Now that Iran has signed the nuclear deal and international sanctions have been lifted, Tehran has wasted no time in going on a military shopping spree. Last week, Russian defense exporter Rostec confirmed that it had signed a deal with Tehran to sell the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles. A contract for the supply of five S-300 PMU-1 battalions was initially signed in 2007. But it was cancelled in 2010 due to international sanctions.
Iran badly needs to strengthen its tank fleet
Iran is expected to get the same five battalions of the missile systems. Deliveries will begin in 2017. The S-300 systems will help Iran defend its airspace from hostile aircraft. But the country is likely to pursue an even more aggressive military modernization as investments start flowing in the country. In August, Fars news agency reported that it had signed a contract with Russia to jointly manufacture Kamov helicopters. National Interest identifies give Russian weapons that the Iranians could buy to strengthen their military.
First off, the Iranian army badly needs to modernize its tank force, and the Russian T-90 is a good option. Iran currently has about 2,000 tanks, but most of them are at least two decades old. Buying 1,000 or so T-90 tanks could infuse a new life in Iran’s depleting tank force.
Next is the Klub anti-ship missile. In the past, the country has used Chinese Silkworm missiles to threaten shipping in the Persian Gulf. Buying the Klub anti-ship missiles would allow Iran to gain superiority in the Persian Gulf and even close the Straights of Hormuz. The turbofan-powered Klub missiles have a range of 186 miles, and they can even be launched from camouflaged platforms.
Iran has expressed interest in Sukhoi Su-30
Another Russian weapon that Iran may be interested in is the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker. Iran is desperate to match the high-tech air power of the US, Israel, or Saudi Arabia. And Su-35 is a lethal combination of range, maneuverability, and power. It was designed to fill the gap in Russian Air Force until the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA were inducted into service. However, Iran has expressed interest in twin-seater Sukhoi-30.
Iran has a long coastline. In the event of war, it would need capable ships to transport troops and equipment across the Persian Gulf and land them in the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar, or Kuwait. And Russia’s Ivan Gren-class tank landing ships could be an attractive option for Iran. With a displacement of 5,000 tons, it can transport up to 300 troops, 36 armored personnel carriers, and thirteen 60-ton tanks.