The original order of 24 Su-35SE for the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) will now be diverted to the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).
As we have already reported the Egyptian Air Force had to become the first customer for the Su-35 in the Middle East area, following the signing of a contract in 2018 (not confirmed until May 2020), comprising the delivery of 24/26 aircraft for approximately USD 3 billion. But there are several indications that Egypt is never going to get any Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets. As The Aviation Geek Club contributor and Helion & Company publisher’s editor Tom Cooper explained, by side the US pressure – which, certainly enough, was crucial (why should Washington continue providing US$ 3 billion aid to Cairo (incl. about US1.7 billion military aid), if the latter goes buying Russian combat aircraft) – but, word is the Egyptians tested an Irbis-E radar (from the Su-35) against Rafale‘s ECM-system, and the latter easily overpowered the former.
The Su-35s produced for the Egyptian Air Force are currently parked in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and they are going to remain there for a while longer unless another nation purchase them. Thus if the Su-35 deal for Iran is approved, the jets could come from the existing airframes intended for Egypt.
According to Scramble Magazine, the exact number of aircraft that is going to be delivered is not officially confirmed but looking at the state of the IRIAF and the vastness of the country to defend, it needs far more than 24 new fighter aircraft to really bolster the capabilities.
Russia is apparently already training Iranian Su-35SE pilots but the IRIAF needs to be able to train their own pilots for future crews. For this reason Scramble Magazine assesses that a follow-on order for advanced training aircraft will be announced on short notice.
The Su-35 is a version of the Su-27 fighter 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 family of airplanes.
The aircraft 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). According to United Aircraft Corporation, the high combat effectiveness of the Su-35 airplane is achieved through its:
- Ability to operate independently, in a group of airplanes or as part of a battle group controlled from an aerial, ground-based or ship-based command center;
- Single integrated information-management system providing intellectual support to the pilot, which maintains communication and coordination between the crew and avionics equipment;
- Covert attacks on radio-emitting aerial targets at mid- and long-range;
- Attacks on ground and sea-surface targets with guided high-precision missiles without entering air defense zones;
- High target-tracking stability;
- Simultaneous air-to-air and air-to surface operations.
Photo credit: Unknown