The Tehran, Iran/F-4 Incident
September 19, 11976


F-4 Phantom

THE DIA REPORT

The following is from a 3-page message, released on August 31, 1977, via the Defense Intelligence Agency: 

This report forwards information concerning the sighting of a UFO in Iran on 19 September 1976. 

A. At about 1230 A.M. on 19 Sep.76 the (deleted) received four telephone calls from citizens living in the Shemiran area of Tehran saying that they had seen strange objects in the sky. Some reported a kind of bird-like object while others reported a helicopter with a light on. There were no helicopters airborne at that time. 

After he told the citizens it was only stars and had talked to Mehrabad Tower, he decided to look for himself. He noticed an object in the sky similar to a star bigger and brighter. He decided to scramble an F-4 from Shahrokhi AFB to investigate. 

B. At 0130 hrs on the 19th the F-4 took off and proceeded to a point about 40 NM north of Tehran. Due to its brilliance, the object was easily visible from 70 miles away. As the F-4 approached a range of 25 NM, he lost all instrumentation and communications (UHF and intercom). He broke off the intercept and headed back to Shahrokhi. When the F-4 turned away from the object and apparently was no longer a threat to it, the aircraft regained all instrumentation and communications. At 0140 hrs a second F-4 was launched. The backseater acquired a radar lock on at 27 NM 12 o'clock high position with the VC (rate of closure) at 150 NMPH. As the range decreased to 25 NM the object moved away at a speed that was visible on the radar scope and stayed at 25 NM. 

C. The size of the radar return was comparable to that of a 707 tanker. The visual size of the object was difficult to discern because of its intense brilliance. The light that it gave off was that of flashing strobe lights arranged in a rectangular pattern and alternating blue, green, red, and orange in color. The sequence of the lights was so fast that all the colors could be seen at once. The object and the pursuing F-4 continued on a course to the south of Tehran when another brightly lighted object, estimated to be one-half to one-third the apparent size of the moon, came out of the original object. This second object headed straight toward the F-4 at a very fast rate of speed. The pilot attempted to fire an AIM-9 missile at the object but at that instant his weapons control panel went off and he lost all communications (UHF and interphone). At this point the pilot initiated a turn and negative G dive to get away. As he turned the object fell in trail at what appeared to be about 3-4 NM. As he continued in his turn away from the primary object the second object went to the inside of his turn then returned to the primary object for a perfect rejoin. 

D. Shortly after the second object joined up with the primary object another object appeared to come out of the other side of the primary object going straight down at a great rate of speed. The F-4 crew had regained communications and the weapons control panel and watched the object approach the ground anticipating a large explosion. This object appeared to come to rest gently on the earth and cast a very bright light over an area of about 2-3 kilometers. The crew descended from their altitude of 25,000 to 15,000 and continued to observe and mark the object's position. They had some difficulty in adjusting their night visibility for landing, so after orbiting Mehrabad a few times they went out for a straight in landing. There was a lot of interference on the UHF and each time they passed through a mag. bearing of 150 degrees from Mehrabad they lost their communications (UHF and interphone) and the INS fluctuated from 30 degrees to 50 degrees. The one civil airliner that was approaching Mehrabad during this same time experienced communications failure in the same vicinity (Kilo Zulu) but did not report seeing anything. While the F-4 was on a long final approach the crew noticed another cylinder-shaped object (about the size of a T-bird at 10 NM) with bright steady lights on each end and a flasher in the middle. When queried the tower stated there was no other known traffic in the area. During the time that the object passed over the F-4 the tower did not have a visual on it but picked it up after the pilot told them to look between the mountains and the refinery. 

E. During daylight the F-4 crew was taken out to the area in a helicopter where the object apparently had landed. Nothing was noticed at the spot where they thought the object landed (a dry lake bed) but as they circled off to the west of the area they picked up a very noticeable beeper signal. At the point where the return was the loudest was a small house with a garden. They landed and asked the people within if they had noticed anything strange last night. The people talked about a loud noise and a very bright light like lightning. The aircraft and area where the object is believed to have landed are being checked for possible radiation. 

More information will be forwarded when it becomes available. 

Equally as fascinating as the report itself was a form attached to the basic information given in the message. Titled, "Defense Information Report Evaluation," it was an assessment of the quality of the Iran sighting details as determined by the Defense Intelligence Agency, a military version of the CIA which deals with foreign military intelligence. The form indicated in checked boxes that the reliability of information was "Confirmed by other sources," that the value of information was "High (Unique, Timely, and of Major Significance)," and that the utility of information was "Potentially Useful." The form added in the "Remarks" section: 

An outstanding report. This case is a classic which meets all the criteria necessary for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon: 

a) The object was seen by multiple witnesses from different locations (i.e., Shamiran, Mehrabad, and the dry lake bed) and viewpoints (both airborne and from the ground). 

b) The credibility of many of the witnesses was high (an Air Force general, qualified aircrews, and experienced tower operators). 

c) Visual sightings were confirmed by radar. 

d) Similar electromagnetic effects (EME) were reported by three separate aircraft. 

e) There were physiological effects on some crew members (i.e., loss of night vision due to the brightness of the object). 

f) An inordinate amount of maneuverability was displayed by the UFOs. 

Judging from the comments by the DIA, the Iranian UFO chase was undoubtedly one of the premier UFO encounters in the history of the subject. A highly advanced vehicle, performing well beyond our present-day capabilities, created fits for the American-equipped Iranian Air Force. That the blackouts of the missile firing control panel, just before the pilot was about to launch his air-to-air missile, could be attributed to a mechanical fault seems beyond what sheer odds would allow. That an instrumentation blackout should occur on two separate F-4 aircraft as they were chasing a UFO is even more unlikely. The incidents described are such that to merely dismiss the report as unsupportive of UFO reality, which we anticipate will happen from some quarters, borders on the absurd. 

Unfortunately, as in many other sightings we've discussed, while it has been stated in the Iranian message that "more information will be forwarded when it becomes available," such information has not been made available to the public. Reliable sources within the government have told us that the Iranian case file was about one and a half inches thick, yet absolutely no admission to having this file has come from any government agency with a possible connection to the case. 

Source: Clear Intent, 82-85, Barry Greenwood and Lawrence Fawcett

(This web page created for the NICAP site by Francis Ridge)


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