It would have made complete sense for Iran to go with the JF17s years ago but at this point, setting up production plants themselves will take many years. Many more years before even the First thunder gets off the assembly line.I suggest Iran consider cooperating with Pakistan to upgrade and manufacture JF17, purchase and introduce JF17 production line.
On the one hand, JF17 can replace about 250 F1, F4, F5, F6 and F7 fighters.
On the one hand, strengthen diplomatic relations with Pakistan through cooperation. A stable and reliable fighter production line can also be obtained.
Iran can purchase Su30SM2 to replace 55 F14 and form a Russian fighter team with 30 MiG29A& 55 Su30SM2.
Iran should also consider investing in 5G fighter project. It is suggested to consider joining AZM projects, or J31.
It is not appropriate to rely on only one country's fighters. Iran should completely abandon Western fighters and obtain fighters from Russia and China at the same time, and invest in their own fighter production and research.
Iran can even consider cooperating with Pakistan to produce SD10 and PL15E.
I think for now the only realistic options for Iran is the SU35 and J10. They may go with a small batch of Su35 (24-36) and maybe a few dozen J10s (50?). Apart from that the best option would be to scale up production of their F5 replicas and possibly equip them with modern miniture AESA and other avionics. Even a hundred of such fighters could serve as force multipliers. Ideally IIAF would need:
- 36 SU35
- 50 J10
- 24 F14 Tomcats
- 30 Mig29s