Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA July-August 2017 Contents 16 DefenceReviewAsia | JULY/AUG 2017
INDIA AND IRAN
Located further west, India and Iran are long-
standing customers for Russian equipment with
a few things in common between them. Both
countries put a premium on local production of
selected Russian equipment under license. At
HeliRussia’2017 in May, Iran Helicopter Support
and Renewal Company (IHSRC), also known by
its Farsi acronym PANHA, signed a framework
agreement with Russian Helicopters on license
production of an unnamed lightweight helicopter.
It can be either Kazan Helicopters’ Ansat or the
With that, Iran follows India’s example with the
Ka-226T, whose local production was agreed in
principle last year. New Delhi and Moscow are
now in the process of settling down various things
regarding their joint venture that would see to
the realisation of that project. Iran is also looking
towards India in relation to the Sukhoi Su-30MK
multirole fighter. It wants to set up a local assembly
line as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited did.
Both Iran and India operate Mi-17 helicopters,
with New Delhi seeking to buy a follow-on batch of
48 such rotorcraft from the Kazan Helicopters plant.
The contract is expected to be signed later this
year. India operates six Project 11356 frigates and
has repeatedly declared its interest in an additional
batch. A firm contract is expected later this year.
It would follow a preliminary agreement already in
place, calling for a “2 plus 2” solution. The first pair
would come from Russia, and the following ones
to be made in India - although New Delhi is slow
in choosing a suitable dockyard. Pipavav (a part of
the Reliance Group) is largely viewed as the front
runner. This fact is yet to be confirmed by an official
decision from the Indian government.
However, not all plans to join forces with
Russia have proved successful. The ill-fated
Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) is an example.
The MTA was to have a payload capability of
15-20 tons but Russian sources admit that the
project is frozen. Another important project, the
Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) has
also been stuck. However, that one is likely to
get through - and Defense minister Arun Jaitley
has recently assured the Russian side that “all
decisions necessary” for reinvigorating the FGFA
development will be taken shortly.
Although Iran remains under UN sanctions, their
terms will expire within five years of signing the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the
signing took place in July 2015). This will open the
way to supply that country with offensive weapons.
Defensive weapons were never banned for export
into Iran. Russia has shipped S-300MPU-2
‘Favorite’ long-range SAMs to Iran. During large
military exercises held recently, these systems
successfully downed a number of target drones.
Meanwhile, Iran resumed its oil trade worldwide and
signed a deal with Moscow under which it may pay
with oil for equipment. It must be noted that Russia
does not recognize any other sanctions on Iran
except for those imposed by the United Nations.
Moscow blames Washington for imposing sanctions
on Tehran “which go far beyond those suggested by
the international community”.
Rostec says Moscow never stopped trade with
Tehran, only adjusted it to U.N. resolutions. Russian
companies have been active in Iran, signing various
deals. For instance, Rostec won a government
contract for construction of two thermal plants for
electric power generation (two Gigawatts each),
and the reconstruction of two existing ones. This
project is facilitated by the Russian government,
which provided a credit line worth US $1 billion.
Previously, Russia completed a nuclear power plant
in Bushehr and is working to add more reactors
for higher power output. Moscow and Tehran have
also resumed a project on the local assembly of
KAMAZ trucks (suitable for military service) and is
negotiating a similar deal on Lada cars. Additionally,
Russian Helicopters is to open a service center to
serve Iranian Mi-17s.
India and Iran provide an example of one
Asian country following the example of its
close neighbor, who committed to a large-scale
military and industrial cooperation with Moscow.
The Persians are carefully studying the Indian
Malaysian MiG-29s fly in formation over the South
China Sea. Credit: CoA / Cameron Cornell
22/06/2017 1:12 PM
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