- Iran got US-made Hellfire AGM and made its copy – the Ghaem-114
- Su-35 will chase the Mideast F-16s/F-35s or disrupt their refueling
- Foreign Su-35s might take off from a Mideast hidden air base
IRNA did not cite the source of the information. Iran Press also published information that the first Su-35s are expected within seven days. BulgarianMilitary.com contacted its source at the Russian state company Rostec, who neither confirmed nor denied the news.
At the moment, only Iran and Russia have concluded a deal for the purchase of the Su-35 is confirmed. The UN Permanent Mission in Iran confirmed this claim in March. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote at the beginning of the year that the first Su-35s are expected to arrive in Iran in the spring.
A few weeks ago, a video surfaced showing a low-flying Su-35. The author of the video and later hundreds of social media users said that this was the first Su-35 to arrive in Iran. However, the information turned out to be false, as neither Russia, Iran, nor the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force [IRIAF] confirmed the claims.
The current IRIAF inventory
Currently, Iran’s combat aviation is quite outdated. It cannot meet the conditions of modern warfare. The IRIAF has 41 F-14 Tomcat fighter interceptors, several F-5 Tiger II fighters, at least 17 Chinese Chengdu F-7 fighters, 19 Russian Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters, as well as 12 French Mirage F1 fighters. Iran’s long-range combat aviation includes 23 Su-24MK tactical bombers, as well as dozens of F-4 Phantom II fighter bombers.
Undoubtedly, the arrival of the first Su-35 fighter jets will be big news in Iran. These will be the first fighters in at least 30 years [MiG-29 in the 90s] that will increase the combat capability of the IRIAF.
The Su-35 should usurp the functions of the F-14 Tomcat interceptor fighter. Due to the long-standing embargo imposed on Iran, the country could not renew the engines of the F-14, and gradually their exploitation became more and more impossible. For the same reason [the embargo], this fighter had rather limited air-to-air, air-to-sea capabilities.
Iran and Russia abruptly “tightened their embrace” after Russia invaded Ukraine. Moscow gradually began to lose partners, with some taking a more vocal disassociation from Russian politics. However, Tehran saw an opportunity and seized it. Deliveries of missiles and drones from Tehran to Moscow have begun, allowing the Russian military to maintain control over actions in Ukraine.
It is said that the Su-35 will not be the last deal between the two countries, but only the beginning. The S-400 missile system has long been considered a possible subject of a deal, but there is no official confirmation from either side of such a move right now.
There is also no confirmation of possible cooperation in the field of jointly production of the Su-30. Although, some Russian sites have started to suggest that Iran could be Russia’s next partner after India to start mass serial production of this fighter.
Su-35 in action
The war in Ukraine was an opportunity for the Su-35 to prove itself. And that happened. Ukrainian pilots comment that the biggest threat to them in the air is the Su-35. The aircraft boasts excellent capabilities for air-to-air combat but beyond visual range. It also proved to be an excellent partner in a flying pair – while the MiG-31 flies high and avoids enemy radars, the Su-35 takes on the role of a decoy and engages the enemy’s air defenses.
The Su-35 has excellent air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. The R-37M missile, which fires at a long distance, turns out to be a key weapon of the Russian Flanker. No word on whether the 24 Su-35s for Iran will come armed or not. It is possible that at the next stage of its partnership with Russia, Iran may wish to acquire this missile as well.
One of the shortcomings of the Su-35 is the PESA radar. It turns out that in its generation [4.5 generation or 4++] this fighter is the only one that is not armed with the AESA radar. In the future, Moscow plans to correct this mistake. There is already talk of integration of the AESA radar from the Su-57 on the Su-35, but Iran will not receive such a configuration. This will not give Iran the desired air superiority over the Persian Gulf.
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