Iran bolsters Su-25 fleet
|13 September 2006|
By Liam Devlin and Tom Cooper JDW Special Correspondents
Belfast and Vienna
Iran's original seven Su-25K/UBKs were flown to Iran from Iraq in 1991 as the multinational Operation 'Desert Storm' force gathered on Iraq's southern border in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force (IRGCAF) then purchased three Su-25UBK two-seat combat trainers and three Su-25T anti-tank aircraft from Russia and deliveries of these have been completed. With its maximum combat load of 4,340 kg, the type now plays an important role in supporting the IRGC's rapid-reaction doctrine. It is foremost intended to provide direct air support to ground troops.
The IRGCAF is considering the purchase of more advanced variants, including the Su-25TM (Su-39), optimised for attacks on ground and naval targets in daylight, but also at night, using precision-guided munitions. However, current political circumstances may make this procurement difficult.
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