Iran buys 250 long-distance Sukhoi fighter-bombers, 20 fuel tankers, from Russia

DEBKA Reports: July 27, 2007,

Tehran and the Russian Rosoboronexport arms group are about to sign a mammoth arms deal running into tens of billions of dollars for the sale to Tehran of 250 Su-30MKM warplanes and 20 IL-78 MKI fuel tankers. DEBKAfile’s military sources report Iran has stipulated delivery of the first aircraft before the end of 2007.

The transaction, Russia’s largest arms deal in 30 years, will endow Iran with a long-range aerial assault capability. The Sukhoi can sustain a four-and-a-half hour raid at its maximum range of 3,000 km against long-distance, marine and low-lying ground targets across the Persian Gulf and Middle East, including Israel and Lebanon.

The fuel tankers extends the Su-30MKM’s assault sustainability to 10 hours and its range to 8,000 km at altitudes of 11-13 km. The closest comparable plane in the West is the American F-15E fighter bomber. Iran’s acquisition of an exceptionally large fleet of the Russian fighter-bomber will elevate its air force to one of the two largest and most advanced in the region, alongside the Israeli Air Force.

Iranian air crews are already training on the new Sukhoi aircraft, ready to start flying them early next year with only a short delay after delivery. DEBKAfile’s sources report that Moscow is selling Tehran the same Sukhoi model as India received earlier this year. The Iranians leaned hard on New Delhi to let them have the Israeli avionics and electronics the Indian Air Force had installed in the Russian craft. India refused.

Russia began delivering the same craft in June to Malaysia, which also sought Israeli avionics without success. The Su-20MKM has won the nickname of “Islamic Version of Sukhoi.”

Its two-member crew shares the workload. The first pilot flies the aircraft, controls weapons and maneuvers the plane in a dogfight. The co-pilot employs BVR air-to-air and air-to-ground guided weapons in long-range engagements, sweeps the arena for enemy craft or missiles and performs as command-and-control in group missions.

Some of the plane’s systems are products of the French Thales Airborne Systems company. Moscow’s contract with Tehran for the sale of the Su-30MKM must therefore be cleared with Paris.

There is no decision in Jerusalem about asking Paris to withhold its consent to a deal which would substantially upgrade the long-range air assault capabilities of the Islamic Republic whose leaders want to wipe Israel off the map. However, President Nicolas Sarkozy is in mid-momentum of a diplomatic drive in the Arab and Muslim world and unlikely to be receptive to an Israeli approach. The only chance of aborting the Russian sale would be to route the approach through Washington.

July 27, 2007 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. Give the public just some tiny fact – even if false – and everybody takes it for granted. Learn you fools! Iran has nowhere the money to buy 250 Sukhois….I cannot blame the US public, as the journalists are as uninformed as the public – US, Israeli, British – you cannot buy 250 Su jets for $1 bn….you can buy them for no less than $10bn…and the Russian plants that manufacture these are booked up with orders from Algir, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Venezuela, India, China an modernization plans for these jets in Russia….where is Iran going to get $10 bn to spend on fighters if its defense budget is less than that? Iran doesn’t get $2-5 bn each year on weapons from US, like Israel does….

  2. I have long predicted their will be no American attack on Iran. Instead of asking when the US will attack Iran the pundits should be asking when Iran and/or its proxies will attack the US. The Russian arms deal is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

    When this arms deal is completed and the Iranians have been trained with these weapons, they will be capable of fightins and winning a conventional war against the US. The arms deal and the training of the Iranian military on these weapons should be completed by the middle of 2008. I look for Iran or its terrorist proxies to attack the American homeland some time around the end of 2008.

    The Americans are attempting to counter the Russians by supplying new weapons systems to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, however, this is problematic on several levels. While it would be logical for the Saudis and other Gulf States to ally with the Americans and the Israelis against the Iranians, this is unlikely to happen.

    Even if the Americans and the Israelis could reach an accomodation with the governments of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, the Saudi government and other governments in the region have foolishly spent the last few decades demonizing Israel and America. As such, any peace wold be unlikely to last bery long. The Arab street would make it very difficult for the Government to maintain the peace with the Americans and the Israelis.

    America and Israel have been deomized so much in this part of the world that over coming the out right lies and half truths that have told about both nations will likely take decades and this assuming the state controlled presses stop demonizing Israel and America today.

