Iran Seals Deal to Buy Russian Fighter Jets

Tue Nov 28 2023
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TEHRAN: Iran has concluded preparations for the acquisition of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, as confirmed by Iran’s deputy defence minister in a statement to Tasnim news agency.

This move reflects the deepening military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Iran’s air force currently possesses only a limited number of strike aircraft, including Russian jets and aging U.S. models acquired prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The newly finalized plans include the integration of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, and Yak-130 jet trainers into the operational units of Iran’s Army, according to Deputy Defence Minister Mehdi Farahi.

While Iran has made strides in developing its domestic military capabilities, the acquisition of advanced Russian aircraft represents a strategic move to enhance its air force capabilities. The Sukhoi Su-35 is a highly advanced multi-role fighter known for its agility, sophisticated avionics, and weapon systems. The Mil Mi-28 is a dedicated attack helicopter designed for close air support and anti-armour missions.

It’s important to note that the Tasnim report outlining Iran’s procurement plans did not include official confirmation from the Russian side. The details of the deal and the timeline for the delivery of these aircraft are yet to be disclosed.

In 2018, Iran had previously announced the commencement of production for the Kowsar fighter, a domestically designed aircraft intended for deployment in its air force. While this marked a step towards self-reliance in military manufacturing, some military experts have noted similarities between the Kowsar and the U.S.-made F-5, a fighter aircraft first introduced in the 1960s.

The collaboration between Iran and Russia in the realm of military technology highlights the evolving dynamics in the region and the strategic partnerships being formed to bolster national defence capabilities. As both nations strengthen their ties, the delivery of these advanced fighter jets and attack helicopters will likely contribute to Iran’s efforts to modernize its air force.

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