they kept denying the incident for a long time.