A footage showing a Sukhoi fighter supposedly landing at Mehrabad Air Base, in Tehran, was published on social media on April 18. According to local reports, three Su-35 aircraft would have arrived in the country to be delivered to the Republic Air Force Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIAF).
The low-resolution images do not allow for conclusions, but the jets appear to bear Russian markings and the absence of some Su-35 characteristics such as the thermal protector on the stabilizers. Tasnim news agency later claimed that the video is fake, saying that the aircraft had not yet been received.
Recently, the government of Iran confirmed the agreement to receive Su-35 fighter jets that were originally manufactured for Egypt from the end of March. Fifteen of these planes were assembled and stored at an air base in Russia.
Very popular today video of “Su-35 landing in Iran”. Except that it’s not a Su-35 at all. pic.twitter.com/AIx8d9vHNl
— Piotr Butowski (@piotr_butowski) April 18, 2023
The deal with Russia would involve air defense systems, missiles and helicopters in exchange for the supply of HESA’s Shahed drones, which have been used in attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure.
The Su-35 is an advanced variant of the Su-27, the most capable fighter developed in the Soviet Union. The aircraft has equipment such as the AESA (active electronically scanned array) Irbis-E radar, IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) system and Khibiny radar jamming system.
The fighter differs from its predecessor by the nose landing gear with two wheels instead of one, absence of the back air brake, stabilizers with heat protection and more weapons hard points, among others.
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The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has a varied fleet of fighters that even includes the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, delivered before the government of Shah Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution in 1979.