The deal with Russia would include the delivery of Su-35 fighters, Mi-28 attack helicopters and Yak-130 jet trainers.
Iran has finalised arrangements with Russia for a package of military aircraft, the Iranian semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Nov. 28, 2023. According to the media outlet, Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Mahdi Farahi said plans have been finalized for Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters, and Yak-130 jet trainers to join the combat units of the Iranian Armed Forces.
The procurement of the Su-35s as part of a larger package of military equipment has long been anticipated. The possible deal was discussed several times in the past years until, in September 2022, Iranian media reported that Air Force chief Hamid Vahedi had said that the purchase of the Sukhoi Su-35 from Russia was “being considered” by the Iranian air force.
Earlier this year, Shahriar Heidari, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Tehran was working to procure a series of other military equipment from Russia, including air defense systems, missile systems and helicopters. Back then, the delivery of the jets was said to be imminent: just a few months; possibly March 2023, the beginning of the Iranian year.
In September this year, the images of the first Yak-130 Mitten aircraft delivered to the IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) appeared online. According to the first reports, the jets were being tested in Iran’s 8th Tactical Air Force Base near Isfahan, ahead of the completion of the training of the first group of six Iranian Yak-130 instructor pilots in Russia. As explained in detail in our report here, the procurement of the new trainers paved the way to more advanced “hardware” to modernize Iran’s Air Force, currently mostly based on Soviet/Russian and U.S. types procured before the 1979 revolution.
In fact, Yak-130 can be used to train the Iranian pilots to fly 4th generation fighters as the Su-35S “Flanker E”, the 4++ generation variant of the Su-27 Flanker aircraft.
At the time of writing, the Su-35 deal has not been confirmed by Russian sources.