Illustrative. A Russian fighter jet. Photo: Rob Schleiffert via Wikimedia Commons.
i24 News – Iran appears assured of soon receiving a shipment of one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets, which would mark the most significant upgrade in decades to the Islamic Republic’s aging fleet, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
In the past few months, Iranian officials publicly touted the purchase of 24 Su-35s, a state-of-the-art military jet produced by Russia, including in propaganda materials showcasing a new underground Air Force base called “Eagle 44.” The NYT report was based on digital analysis of one such propaganda video by a former US government imagery analyst, as well as on analysis of satellite imagery.
The report concluded that the base had a mockup of the Su-35 jet, apparently to make sure that the base is ready for the reception of the real artifact. “These are likely being used in assessing clearances for maneuvering the aircraft throughout the underground facility and could suggest they’ll be based here,” according to the analyst cited by NYT.
Regime media said the Eagle 44 base was one of the country’s most important military facilities, and would soon be home to fighter jets equipped with long-range cruise missiles.
This comes amid heightened western and Israeli concerns over the deepening two-way military cooperation between Iran and Russia, and its implications for the security and stability of eastern Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. Another area of concern is Iran’s nuclear escalation and Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The cooperation included Iranian manufacturers supplying Russia with drones used to attack Ukraine’s infrastructure.
“What’s beginning to emerge is at least the beginnings of a full-fledged defense partnership between Russia and Iran, with the Iranians supplying drones to the Russians, which are killing Ukrainian civilians as we speak today, and the Russians beginning to look at ways in which, technologically or technically, they can support the Iranians,” CIA Director William Burns said in September.