Iran has begun production of a domestic heavy fighter jet
TEHRAN, (BM) – The military-industrial complex of Iran has begun to develop heavy fighters in accordance with plans to increase the defenses of the Islamic Republic, the deputy commander of the Iranian Air Force, Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Mehr news agency.
“Following the success of the Kowsar combat aircraft, the Iranian Air Force began the process of producing a domestic heavy fighter,” Vahedi said.
According to him, the combat vehicle under development will be equipped with avionics and a domestically produced engine.
The Iranian general also mentioned military projects to improve the radar capabilities of the Iranian Air Force, saying that significant progress has been made in this area. “Iran has made great strides in increasing the stealthiness of its various types of combat aircraft,” said the Air Force Deputy Commander.
It was indicated that the local defense industry extended the range of the Sidewinder air-to-air missile installed on the F-5 fighter from 8 to 20 kilometers. According to Vahedi, programs are currently underway to equip their own production of drones Ababil and Kaman with smart bombs Qaem-1 and Qaem-5.
Recall that in November 2018, Iran launched the first Kowsar fighter, a fourth-generation combat vehicle fully developed in the country, into mass production.
The fighter was first demonstrated in Iran in August 2018, the presentation was attended by the President of the Islamic Republic, Hassan Rouhani, who sat in the cockpit. The fighter is produced in two versions – with one and two cockpits for training young Iranian fighter pilots.
Last month, Iran announced that it had managed to upgrade its Kowsar fighter jet at a ceremony in June 25, as we reported.
The event was attended by Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Khatami, Iranian Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolrahim Musavi, Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh.
Kosar has many advanced features, including an integrated avionics and fire control system, multi-function digital displays, an advanced HUD system to improve strike accuracy and an advanced multi-function fire control radar to accelerate the identification of targets and external threats, Mehr notes.
The commander of the Shahid-Lashkari airbase in Tehran, Brigadier General Mohammad Zalbeiji told Mehr in late May that “the fighter is equipped with the most modern equipment and is capable of using high-precision weapons.”
Iran is expected to be active in the Russian and Chinese arms markets
Iran is looking forward to the lifting of the arms embargo in October this year. Although the United States is strongly opposed, there are no indications that this will not happen.
Iran has the support of Russia and China, and the rest of the world sees no reason to lift the embargo on the Islamic Republic.
China and Russia are the markets that Iran will focus on. We recently wrote that Tehran is interested in the Russian Su series of fighters and the Chinese J-20, which is the fifth generation of fighters.
As we reported three day ago [July 22 – ed.] Iran intends to acquire the latest Russian weapons, which include S-400 air defense systems, Su-35 and Su-57 fighters, and probably other Russian missile weapons.
Information on this matter was confirmed by the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Moscow Kazem Jalali.
“Of course it is. We will consult with Russia on what we need to strengthen our defense capabilities. The Russian government and the Russian people have been and remain on our side in difficult times. Russia is also a priority partner for us. There are great opportunities in this area, and we hope that over time our relations in this area will strengthen,” the Arab edition of Al-Masdar News quotes him.
Despite the fact that the Iranian ambassador did not indicate the types of weapons purchased from Russia, experts believe that the first thing that Iran will choose is air defense systems, as well as fighters.
“Iran needs powerful and reliable air defense systems, and it is obvious that the only choice of this country will fall on the Russian S-400s. As for military aviation, Iran may be interested in buying Su-35 and Su-57 fighters, and given the partnership between our country and Iran, it is obvious that Iran will be given a special price,” a Russian analyst said.
Iran can count on lighter and cheaper aircraft – the Russian MiG-35 and Chinese J-10C are considered the main contenders for this role. Both fighters belong to the 4 ++ generation and began to be operated in recent years.
At first glance, the comparison is in favor of the MiG-35. It is heavier, more maneuverable, with a more powerful radar [although both fighters have modern radars with AFAR] and is capable of operating at high speeds and altitudes.
The range of destruction of R-37M air-to-air missiles is 400 kilometers [the PL-15 missile of a Chinese aircraft has a range of no more than 300 kilometers]. But the advantage of the Chinese aircraft is the limited use of stealth technologies.
In addition, the choice of the J-10C can be dictated by political reasons – earlier, Russia has repeatedly conceded to Western countries in matters of arms supplies to the Middle East.
China is not inclined to listen to advice from outside, so as a supplier of weapons, it is much more reliable. In addition, the Chinese are investing more in the development of air-to-air missiles – which means that in the future, the J-10C can afford more advanced weapons than the R-37M.
Also, the simultaneous purchase of a light Chinese and a heavy Russian fighter gives Iran the opportunity to take advantage of both aircraft schools.
The situation in which Iran will buy heavy fighters from China and light MiG-35s from Russia is excluded: China does not sell heavy aircraft.
During the toughest sanctions against Tehran, it was Beijing that invested heavily in the Iranian economy, providing the country with support, which could also be a key factor.
Finally, when trading with the Chinese, Iran has the opportunity to rely on barter, for example, to receive fighters in exchange for oil – while Russian-Iranian trade is much more modest in scale, and such transactions are hardly possible.
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