Iran finalizes deal to buy Russian fighter jets.

Iran has finalized preparations for the purchase of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and helicopters, the Iranian Deputy Defense Minister told the Tasnim news agency yesterday, at a time when Tehran and Moscow are strengthening their military relations.

The Iranian Air Force has only a few dozen attack aircraft, including Russian jets and older American models acquired before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Plans have been finalized for Sukhoi Su-35 fighters, Mil Mi-28 attack helicopters and Yak-130 training aircraft to join the combat units of the Iranian army,” said Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Mehdi Farahi.

Tasnim’s report did not include any Russian confirmation of the deal.

In 2018, Iran said it had begun production of the locally designed Kowsar fighter for use in its air force. Military experts believe the plane is a carbon copy of the F-5, first produced in the United States in the 1960s.

Iran has not acquired any new fighter jets in recent years, excluding some Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters it bought in the 1990s, but it has the most powerful helicopter fleet in the region in terms of quantity and has improved military capabilities after carrying out several projects.

Iran and Russia have signed important agreements to increase their economic, commercial, energy and military cooperation.

In September, the Iranian Air Force received its first Russian-made Yak-130 training aircraft. Developed by Yakovlev and Aermacchi of Russia, the Yakovlev Yak-130 is a two-seat subsonic training aircraft and light combat aircraft.

The advanced aircraft would allow Iranian military pilots to receive training in the operation of 4+ and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as the Sukhoi Su-57.