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Russia is actively renewing Iran air force

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According to the Iranian news agency Tasnim, Iran and Russia have concluded an agreement to supply combat aircraft and helicopters for the Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG).

For Iran, which has been under sanctions for many years, this will be the largest foreign arms purchase in two decades and a radical modernization of its aviation capabilities. Remember that the Iranian air force still has F 5 and F 14 Tomcats in service dating back to the time of the Shah’s rule, which are now outdated and very difficult to maintain

According to the local agency, which quoted statements by the Iranian Deputy Defense Minister, Brigadier General Mahdi Farahi, agreements have been completed for the sale of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter planes, Mil Mi-28 ‘Havoc’ attack helicopters, and Yakovlev Yak-130 training planes.

In fact, the latter were already delivered at the beginning of September and, according to the Iranian press, are already being used by Iranian pilots who are due to switch to the new Sukhoi fighter planes.

The Su-35s destined for Iran, as is well known, are almost certainly the 24 aircraft that used to be destined for Egypt before US pressure to avert the supply of such aircraft (as has already happened with the Indonesian air force) by putting US economic aid to Cairo, amounting to $3 billion a year, including about $1.7 billion in military aid, on the scales.

Iranian sources report that Iran is said to have purchased as many as 70 Su-35 fighters (a number that seems unlikely, at least for the time being) and that the discussion between the two countries also concerns the modernization of the IRIAF’s remaining fleet of MiG-29 fighters (19 aircraft) to a standard similar to that of the MiG-29UPGs in service with the Indian Air Force.

Mil Mi 28

 

On the other hand, it is now clear that relations between Moscow and Tehran are very much the same as they were in 2015: starting with the Iranian nuclear agreement, continuing with the collaboration in Syria, and with the supply to Moscow of armaments such as the Shahed-136 kamikaze drones (made under licence in Russia under the name Geran-2, pictured below) used in the conflict in Ukraine. The two countries have, in short, joined forces in numerous sectors, defence above all.

Iran had already started to modernise in the 1990s, trying to leave the US fighters behind and buying both Mig 29s and French Mirage F1s, which are currently the most modern aircraft at their disposal.After the devastating Iran-Iraq War, the Soviets approached Tehran with an offer for 72 MiG-29s, 24 MiG-31s, and 36 Su-24MKs, but the country attempting to recover from the wearisome war barely managed to scrape together funds for only 18 MiG-29s and 12 Su-24MKs, whose deliveries began in mid-1990, when the US was focused on the First Gulf War. AA missile R 37

The purchase of a modern, multi-role aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su 35 will pose a significant threat to the US presence in the Persian Gulf, especially because of its ability to carry advanced weaponry, with anti-aircraft missiles with a range of up to 200 km. We are talking about the Vympel R 37 ‘Vipers’, which can be used by the Sukhoi.

The growing cooperation could also lead to the sale of other advanced aircraft models, and, above all, electronic and radar equipment.

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