September 19, 1976: The Tehran UFO Incident – 2 Iranian F-4 Phantoms IIs Outsmarted by UFO

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

A Brief History

On September 19, 1976, 2 F-4 Phantom IIs of the Imperial Iranian Air Force flew out to intercept a UFO over the capital city of Tehran.  As each fighter jet approached the UFO, navigation, weapons, communications and other avionics systems suddenly became inoperable.  Only after the F-4s distanced themselves from the UFO, did the pilots regain control.

Digging Deeper

The Iranian Air Force had received numerous reports of an object in the sky that appeared brighter and larger than a star, and commanders ordered that the object be intercepted.

The first jet got within 25 miles of the object before it experienced the odd electronic failures and was forced to turn away.  A short while later, the second jet approached and at 27-miles range, managed to get a radar lock on the target.  The object had the radar signature of a 707 jetliner, but with its brilliant and many smaller colored lights, it was clearly not a jetliner.  The crew of the second F-4 then noticed how a smaller object seemed to detach itself from the larger object and chase them.  When the second F-4 attempted to engage with its radar-guided missiles, it too experienced electronics systems failures, and the crew feared for their lives.

Then a second smaller object also detached itself from the main UFO and fell to earth.  The spot the second ejected object landed was later identified as a dry bed lake, but no trace of it on the ground was found. 

A third smaller object also coming from the main UFO then flew over the air base control tower, at which time the control tower’s equipment also failed, as did the electronics on an airliner that happened to be flying within a couple dozen miles of the object.

The two fighter pilots and their crews as well as the Iranian defense authorities were convinced the UFO and the smaller objects, which they called “fireballs,” were extraterrestrial. 

Of course, the possibility of a remarkably fast Soviet jet was considered, but Soviet jets do not glow brighter than stars.

The pilots described the main UFO as saucer shaped and having a half-round canopy or dome on its top.  From certain angles, it appeared tubular.  They could not estimate its size due to the bright light but believed it traveled as fast as 2,000 to 3,000 mph.

This event occurred before the Islamic Revolution, at a time the United States military was still working closely with the Iranian military, so it was unlikely the UFO was a secret American plane or drone.

Of course the U.S. Air Force was quite interested in the event, and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documented the incident and sent reports to the White House, the military, the CIA and the NSA.  Unfortunately, after the Iranian Revolution occurred in 1979, all access to Iranian records was closed off.

Explanations from skeptics that the object was a planet, star or plane do not add up. 

Question for students (and subscribers): Was the UFO really extraterrestrial?  You decide, and let us know what you think. Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by liking us on Facebook and becoming one of our patrons!

Your readership is much appreciated!

Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Kean, Leslie.  UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record.  Crown Archetype, 2010.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.