Russia has made significant progress in manufacturing state-of the-art helicopters, which are used for a variety of purposes, Mohammad Hassan Sangtrash, an Iranian weapons designer and researcher of security and defense strategies in international relations, told Sputnik.
The Russian president’s special assistant Igor Levitin recently signaled Russian companies’ readiness for the "joint production of helicopters" with Iran. The Islamic Council of Iran in turn announced the purchase of the Russian-made air defenses, missiles as well as fighter jets and helicopters from Russia.
"The history of the presence of Russian helicopters in Iran dates back to 1998-2000, when Iran's air weapons were tired and sometimes grounded due to the eight-year war with the Baathist regime in Iraq," Sangtrash said.
He added that these helicopters, such as the Mi-17, "were admired by Iranian users due to their low maintenance cost and the variety of missions" the vehicles implemented, including those related to "sensitive operations such as the seizure of Western oil tankers."
When asked what helicopters Iran might buy from Russia, the expert first of all gave kudos to Russia, making great progress in manufacturing such aircraft.
He said that "the variety of Russian helicopters is extraordinary," not ruling out that such copters as the Ka-52 and the Mi-28 "may be used as combat birds in [Iran’s] defense organizations."
Additionally, he pointed to the multi-purpose Mi-26 and Ka-226helicopters, as well as the transport copter K-32 that he said Iran could also acquire.
The expert remained upbeat about the possibility of Russia and Iran implementing programs on creating a joint helicopter. According to him, "There are many [helicopter] projects that two countries can build together," including those related to the possible creation of the Saba-248and the Selahshoor (warrior) helicopters.