Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Courtesy of Ken Parry
Courtesy of Ken Parry

Time Frame: Iran and RAF Sharjah join forces

Taken in November 1970, this photo shows two Hawker Hunters taking off from RAF Sharjah to make a simulated ground strike on southern Iran during a Centro training mission.

The drama of this image is not just of two high performance fighter aircraft taking off in the desert, but also of the major political changes that were on the way.

Taken in November 1970, it shows two Hawker Hunters from No 8 Squadron departing RAF Sharjah in a manoeuvre known as "hi-lo" in which four aircraft take off almost simultaneously, the leading pair gaining altitude rapidly, with the two at the rear hugging the ground while building up speed.

The aircraft were taking part in Exercise Midlink, a training operation organised by the Central Treaty Organisation (Cento), a military pact modelled on Nato and created in 1955 by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

After heading out into the Gulf, the RAF Hunters were to make a simulated ground strike on southern Iran, where they would be met by defending Northrop F-5 fighters of the Imperial Iranian Airforce.

Any attempt to penetrate Iranian air space by outside aircraft these days would carry a serious risk of starting a conflict that could engulf the region and beyond. By the end of the 1970s, the shah of Iran had fled into exile, and the IIAF renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. Cento was dissolved the same year. For RAF Sharjah, the end came even sooner, with the creation of the UAE in December 1971 coinciding with the withdrawal of British forces from the country.

The photograph was taken by Ken Parry, a flight commander at RAF Sharjah and comes courtesy of radfanhunters.co.uk

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

On our sixth birthday, today’s news told visually

Today in print, we are doing something different: we use only photos, graphics, illustrations and headlines to capture the news in a one-off collector’s edition.

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 Children walk past an Indian voter awareness mural in Mumbai ahead of the sixth phase of India’s national elections. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Inside India: Election, Promoting the Vote

A view of news and daily life on the Indian subcontinent for the week of April 10, 2014.

 INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16:  A general view of Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Map of seperatist movements around the world

The conflict in Ukraine is a classic example of competing aspirations and identities – here’s a look at seperatist movements around the world.

 Hassan Abdullah, who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud, an Emirati fisherman, poses for a portrait at the Al Rughayalat Port. Abu Mahmoud was born and raised in Fujairah city and has been working as a fisherman since 1968. “I’m a shark man”, he says, “I was born in the sea.” Silvia Razgova / The National

In pictures: Fishing communities in the Northern Emirates

Fishermen in Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain worry that new regulations to protect fish stocks are harming their trade. We look at both communities through the lens of our photographers.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National