Analysis of footage taken from a newly uncovered underground air force base in Iran called "Eagle 44" reveals that the site is likely poised to host advanced Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Iran unveiled what it says is its first underground air force base earlier this month, and the head of the Islamic Republic's military said the area will be among those used to respond to any possible attack by Israel or others. Examining satellite images of the site as well as images released by Iran, the Times report found several clues that Tehran is preparing the base for Su-35 warplanes. Iran has said it wants to buy the jets while significantly increasing its defense coordination with Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine last year. Iran has become a major supplier of weapons to Russia, especially lethal drones. It is believed that Russia was willing to supply 24 fighters to Tehran after the agreement to supply Egypt with the same number failed. Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Get the email By signing up, you agree to the terms The first clue that Eagle 44 is being prepared as a base for the Su-35s was seen in the promotional video and photographs released by Iran. A poster with silhouettes of warplanes is seen inside. The Times said all the silhouettes, except for one belonging to Sukhoi, are of planes currently in the Iranian air force. Possible new #Russian Su 35 warplanes at #Iran's Eagle 44 underground Air Force base. — MilitaryNews February 18, 2023 Advertising Additionally, satellite images of the site show that the Iranians are building a full-scale mock-up of the Su-35, which was likely used to allow the base to accommodate larger dimensions of the Russian jet. "These are likely to be used in the evaluation of permits for aircraft to maneuver through the underground facility and may suggest they will be stationed here," Chris Biggers, a former US government image analyst, told the Times. The report stated that work on the base is likely to continue to prepare for the arrival of the jets, and it was noted that while satellite images show that the existing entrance tunnel is too small for the Su-35, work is underway for a second larger tunnel. Iran opened the base with great fanfare. "Any attack on Iran from our enemies, including Israel, will get a response from our many air bases, including Eagle 44," Iranian Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri told IRNA at the time. IRNA said the Eagle 44 field is one of Iran's most important military facilities and will host warplanes equipped with long-range cruise missiles. Advertising The location of the base was not disclosed as part of Iran's attempts to put its key military and nuclear facilities ahead of potential attacks. However, the New York Times report said the base is located in a mountainous region in southern Iran's Hormuzgan Province, just 100 miles north of the important Strait of Hormuz. He said that the work on the field has been going on for ten years, but the runway construction is new, and it may have been decided to be used at an air base only recently. Analysts also told the Times that it doesn't make much sense to build such a sophisticated base to house Iran's current fleet of obsolete warplanes, so it's likely designed for the new Su-35s. The arrival of the jets, which is expected to arrive later this year, will be "the most significant improvement the country has made to its aging fighter fleet in decades," according to the report. Iran has moved much of its critical military infrastructure underground in recent years. Israel is suspected of carrying out a series of attacks on Iran, including the attack on the underground Natanz nuclear facility, which damaged its centrifuges. Last year, the Iranian military disclosed details about an underground base in the Zagros mountain range, where it says about 100 UAVs are stored. Iran has also shown similar tunnels that serve as storage areas for missiles and drones in the past. Today, the #Iranian regime, celebrating the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, unveiled its first underground Air Force base called "Eagle 44". Another variation of the Bond villain bunker theme we've seen in other IRI underground bases.sWKvibESMD Advertisement — Jason Brodsky February 7, 2023 Last month, a major drone attack was carried out on an important Iranian defense facility in the city of Isfahan. The site hit in the attack was reportedly a weapons production facility for Iran's killer Shahed-136 drones. The attack was one of many attributed to Israel, which has a policy of not commenting on such operations. Iran has threatened retaliation for its reported involvement in Israel's Isfahan attack, and warned Jerusalem not to "play with fire". In his previous term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered multiple attacks on Iranian targets in Syria and operations on Iranian soil. Since Israel generally sees Iran's nuclear as an existential threat, it has been open about its intention to oppose Tehran's nuclear ambitions at all costs.