A batch of two Russian-made Yakovlev Yak-130 trainer aircraft has been introduced into service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).
The Islamic Republic tends to rely on its domestic defense industrial base for most of its military needs. But in some areas, including fixed-wing jets, Tehran has turned to Russia and China for a bit of support.
Iranian officials and commanders have yet to fill in the details, like when the jets arrived, or how many Iran expects to get in total. Media say two delivered jets are undergoing testing at the 8th Tactical Air Force Base outside Isfahan, central Iran.
The Yak-130 is a twin-seat trainer, reconnaissance and light combat aircraft designed to simulate the features of 4+ and 5th generation combat aircraft, both of Russian and NATO aircraft.
This includes, from the Sukhoi Su-30 and Mikoyan MiG-29, to the F-15 and F-16, Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, and even the Su-57, F-22, and F-35.
The jets feature a full digital class cockpit, four-channel fly-by-wire system, helmet-mounted sighting system, and dual GPS/GLONASS navigation system.
Combined, the features allow pilots to familiarize themselves with the systems of the latest military aircraft. The Yak-130’s weapons mount includes nine hard points, which can be fitted with missiles and external fuel tanks.
The jet has a total combat load capacity of about 3,000 kg, and an interception rate of up to 60 km. The plane does not have an internal cannon, but can carry external gun-pods.
The jet has a maximum range of up to 2,100 km, and a combat range of about 555 km, and is designed to fly at subsonic speeds approaching Mach 1, with a service ceiling of about 12.5 km.
It is powered by twin Ivchenko-Progress Al-222-25 turbofan engines mounted under extended wing roots.
Iran has a long history of cooperation with Russia in the field of military aviation, with the IRIAF’s current arsenal including MiG-29 fighters, Su-22 fighter bombers, Sukhoi Su-24 tactical bombers and Ilyushin Il-76 strategic heavy-lifters.
The country also possesses older F-14’s, F-4 and F-5 jets, left over from Iranian-US military cooperation from the days before the Iranian Revolution, plus Chengdu J-7 fighters from China, and several home-grown light aircraft and fighters, including the HESA Saeqeh and HESA Kowsar.
The Yak-130 has been in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces since the early 2010s, and exported to about half-a-dozen countries worldwide, including Belarus, Algeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.
The Islamic Republic recently launched production of a new combined trainer/close air support jet known as the Yasin earlier this year.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.