Iran intends to acquire 64 Russian Su-35 fighters, which will allow the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to form five separate squadrons. A third of the combat aircraft can be transferred to the Iranian Air Force by the end of this year, while the rest of the fighters, according to Arab media, Iran will be able to receive before 2025.
“The commander of the Iranian Air Force confirmed that the Islamic Republic is seeking to acquire Su-35 fighter jets from Russia. Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi said on Monday that the purchase of the Su-35 is on the air force’s agenda, but the country has no plans to buy the Su-30, both developed from the Su-27, a Soviet-made twin-engine super-maneuverable aircraft. The Su-35 is a single-seat fighter, and the Su-30 is a two-seat multipurpose fighter. According to reports, the army air force needs at least 64 aircraft, 24 of which will be received on an order from Egypt, which remained unfulfilled due to US pressure on Cairo ,”the Iranian news agency Iran International reported.
The acquisition of such a large batch of Russian Su-35 generation 4 ++ fighters will give Iran an undeniable advantage in the region, not to mention the fact that five squadrons of Su-35 fighters will create a very serious problem for Israel and the IDF plans to attack the Islamic Republic, about as recently stated by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
The amount of the concluded contract has not yet been disclosed, however, the deal may be estimated at about $10 billion.
About the Su-35 “Super Flanker” Air Superiority Fighter
The Sukhoi Su-35 is a version of the Su-27 fighter jet that has been deeply modernized to achieve a significant increase in its combat effectiveness against aerial, ground, and sea-surface targets. The design of the Su-35 incorporates the most successful engineering concepts that previously tested well on the Su-27/Su-30 aircraft family.
According to United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the Su-35 “combines the qualities of a modern fighter (super-maneuverability, superior active and passive acquisition aids, high supersonic speed and long range, capability of managing battle group actions, etc.) and a good tactical airplane (wide range of weapons that can be carried, modern multi-channel electronic warfare system, reduced radar signature and high combat survivability).”
The Su-35 employs the powerful N035 Irbis-E (“Snow Leopard”) passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar, which is a further development of the N011M radar that had been evaluated on Su-27M test-beds and constitutes the core of the Su-35’s weapons-control system. It is capable of detecting an aerial target up to 400 km (250 mi; 220 nmi) away, and can track thirty airborne targets and engage eight of them simultaneously; in addition, the multi-function radar is capable of providing high-resolution images of the ground using synthetic aperture mode.
The aircraft is equipped with an OLS-35 optoelectronic targeting system ahead of the cockpit to provide other forms of tracking including infra-red search and track. For defences against enemy tracking, the Su-35 is equipped with the L175M Khibiny-M electronic countermeasure system, while engineers have applied radar-absorbent materials to the engine inlets and front stages of the engine compressor to halve the Su-35’s frontal radar cross-section and minimise the detection range of enemy radars. The multi-role Su-35 can deploy air-to-air missiles of up to 300-kilometre (190 mi) range, and can carry the heavy Oniks anti-ship cruise missile, as well as the multitude of air-to-ground weaponry.
The Su-35 is powered by a pair of Saturn AL-41F1S turbofan engines, formerly known as izdeliye 117S. A highly upgraded variant of the AL-31F, the AL-41F1S is related to the Su-57’s Saturn AL-41F1 (izdeliye 117), differing primarily in the engine control system. The engines are equipped with thrust-vectoring nozzles, which have their rotational axes canted at an angle; the nozzles operate in one plane for pitch, but the canting allows the aircraft to produce both roll and yaw by vectoring each engine nozzle differently; this configuration was first implemented on the Su-30MKI and is also used on the Su-57.
The Su-35’s thrust-vectoring system and integrated flight- and propulsion-control systems allow the aircraft to attain “supermaneuverability”, enabling it to perform post-stall manoeuvres at low speeds. This differs from Western air combat doctrine, which emphasises the maintenance of a fighter aircraft’s kinetic energy.
The engine gives the Su-35 the limited ability to sustain supersonic speed without the use of afterburners. According to Carlo Kopp of the think tank Air Power Australia, such a “supercruise” feature allows the Su-35 to engage an opponent at a greater speed and altitude and increases the range of its long-range missiles by 30–40 percent. He cites the aircraft’s mature airframe and carefully balanced combination of advanced technology as allowing the Su-35 to achieve a favourable exchange rate against the F-35 stealth fighter.
The US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin had refuted criticisms of the F-35, saying that it is 400 percent more effective in air-to-air combat than any aircraft other than the F-22.