Russia’s Yak-130 Trainer & Light Attack Jets
August 28/17: The Nigerian Ministry of Defense is looking at further procurements of Russian weaponry to help it tackle the insurgency of the jihadist militant group, Boko Haram. Items being viewed include new rifles, armored vehicles, MiG fighters and the Yak-130. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Army Games-2017, Nigerian Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said that after having a look at potential new equipment, they will “look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations” upon the delegation’s return to Nigeria. Abuja already has ordered 12 Mi-35 helicopters from Russian helicopters, with two models already delivered.
Russia’s air force (VVS) aged badly in the wake of the Cold War, and the recapitalization drought soon made itself felt in all areas. One of those areas involved advanced jet trainers, which form the last rung on the ladder before assignment to fighters. Russia’s Czech-made L-29 and L-39 trainers were left with questionable access to spare parts, and a competition that began in the 1990s finally saw Yakolev’s Yak-130 collaboration with Italy’s Finmeccanica beat the MiG-AT in 2002. Unfortunately, Russian budget realities allowed orders for just a dozen early production Yak-130s, even as the VVS’s L-39 fleet dwindled drastically.
The Yak-130’s multi-mission capabilities in training, air policing, and counterinsurgency make it an attractive option for some customers beyond Russia. Initial export successes helped keep Yak-130 production going in those early years, mostly via a confirmed order from Algeria (16). In December 2011, however, Russia finally placed a significant order that got production started in earnest. Russia continues to promote the aircraft abroad, and now that the plane’s future is secure, interest and orders are picking up…
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