Tag Archives: iran

Russian Tu-22M Backfires based in Iran

Russia this week officially confirmed it has based Tu-22M Backfire bombers at Hamedan airbase in Iran for strike missions over Syria. Pictures show several Backfires being prepared on the ground in surroundings resembling those of the Iranian desert.

Backfires have seen use over Syria a number of times already, supporting forces loyal to president Assad in their fight against rebel forces. A number of videos showed up of the Backfires apparently ‘carpet’ bombing rebel positions, which raises fear of even more civilian casualties in war torn Syria.

Previously, the bombers flew all the way from Russia for missions over the area. Basing the aircraft in Iran allows for much shorter missions.

The basing of the bombers also means Moscow is getting a stronger foothold in the area, which wil be reinforced when the sole Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov supposedly arrives in the Mediterranean this Fall. The ship should bring Ka-52 attack helicopters in theater,m according to sources in Moscow.

The movements are also concerning in light of the flickering conflict in South East Ukraine, where Russian and Ukranian weapons and personnel are facing each other. Russia’s latest movement could be seen as a way to shield off the entire Black Sea from any Western militaries taking an interest in the Ukrainian situation.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)
A pair of Russian Kamom Ka-52 Alligators (Image © Russian Helicopters)

Yet more new Western aircraft for Iran Air

Following last week’s order for 118 Airbus airliners, Iran on Monday 1 February ordered yet more new Western-made aircraft. This time, it’s 20 new ATR 72-600s plus options for 20 more in a contract worth 1 billion EUR.

According to ATR Aircraft, the deal marks the arrival of the newest generation ATRs in Iran, where the first ATR turboprops have been operating since 1992. The aircraft manufacturers sees potential for even more regional growth.

Patrick de Castelbajac, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, said: “We are honored to take part in this new era in Iran by providing the national airline with aircraft that will strongly contribute to reinforce and boost regional transportation across the country. We are pleased to offer to the passengers of Iran Air the highest standards of comfort and reliability, as well as the outstanding operational flexibility of the ATR 72-600s”.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Computer rendering of an Iran Air ATR 72-600 (Image © ATR Aircraft)

Iran goes big on Airbus – A380 included in deal

As reported earlier this week, Iran went shopping in Toulouse this week. The numbers announced on Thursday 28 January are even bigger than previously reported, however. Teheran ordered 118 aircraft in total: 45 single aisle airliners and 73 widebodies, 12 of those A380s.

Airbus released official numbers, showing 21 A320ceo, 24 A320neo family, 27 A330ceo, 18 A330neo, 16 A350-1000 and 12 A380 jets. The agreement includes pilot and maintenance training and support services to help the entry into service and efficient operations of these new aircraft.


The purchase of A380 was mentioned as a future option or wish earlier, but the actual deal for the giant airliner is a big plus for Airbus and of course Iran, and a surprise for others. The end of economic sanctions provides Teheran with the opportunity to modernize the country’s fleet of ageing airliners.

Iranian visit

The agreements were signed at the Élysée Palace, Paris, during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to France with French President François Hollande.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Airbus collection in flight. (Image © Airbus)

Fighter jet deals Middle East hang in the balance

Fighter jet deals worth billions of US dollars hang in the balance in the Middle East as they have been doing for a number of years, but things could be moving along now following the apparent ease between Iran and the West. Or did Kuwait and Qatar already make up their mind?

It is no secret that Kuwait is looking to purchase 28 Boeing Super Hornets to replace its fleet of older F/A-18C/D Hornets, and that Qatar has been seeking to buy up to 72 variants of Boeing’s F-15 Strike Eagle.


Both orders would come in handy to keep production lines in the US open, particularly the Super Hornet line. A batch of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18 Growlers is now in manufacturing and after that it will likely be the end of production for the F-18 Hornet and its variants.

Unless of course Kuwait indeed orders its Super Hornets. A deal never seemed close however, and the reason could very well be that the US did not want to spoil improving relations with shia-Islam orientied Iran by supplying advanced warfare machines to opposing sunni countries such as Qatar and Kuwait.

A Kuwait Air Force F/A-18C Hornet, seen in the UK in 1993 during delivery to Kuwait. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Kuwait Air Force F/A-18C Hornet, seen in the UK in 1993 during delivery to Kuwait. (Image © Elmer van Hest)


That standpoint may change now that the relationship with Iran seems on its way to normalization. On the other hand however, there’s also Israel to be taken into account. That country upgrading its F-15I Ra’am (Thunder) jets and won’t be very happy to see more Arab states getting similar capabilities, also considering the fact that Saudi Arabia already has an impressive fleet of F-15s – and another 84 new-build F-15SAs (Saudi Advanced) are on their way between now and 2019. The US may be sensitive to this also.

Rafale & Typhoon

But perhaps Qatar and Kuwait have already made up their mind. Since requesting F-15s, the former in April signed to buy 24 French Dassault Rafale jets while the latter eyes 28 Italian-made Eurofighter Typhoon jets. A contract for those was rumoured to be signed last December, but still awaits signatures.

The coming months should tell if there will ever be Qatari F-15s and Kuwaiti Super Hornets. And finally, if there will ever be Iraqi Air Force Mirage 2000s, as the United Arab Emirates are reportedly looking to hand over some of their Mirages to Baghdad.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An F-15E in max ‘fuel to noise’ mode. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A brand new Eurofighter Typhoon awaits delivery. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A brand new Eurofighter Typhoon awaits delivery. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Rafale jets were recently delivered to Egypt. (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Dassault)
Rafale jets were recently delivered to Egypt. (Image © Anthony Pecchi / Dassault)

Sanctions lifted: Iran buys 114 Airbus jets

In a move that was doing the rounds immediately after international sanctions against Iran were lifted recently, the country on Sunday 24 January confirmed it is buying 114 Airbus airliners to replace its current, dangerously tired fleet of commercial aircraft. The Airbus jets will be used buy Iran Air.

The deal will be signed on Wednesday during a visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian government confirmed.

Iran is looking for A320s and A340s, which is remarkably and a challenge by itself as the A340 is out of production. Teheran said the first aircraft are to be delivered in months, which could indicate the A340s are actually used aircraft. Iran states it is also looking at the A380 for long routes.

Fleet & spare parts

Right now, Iran Air used older A300, A310 and A320 aircraft, along with several Boeing 747-200s and a dozen or so Fokker 100s. Commercial aviation in Iran over the last two decades was known to be a dangerous undertaking due to lack of spare parts. Several deadly crashes have plagued the country. The order for new aircraft is therefore no surprise.

Iran is expected to need several hundred more airplanes to get its commercial fleet into shape.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: Airbus A320s are mainly what Iran is looking for. (Image © Airbus)