Iran expected to receive first Sukhoi Su-35S fighters from March

Fighter jets would be part of a deal with Russia that also includes missile systems and helicopters

Iran’s long-awaited delivery of Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets looks set to take place. According to Shahriar Heidari, member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament, the first aircraft should arrive in the country at the end of March.

The information was confirmed by Heidari to the Tasmin news agency, which also cited the delivery of air defense systems, missiles and helicopters, part of an extensive agreement with Russia.

The two countries have suffered trade sanctions from the West and have since expanded economic, technical and military cooperation. An example of this is the supply of Shahed drones by the Iranian company HESA, which are being used by Russia to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The delivery of Su-35S fighters has been rumored for years, but until today it has not materialized. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) is expected to have 24 aircraft, some of them originally manufactured for Egypt, which withdrew from the agreement.

Su-35 fighters that would supposedly be delivered to Egypt

The Su-35S is an upgraded variant of the Su-27 ‘Flanker’. It has improvements such as AESA (active electronically scanned array) Irbis-E radar, IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) system and Khibiny radar jamming system.

The aircraft can be armed with several advanced missiles such as the long-range R-37M. The fighters are expected to be based in Isfahan, a city in central Iran, where Tactical Air Base (TAB) 8 is located.

The IRIAF has not received new fighter jets since the 1990s, when Russia sent MiG-29s to Iran. The 19 Russian fighters share space with a variety of combat aircraft that include the also Russian Su-24, the Chinese F-7, the French Mirage F-1 and the old F-4, F-5 and F-14 delivered by the USA before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Iranian F-14 along a F-4 and MiG-29
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