    The first step in reaching an accomodation would be getting the Arabs to stop the demonization of us in their state controlled media. As a starting point to any negotiations, Americans and the Israelis should insist that the leaders of these nations cease with the Anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda that dominates their media.

  3. Rastaman

    I am definitely not a Muslim. Time permitting I will respond in more detail, as to just who I am. If you are a regular reader of Israpundit, you have will have likely seen my other posts here. Those posts taken in their entirety will give you a good idea of who I am.

    Ntw, I like the website I shall visit it regularly.


    I hope you and Rastaman are right. If you are correct, this may alter our tactics. When I think about foreign policy matters, I assume that Russia and China act as a check on what the US can do militarily or in any other sphere. If the Russians are only a “paper bear”, then we need not concern ourselves with their military threat.

    I agree about fighting a different war. I also agree with you that there is no diplomatic solution. Unfortunately American and Western leaders disagree with us.

    In the event of an American attack on Iran, the anti-Americanism that is currently sweeping the world would increase exponentially. Also, the US and Western main stream news media would likely be diametrically opposed to this attack. In this event, they would increase their campaign of anti-Americanism. This would probably be especially evident in the European press.

    As it stands right now, many American leaders are desparate to repair America’s image in the world. Even if you and Rastaman are correct and the militaries of Russia and China are no match for the US military, America’s world wide image is a major concern to American foreign policy decision makers. An American attack on Iran would make that image even worse than it already is. This is perhaps the biggest reason why their will be no American attack on Iran.

    America’s enemies know how concerned the nation is over how it is percieved. They use this to their advantage.

  4. I agree with Rastaman. Russia is a paper bear.

    The Iraq debate is becoming more real. The US can’t just get out. It must win. To do this it must fight a different war with a different objective. Iran should be attacked and dismembered like Yugoslavia was. Persians constitute only 50% of the Iranian population and they are in the western part. Thus some of Iran would go to the Azeries to be joined to Azeribijhan. Same for the Kurdish section. Then there are other minorities in the east. Once the US/Israel coalition destroys the revolutionary Guard, the Mullahs, the air defenses and the nuclear sites, the minorities supported by the US could do the rest. The Kurds could also be induced to fight Iran in exchange for Iranian territory adjacent to Kurdistan.

  5. “US populace has no stomach for any more” “American missteps in Iraq have made the Russian military the most powerful”

    Oh HORSEPUCKY! You must be a muslim to rant stuff like that. The American people are angrier than ever and will fight tooth and nail for a legitimate cause, and the American military is far and away the most powerful in the world. How quickly you forget our Navy and Air Force, and we have 1.26 million reservists and over 100 million fit and available men and women if we have to reinstate the draft, although I think the number of reservists should be able to handle most problems, huh?

    Most likely, the Israelis will do what they’re good at, which is stay on top of all threats and act first when one is about to uncork. The Iranians are going to be very unhappy when all those airplanes are corroding in the desert.


  6. “The only chance of aborting the Russian sale would be to route the approach through Washington.” Hopefully I’m wrong but I don’t think that will work. Right now the US populace has no stomach for any more military engagement. As such, the Bush Administration and the US government have opened up diplomatic talks with Russia and Iran. The only question here is how much will the US give up. The US will get nothing, as they position with regards to Russia is very weak right now. American missteps in Iraq have made the Russian military the most powerful in the world.

    Given that the US is trying to surrender gracefully to its enemies, I find it very unlikely that they will confront Russia right now. Even if they wanted to confront Russia right now, the Americans simply don’t have any leverage to stand up to the most powerful nation on earth.

    Also, many American leaders have taken note of America’s poor world wide image and are desparate to rectify this situation. This makes it even less likely that the US would choose this moment to confront a Russian sale of weapons to Iran.

    As stated previously, I hope my analysis is wrong. I hope the US will do whatever it can to block this sale.

    This entire situation reminds me of when the Israelites entered the promised land that God gave to them. The Israelites of that time noticed that their enemies were, in the natural realm, much stronger than they were. This made them very afraid. God told them to have courage and to take the promised land. He would grant them victory. At this time, in the natural realm, Russia, China, and the enemies of America, Israel, and the West are far more powerful than they are. What is needed is for our people to put our trust in God. If we do so, He will deliver us.

    I hope and pray that such leaders will step forward soon. Time grows short.

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