Iran has finalized a deal with Russia for the delivery of advanced fighter jets and attack helicopters, Iran’s deputy defense minister told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on November 28.
“Plans have been finalized for Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters and Yak-130 jet trainers to join the combat units of Iran’s Army,” Brigadier General Mehdi Farahi said.
Brig. Gen. Farahi added that three advanced aircraft will be definitely at Iran’s disposal and the processes are currently underway.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) has only a few dozen strike aircraft, including Soviet-era fighter jets as well as aging United States-made models acquired before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In April, Iran announced that it had finalized a deal to buy Su-35 fighter jets from Russia. Under the deal, the IRIAF is supposed to receive a total of 24 Su-35s which were originally built for Egypt as a part of a contract that was thwarted by the U.S.
Sukhoi designed the Su-35 to engage all types of aerial targets in long and close ranged air battles as well as to attack ground and sea-surface targets including those covered by air defenses and located far behind the frontline.
Later in September, Iran received a first batch of Yak-130 training and light combat jets from Russia. The delivery marked the first time new jets entered service with the IRIAF since the 1990s, when Iran received a few MiG-29s from Russia.
The Yak-130 was originally designed by Yakovlev for training missions. As an advanced trainer, the jet is able to replicate the characteristics of several fourth-generation and fifth-generation fighters, including the Su-35. The jet can also perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties.
Unlike the Su-35 and Yak-130, there were no reports about Iran purchasing Mi-28 attack helicopters before Brig. Gen. Farahi announcement.
The Mi-28, designed by Mil, is an all-weather, day-night, military tandem, two-seat anti-armor attack helicopter. It carries a single gun in an under-nose barbette, plus external loads carried on pylons beneath stub wings.
Russian-Iranian military cooperation grew significantly in the last few years. Washington claims that Tehrna supplied Moscow with hundreds of suicide and combat drones in the last few months for use in the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.