The Iranian Air Force is considering the use of the Yasin jet trainer in the light attack role.
In an interview with Iranian state TV over the weekend, Amir Karim Bani Tarafi, the Chairman of the Iran Aviation Industry Organization, said the Air Force is examining the prospect of using Yasin for close air support missions (CAS). He said, “At present, the plane only has a training function, but it can be in the future completed and equipped with bombs and missiles and be used as a CAS plane.”
He added that the Air Force is assessing its requirements, suggesting that the Air Force would typically require between three and four squadrons with 16 jets each, or a total of 48 to 64 aircraft.
A number of countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, have begun putting light aircraft into use for strike missions. While the aircraft would be vulnerable to enemy air-defenses or air-to-air missiles, they can be useful in carrying out counterinsurgency operations in environments where enemy militants are lacking suitable anti-aircraft capabilities.
It is not immediately clear when Yasin will be ready to enter service or how long it might take to equip and test the aircraft with armaments. Iran has not publicly disclosed the size of an initial order for the aircraft.
Bani Tarafi noted that the Iranian defense industry faced some challenges in producing the jet engine for the Yasin. But he claims that the problem has been resolved, and that the engine is now in mass production. Yasin was shown off in a ceremony at Shahid Noje airbase earlier this month, where it made its first test flight.
Yasin appears to be the new designation for the Kowsar-88, a trainer aircraft that was shown off in 2017 and was supposed to make its first test flight last year, but never did. The IAIO chairman’s comments shed some light on a possible reason for the delay in testing.