After the Iran–Iraq War, the IRIAF was partially rebuilt through limited purchases of MiG-29 fighters and Su-24 bombers from the Soviet Union. While providing needed reinforcement to the Iranian Air Force, these types never replaced the older, U.S.-built F-4 Phantoms, F-14s, or F-5s. Instead, the IRIAF continued its efforts to keep these types in service, and began a number of projects to refurbish and upgrade them.
Maintaining the Mig-29 is easier than some of their fleet because it remains in use in the Russian Air Force. More than 1,600 have been built. Of the 73 ordered, most were cancelled and 24 remain, 18 of them single-seaters. There is an active black market in parts.
It has a max speed of Mach 2.25 and a range of nearly 900 miles. It has a 30mm cannon and can hold up almost four tons of armaments. This includes up to six air-to-air missiles. It was intended to compete with the General Dynamics F-16.