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Sukhoi Su-30SM "Flanker"

On 30 July 2007 the Jerusalem Post reported that Iran was negotiating with Russia to buy 250 Sukhoi Su-30 "Flanker" fighter-bombers. Israeli defense officials were investigating the potential Iran-Russia deal, in which Iran would pay $1 billion a dozen squadrons' worth of the jets. Iran would also buy 20 Ilyushin Il-78 Midas tankers that could extend the fighters' range as part of the deal. The move was seen as a response to the new American plans to sell billions of dollars' worth of weapons to potential Iranian adversaries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. The report came soon after other deals to sell advanced Su-27 and Su-30 combat fighters to Indonesia, Malaysia and Venezuela.

Iran does not seem content with buying the Su-30; Tehran seemed intent on license production of the aircraft. The Su-30 fighter jet, modified with a hardened electronic circuity enabling the aircraft to withstand the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast, is famous for its aerodynamic design that offers unparalleled maneuverability and its thrust vectoring that enables the aircraft to take-off and land in a variety of settings providing the warplane with multi-purpose characteristics.

The 2,120kmh fighter jet is able to release cruise missile from a height of 500 meters to 14,000 meters. The Su-30SM, commissioned in 2013-2014, is a two-seat derivative of the Su-27UB jet, capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground strikes and can be equipped with a wide variety of precision-guided munitions. The Su-30M2 variant, which is built in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russias far east, is missing the Su-30SMs canards and thrust vectoring nozzles. It also has a less comprehensive avionics suite.

In April 2015 President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to resume the deliveries of sophisticated weapons to the Islamic Republic, including the S-300 systems missiles amid the progress reached during negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. The contract entered into force in November 2015.

On 17 February 2016 reports emerged that Russia and Iran were planning to ink arms deals worth more than $8 billion. Tehran was said to be interested in purchasing Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighters, Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, Mil Mi-8 and Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters, as well as K-300P Bastion-P mobile coastal defense missile systems, frigates and diesel-electric submarines. The deal for the delivery of the Su-30 was expected to be signed in 2016. Iranian Defense Minister Hosein Dehghan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and other officials in Moscow. Iran's defense minister planned to discuss Irans need for Su-30s and hopefully sign a procurement contract for them during his Moscow visit.

In February 2016, the White House said that the sale of fighter jets to Iran would violate a UN Security Council arms embargo. The United States would block the sale of Russian Su-30 aircraft to Iran under a UN Security Council (UNSCR) resolution that prohibits fighter jet sales, US Department of State Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon said 05 April 2016 during a congressional hearing on Iran. "The sale of Su-30 fighter aircraft is prohibited under UNSCR 2231 without the approval of the UN Security Council and we would block the approval of any sale of fighter aircraft under the restrictions," Shannon told the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. When pressed, Shannon said the United States would veto any attempt by Russia to receive UN Security Council approval to sell the Su-30 combat aircraft, T-90 tanks or helicopters to Iran.

The Obama administration planned to prevent Russia from selling Su-30 multirole fighters to Iran by vetoing the approval for the possible deal at the UN Security Council, but the US president could well cross his latest self-imposed "red line" like he had done in the past, Washington Times columnist L. Todd Wood asserted. 10 August 2016 "I doubt that the Kremlin will be stopped in their desire to earn hard foreign currency by any American action at the United Nations. It is highly likely that this Obama 'red line' will go the way of all the others before it," he noted, referring among other things to Obama's "red line" on Syria.

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said that Iran is in negotiations with Russia to purchase Su-30 fighter jets, Tasnim news agency reported 26 November 2016. However, any purchase of the military planes from Russia should include receiving the technology as well, Dehqan said. Moscow had accepted Tehran's terms in the negotiations on "joint investment and supplying technology" besides selling Su-30 fighter jets, he pointed out. The second-in-command of the Iranian Army said that Iran plans to purchase more fighter jets to boost the country's air defense capabilities. Talks were underway on the purchase of new aircraft, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, said but he did not provide details as to what type of aircraft or from which country the fighter jets would be purchased.

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Page last modified: 28-11-2016 19:37:56 ZULU