The Iranian Air Force is likely to receive Su-35 fighter jets unexpectedly soon. The planes are ready for handover.

There are new rumors that Russia will soon deliver to Iran the 4.5-generation Sukhoi Su-35SE “Super Flankers” fighters in the near future. If this becomes true, it will certainly help Iran feel more secure in protecting its airspace, against a great threat from Israel. According to the Russian press, more than 20 Su-35 multirole fighters are waiting for delivery to the Iranian Air Force. Satellite images of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant campus show that 21 fighters are available.

It should be noted that all these fighters were produced under contract for the Egyptian Air Force, but Cairo was forced to abandon them under pressure from the West. Iran has shown particular interest in this fleet of Su-35s. This is the only fighter that Iran has access to, against the US F-35 Lightning II and the Israeli F-35I Adir. Tehran is developing a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, but Israel insists it is a weapons program and threatens to attack, so Iran needs to be vigilant, and build up enough forces to protect these facilities.

According to sources and analysis of the US, Arab, British and Israeli media, the pilots and Iranian technicians were present in Russia, to train in the operation of the Su-35 fighter. There is information that Moscow will transfer this fleet to Iran before the end of 2022, after which the two countries are likely to continue to sign contracts to purchase more modern fighters.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force is quite antiquated. Most of its fleet consists of U.S.-built F-14As, F-4s, and F-5s delivered in the 1960s and 1970s during the reign of its last shah. Since then, Tehran acquired MiG-29As from Russia and some ex-Iraqi Air Force Dassault Mirage F-1s flown to the country during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Iran hasn’t bought any new fighter jets since the early 1990s. Consequently, acquiring two dozen 4.5-generation Su-35SEs – which feature thrust-vectoring engines and Tikhomirov N135 Irbis Passive Electronically Scanned Array radar – could bolster Iran’s air power and serve as a stopgap solution for the country as it gradually upgrades its fighter fleet over the next decade.

It is not clear at this time whether Russia will agree to supply Iran with modern long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, or just old-generation munitions, but the first possibility is greater. According to analysts, after Iran receives the Su-35 multi-role fighter, Tehran will provide Moscow with a large number of attack drones to support the Ukrainian battlefield. This is a cooperation program that brings great benefits to both sides, and at the same time clears the long-standing suspicion of a disagreement in policies related to the struggle for influence in Syria.


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