MAKS 2017 old

New life of Russian Falcons; the MiG-35s of the Russian Air Force

by Babak Taghvaee

Financial problems of Russia never let the Russian Air Force retire all of its MiG-29 product 9-12s and 9-13s after the end of their 20 years calendar life in the years between 2006 and 2011. While it was planned to replace them with more advanced MiG-29M and MiG-29MS which their development had been started in mid-1980’s, the ageing MiG-29s of Russian Air Force were kept in service by means of slight upgrades and life time extension. But it was a temporary solution and even procurement of MiG-29SMTs was not meeting the needs of Russian Air Force to a more capable 4++ Generation Modern Multi Role Combat Aircraft to take place of the current MiG-29s of Russian Air Force. Finally, the MiG-35, the newest member of the MiG-29 family is now seen as the sole and best option as future light MMRCA of the air force. It is currently planned to replace the current fleet of 119 airworthy MiG-29s of Russian Air Force including 76 examples manufactured between 1986 and 1991 with 170 MiG-35s in the years between 2019 and 2030.

The first MiG-35 prototype with 154 BLUE side number which was previously a MiG-29M2 and then was converted
to a MiG-29KUB prototype can be seen here armed with inert weapons for a photo shoot in August 2007.

Retirement of the RuAF MiG-29s
In use for Training
Hunchbacks of Khalino
MiG-35, a replacement for MiG-29
New MiG-35 prototypes
The Future of the MiG-35 in the RuAF

Kowsar 88; Iran’s future Advanced Jet Trainers

by Babak Taghvaee

Its design and development began in 2009, the first prototype of the Iranian domestically designed Kowsar-88 advanced jet trainer was finally unveiled during a ceremony in Iranian Helicopter Support and Renewal Company (IHSRC) at Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran on 15th April 2017, while Iranian Minister of Defense, Gen. Hossein Dehghan and President Hassan Rouhani were present. During MAKS-2017, Iranian Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) represented Kowsar-88 officially to international visitors. Also, authorities of the IAIO negotiated JSC Slut, the Russian manufacturer of the AI-222-25F Turbofan engines which are now being used by Yak-130 advanced jet trainer to procure 100 examples of that for fifty Kowsar-88s during MAKS-2017.


In 1980, when the Iran-Iraq war was started, the IRIAF started training of new pilots but in a smaller scale of the Shah-era Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) days. The Iranian Air Force’s training system had not still become independent and more than half of the Beechcraft F.33C Bonanzas of the air force which had been procured before the revolution for primary flight training purposes were still unassembled, forced the air force to temporarily operate F.33As of the CATC (Civil Aviation Training Center) for primary flight training in Qale Morghi.

The very capable Beechcraft Bonanza F.33C is used for both training and, quite often, acrobatic displays

For advanced flight training courses, the cadets were being sent to Pakistan to be flown with T-37 and T-33 until 1986. But in-order to have a fully independent training system, IRIAF obtained PC-7C Turbotrainers from Swiss Pilatus aircraft manufacturer to be used for Undergraduate Pilot Training, while F.33Cs were assembled in Parastoo hangar of Dowshan-Tappeh airfield where IRIAF HQ was located in Tehran to be used for fully domestic Primary Pilot Training in 1984 and 1985.

IRIAF started manufacturing domestic copy of F.33C Bonanza named Parastoo in 1986 and also restored eight T-33As and two RT-33As for use for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) between 1986 and 1990, while RF-5As and F-5Bs of 11th TRS (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron) and 11th CCTS (Combat Command Training Squadron) were specified to plan for formation of the first advanced pilot and weapon school of IRIAF in 7th TFB (Tactical Fighter Base), Shiraz in 1986.

Because of availability of only 11 F-5Bs for advanced flight training purposes of the newly established 71st CCTS in Shiraz, the HESA/IAMI (Iranian Aircraft Manufacturing Industries) company was contracted by IRIAF to convert a series of its RF-5As and recently procured Ethiopian F-5As to twin seater F-5Bs during project “Simorgh” via PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) assistant. In the years between 1989 and 2009, total eleven F-5B Simorghs were delivered IRIAF which was still not enough to meet the needs of the force to an advanced jet trainer.

From the Dorna to Tazarv
Project Ya-Hossein shot-down
Project Kowsar 88