Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Iranian Su-25s in Iraq

After receiving the first Russian Su-25s just days ago, Iraq's air power is now further bolstered by seven Iranian Su-25s operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force (IRGCAF).

Most of the Iranian Su-25s arrived on the 1st of July 2014, increasing the number of Su-25s in Iraq to twelve. Ironically, some of the Su-25s now transferred by Iran are former Iraqi mounts, evecuated by the Iraqi Air Force in 1991 to escape Coalition airstrikes.

The Su-25s, landing one at a time, will be flown by ten Iranian IRGCAF pilots and four Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) pilots, further increasing the already large Iranian influence within the Iraqi military. The transfer of these Su-25s will also see Iranian maintenance personnel travelling to Iraq to support the Su-25s.

The batch of seven Su-25s includes both single seaters and dual seaters, easing the training of future Iraqi pilots on the type.

This unorthodox transfer greatly increases the combat effectiveness of the IQAF, not only due to the additional seven Su-25s, but also because of the ten experienced Iranian pilots flying the aircraft.

The Su-25s will mainly be armed with unguided rockets, bombs or a mix of them. Although guided weaponry was never supplied to the IRGCAF's Su-25 fleet, the Bina laser-guided missile was recently unveiled and might equip the Iraqi Su-25s in the future, increasing their effectiveness against the fighters of the Islamic State.

Other ex-Iraqi planes now in Iran also seem to be on the Iraqi's wishlist. A deal in which Iran would overhaul the ex-Iraqi Su-22s and return them to Iraq in exchange for the six SU-30Ks ordered by Iraq has also been reported. This would circumvent the arms embargo currently imposed on Iran.

Special thanks to IIAF-JSF and ACIG.

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