Iran: uncertain future of the Su-35 fighter purchase contract

By Arie Egozi

The expected sale of Russian-made Su-35 fighter aircraft to Iran is under a big question mark, according to different intelligence sources. In recent weeks, the sale of these advanced fighter aircraft to Iran was the focus of some intelligence organizations, which raised the first doubts about the planned sale.

The question mark became even bigger after Iranian journalist Babak Taghavi stated that the commander of the Iranian Air Force, Brigadier General Vahidi, revealed to sources close to him that “currently, the General Staff of the Armed Forces opposes the purchase of Su-35SE multi-mission combat aircraft from Russia, because the Russian government refuses to transfer technology to manufacture spare parts for them in Iran and also refuses to have the aircraft maintained in Iran for at least the next 30 years.”

According to Wahidi, the Russians are willing to sell only 25 Su-35E aircraft, the same ones previously ordered by Egypt, without proper maintenance, weapons systems, and support for spare parts. Additionally, they are refusing to deliver the two-seat simulators of the Su-35SE and Su-30SME2 aircraft models, despite Iran’s request to purchase 12 of them.



Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gray Ashtiani, Iran’s Defence Minister, confirmed that there is currently no plan to purchase Su-35SE fighter jets from Russia. The change in the Iranian position is also explained by the lessons learned from the sale and delivery of Su-30 fighter jets to Armenia, where the Russian government decided not to allow the Armenians to use them against the Republic of Azerbaijan during the recent Karabakh war.

The Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is the designation for two improved derivatives of the Su-27 fighter aircraft. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable air superiority fighters, designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and built by Sukhoi.



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