Iran has reportedly received Russian aircraft, but not the long-awaited Su-35

Aircraft ordered by Iran from Russia have begun arriving in the country, according to Iranian media reports. However, these aircraft are not the Su-35 Flanker fighter jets that Tehran had hoped to start receiving this year.

The semi-official Iranian Tasnim News Agency reported on Saturday mentioned The country received Yak-130 subsonic training aircraft, citing undated photos and videos purporting to show the new aircraft bearing IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) markings. At least two Yak-130 aircraft are said to be located in Isfahan province in central Iran and are now in the service of the Iranian Air Force.

While these training aircraft, which can also serve as light combat aircraft, are not as capable as the Su-35, their delivery may indicate that Russia will also deliver that fighter at a later date.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing indications and reports that Moscow has backed away from a prior agreement to sell Tehran 24-50 Sukhoi super-maneuverable multirole fighters. Iran has supplied Russia with hundreds of drones, most of them single-use loitering munitions, for use in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

Ferzin Nadimi, a defense and security analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, could not confirm or deny the authenticity of the photos and videos of the delivery of the Yak-130. However, he opined that if the delivery is indeed confirmed, it could be a “logical step before acquiring fourth-generation fighters” and also “indicates that the Su-35 deal will eventually go ahead at some point in the future.”

Iranian officials have expressed optimism that Russia will deliver the Su-35s as early as March this year. This optimism has since been tempered One report Which indicates that Russia has not fulfilled its obligations in the deal to supply Iran with 50 Su-35 aircraft, which Tehran had paid for in 2021 and is expected to begin receiving this year.

There has long been widespread speculation that Iran would receive at least 24 Su-35s that Russia had already built for Egypt, which has since canceled the order. The Ukraine war may have disrupted previous delivery plans and schedules.

Either way, the delivery of the Yak-130 seems to confirm that Russia is at least delivering something To Iran after everything Tehran has supplied to Moscow over the past eighteen months.

The last time Russia transferred military aircraft to Iran was in the 2000s, and that was it Just six Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraftwhich was also subsonic.

In 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency of the US Department of Defense forecast Iran will seek to acquire Yak-130 aircraft from Russia along with S-400 air defense missiles, Bastion coastal defense systems, T-90 tanks and Su-30 aircraft once the UN arms embargo expires in October 2020. Tehran has since requested now to choose The Su-35 is more advanced than the Su-30.

Tehran’s interest in the Yak-130 trainer may seem strange in light of its frequent promotion of its home-made training aircraft. Iran in March Production line opened For its original HESA Yasin training aircraft. As with the Yak-130, the Yasin can train pilots in the basics of more advanced fourth-generation fighters and serve as a light fighter aircraft.

Aside from developing these training aircraft independently, Iranian officials dubiously claim that the country is capable of producing fourth-generation aircraft.

However, the Yassin and other similar Iranian aircraft may not give Iranian pilots the specific skills they will need to operate the Su-35.

“Although Iran has equipped the latest upgrade of the prototype of the Yassin jet trainer with a glass cockpit and some advanced features, it is still far from serial production,” Nadimi told me.

Furthermore, he added, Iran’s domestic trainer aircraft “are also not known to have been developed with Russian fourth-generation fighter technology specifically in mind.”

Thus, the delivery of the Yak-130 subsonic trainer aircraft could indicate that Iran will finally receive the long-awaited Su-35. As for Tehran, it is much better late than never.

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