Iran’s air force has received a batch of advanced Russian combat trainer jets to “improve the training and combat capability of the air force,” local media reported Saturday.

“A number of Yak-130 training aircraft entered the country and joined the Shahid Babaei Air Base in Isfahan” in central Iran, according to Tasnim news agency.

The agency, quoting the army’s public relations department, said the arrival of the Yakovlev Yak-130 came as part of the Islamic republic’s “arms contracts with the Russian Federation.”

A report by ISNA said the advanced combat trainer aircraft is able to meet the training needs of pilots to learn to fly 4th-generation fighters.

In April, Iran announced that it had finalized a deal to buy Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

Russia and Iran are both under international sanctions that restrict trade, but have over the past year forged strong ties in various sectors including military cooperation.

Ukraine and many of its Western allies have accused Tehran of supplying Moscow with weapons for use in its war against Kyiv.

Iranian drones have been a key element of Russia’s continued war on Ukraine. Tehran has offered a series of contradictory explanations about the drones, first denying it supplied them to Moscow and then claiming it sold drones only before the war began. However, the volume of drones used in the conflict shows a steady supply by Iran of the bomb-carrying weapons in the war.

In May, the United States said Iran and Russia were “expanding their unprecedented defense partnership.”

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at the time that Iran had delivered more than 400 drones to Russia since August last year.

He added that Tehran was seeking to buy attack helicopters, radars and Yak-130 aircraft from Russia.

In June, the White House said Iran was providing Russia with materials to build a drone manufacturing plant east of Moscow as the Kremlin looks to lock in a steady supply of weaponry.

Iran currently has mostly Russian MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets that date back to the Soviet era, as well as some Chinese aircraft, including the F-7.

Some American F-4 and F-5 fighter jets dating back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution are also part of its fleet.

Source » timesofisrael