Russia Tech Helped Iran Track U.S. F-35s in Soleimani Stand Off, Company Claims

The CEO of a Russian technology firm has claimed that his company's radar product enabled the Iranian military to identify and track American stealth fighter jets during the standoff that followed the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani in January.

Alexander Stuchilin, the CEO of the Rezonans research center, told Russia's state-backed Tass news agency Monday Iranian forces used the Rezonans-NE radar system to track American F-35 aircraft; fifth generation jets that are the most advanced in the U.S. arsenal.

"At the beginning of 2020 this radar identified U.S. F-35 planes and tracked them," Stuchilin claimed on the sidelines of the Army-2020 military technology forum in Moscow.

"The radar's personnel were transmitting information, including the routes of F-35 flights," he added. "For this reason, the opponent did not commit any irreparable actions that might have caused a big war."

Stuchilin did not provide any evidence to support the assertion. Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon to request comment on Stuchilin's claim.

Stuchilin said he was talking about the "well-known events of the beginning of this year," Tass reported, a reference to the days after the U.S. assassinated Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad.

Stuchilin added that the Rezonans-NE radar has been in constant combat service in Iran for several years. Specialist military tech website Globalsecurity.org has reported that Iran has at least four Rezonans radars purchased from Russia.

Solemani was the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' clandestine Quds Force, a close confidante of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and widely considered the second most powerful figure in the regime.

Soleimani was credited with masterminding Iran's foreign military policy, funding, arming and directing proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere. His supporters framed him as a war hero who was instrumental in defeating Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, while his detractors branded him a terrorist and war criminal responsible for thousands of deaths.

The Trump administration has also blamed Soleimani for the deaths of hundreds of occupying American soldiers in Iraq, where Iran trained and armed militias fighting the U.S. and its allies.

His killing—branded unlawful by a United Nations investigator—was a major escalation in the simmering U.S.-Iran conflict that has bubbled through Trump's time in office. The strike came after weeks of tensions in Iraq, where Iranian-backed militias regularly launch attacks on U.S. personnel and interests.

The Trump administration has repeatedly claimed it killed Soleimani to prevent imminent attacks on U.S. personnel, but has still offered no evidence to support the assertion. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again celebrated Soleimani's death in his address to the Republican National Convention.

Iran eventually retaliated with ballistic missile strikes on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops, wounding more than 100 service members. Soon after, Iranian troops accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane over Tehran after mistaking it for an American military aircraft, killing all 176 people on board.

F-35, Iran, Russia, US, Qassem Soleimani, radar
This file photo shows F-35B fighter jets during the joint Cobra Gold exercise in the coastal Thai province of Rayong on February 28, 2020. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images/Getty