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Iran to receive Russian SU-35 jets in March

Iran to receive Russian SU-35 jets in March
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Sunday, 15 January, 2023, 17:30

Iran is expected to receive multiple Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia as early as March, according to a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

MP Shahriar Heidari told Tasnim news agency that alongside the fighter jets, Iran will also receive military equipment such as air defense systems, missile systems and helicopters that they had previously ordered. Media has reported that 24 of the fourth-generation twin-engine, super-maneuverable Sukhoi fighter jets meant for air superiority missions are part of the package. The equipment is anticipated to be placed at the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8, situated in the city of Isfahan.

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) relayed that the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet “combines the qualities of a modern fighter (super-maneuverability, superior active and passive acquisition aids, high supersonic speed and long range, capability of managing battle group actions, etc.) and a good tactical airplane (wide range of weapons that can be carried, modern multi-channel electronic warfare system, reduced radar signature, and high combat survivability).”

A first in decades
In September, Iranian Army Air Force Commander Hamid Vahedi announced that the IRIAF is looking to purchase Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets. Even Turkey was considering the Su-35 as an alternative for the US-made F-16s in case of a fallout with the United States.

Iran and Russia have been undertaking measures and agreements to boost their economic, trade, energy, and military cooperation. In December, CIA Director William Burns pointed out that the US was concerned about the growing cooperation between Russia and Iran and fears that it could eventually evolve into a full defense partnership.

This is the first time in decades that Iran has acquired new fighter aircraft, with the exception of several MiG-29 Fulcrum's Tehran bought back in the 1990s.

The IRIAF currently uses the Russian MiG-29 and modified F-4 Phantom IIs, F-14 Tomcats, and F-5E/F Tiger IIs from the United States, which Tehran had gotten from Washington under the US-backed Pahlavi regime.