Skip to comments.Iran and Russia Send Sukhois to Iraq
Posted on 07/03/2014 7:07:33 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Efforts by Iraqs embattled Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to urgently acquire combat aircraft to assist with the battle against Isis rebels have already born fruit in the form of Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft from Russia and Iran.
A video posted by the Iraqi ministry of defense on June 28 showed aircraft from a batch of five from Russian stocks being offloaded in Iraq after being air-freighted to the Imam Ali air base near Nasiriyah in Antonov An-124s. This first batch of Su-25s was hastily refurbished at the 121st ARZ workshop at Kubinka, where the aircraft were given a large Iraqi red/white/black fin-flash before delivery. While one of the aircraft seen so far appears to be a standard Russian air force aircraft, at least one other is an export-standard Su-25K.
On July 1 another video was posted showing the arrival at Imam Ali by air of a second batch of Su-25s. These aircraft have come from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC, Pasdaran), which reportedly sent ground troops from its special operations Quds Force to Iraq in mid-June. Aircraft identified so far are two single-seat Su-25KMs serialed 51 and 56, and a two-seat Su-25UBKM serialed 58. According to the Iraqi ministry the second batch comprised five aircraft, but other reports suggest that seven IRGC aircraft (four Su-25KMs and three Su-25UBKMs) have been dispatched to Iraq.
Increasingly close ties between the Shia governments in Baghdad and Tehran have generated some remarks that Iran is prepared to hand back more of the aircraft it assimilated into its own force at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, when numerous Iraqi aircraft sought sanctuary in Iran. Seven Iraqi Su-25s were flown to Iran, later joined by three more aircraft to form a squadron in the IRGC Aerospace Force. The aircraft were upgraded with Georgian assistance. As well as the Su-25s, it is possible that Su-24 Fencers and Dassault Mirage F1s could also be returned to Iraq. Rumors that six Su-30Ks will be supplied by Russia to Iran as part of the overall deal remain pure speculation for the time being.
Iraq has four pilots in the air force with Su-25 experience, although it is unlikely there is any maintenance experience surviving. Although not confirmed, it is likely that the Sukhois are being serviced by personnel from Iran, which is also reported to have provided 10 pilots. Unconfirmed reports also suggest that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has been operating its own aircraft (Su-24 Fencers and/or F-4 Phantoms) on anti-Isis missions over Iraq since June 21.
In the meantime, Iraqs combat helicopter force has borne the brunt of the aerial fighting against Isis forces. The country has a sizeable fleet of weapons-capable rotary-wing platforms, including Airbus Helicopters Gazelles and EC635s, Bell IA-407s, and Mil Mi-8/17s and Mi-35Ms from Russia. The latter have only recently been delivered, and have been extensively used in attacks, notably during the fighting for the Baiji oil refinery. Iraq has ordered Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunters, and while the first of these has been completed and photographed in Russia, it is not thought any have been delivered yet.
They have them but can they fly them without crashing?
“Iraq has four pilots in the air force with Su-25 experience,...”
Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim, so you can trust that his officer corp and certainly his pilots were Sunni Muslim -otherwise he risked a disgruntle Shiite pilot defecting or worse bombing his palace. (There was one instance of a Iraqi pilot, closet Christian, defecting to Israel with a Mig 21 in the 70’s.)
So now will Maliki (Shiite) trust a Saddam era pilot who’s likely a Sunni to attack ISIS (Sunni)? Not likely and for the same reasons as Saddam.
But the Russian pilots with spray-on tans that came with them can.
Well that just suks.
At this point the Iraq Government—what is left of it—will take all the help they can get as Al Baghdadi puts pressure on the capital. The IS is well organized, savage, motivated and will move against the corrupt government —it is a problem of their own making. Let it fall! Pull out NOW while we have a chance or let our people be captured and decapitated.
The SU-25 is similar to but not like the A-10. It’s a ground attack aircraft. Unless Russian pilots immediately begin flying sorties, it will be a few months before the planes are flying with effect.