Moscow and Tehran are currently in negotiations over the redeployment of Russian bombers to the Hamadan airbase in Iran so that they could resume their counterterrorism missions in Syria, Izvestiya reported, citing an unnamed source in military and diplomatic circles. Moscow first sent its planes to the Iranian airstrip in August.
Both countries are said to be planning to adjust the base for the possible deployment.
“It will take a week and Antonov An-124 Ruslan and Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters will have to make dozens of flights to prepare Hamadan to host Russian bombers, Sukhoi Su-34s and Tupolev Tu-22M3s,” the source said.
The scope of work is impressive. Russia will ostensibly have to deploy land-based power-driven aircraft beacons, radio communications sets, fuel servicing trucks, electrical ground power units, avionics control and preflight systems and other land-based equipment.
“The most important step is to deploy enough air-launched weapons and loaders needed to load airborne weapons aboard the planes,” the source noted.
The source added that there is no need to construct special hangars for the planes since weather conditions at the base are good. If need be, these facilities could be erected in one to two weeks.
Russian planes carried out several counterterrorism missions in Syria from Hamadan in mid-August. The deployment lasted approximately a week and was the first of its kind in Iran’s modern history.
Igor Zotov, a member of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee, welcomed the step, saying that “any means, including the redeployment of the Russian Aerospace Forces to Hamadan, are good for counterterrorism.”
“We need to join efforts with other countries fighting against terrorism. If Russia returns to the Iranian base, I think it will be for the best. Hamadan is an airfield that directly affects” these efforts, he told Izvestiya.
Political analyst Sergei Voronin told the daily that Russia and Iran will reach a compromise on Hamadan in the near future.
“There was an issue of misunderstanding that both sides will deal with soon. Iran was not happy that the information on Russia’s deployment to Hamadan was made public in Moscow. In Tehran’s opinion, Iranian leadership was supposed to break the news first or the work had to be done behind closed doors, like before,” he observed.
Some in Iran were said to have been discontent that Russia’s deployment to the base generated extensive media coverage.