Russia’s Yak-130 Trainer & Light Attack Jets
January 30/20: Vietnamese Order Vedomosti is reporting that Vietnam has placed an order for at least 12 Yak-130 jet trainers. The contract is reportedly worth $350 million. The article added that the jets will be assigned to the 915th aviation training regiment. Previously, at the International Air and Marine Exhibition (LIMA-2017), the Vietnamese high-level military delegation had visited the site of the Yak-130 combat training ground. This is the type of aircraft that has been rumored by the Russian and international media that Vietnam is planning to buy. The Yak-130 combat trainer was selected as the winner of the trainer competition of the Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily, Russian Federation Air Force, in April 2002. The aircraft is also actively marketed for export by Yakovlev, the Irkut company, and by Rosoboronexport. The Yak-130 is of classical swept-wing and empennage monoplane design and light alloy construction with carbon-fibre control surfaces. Kevlar armour protection is fitted to the engines, cockpit and avionics compartment.
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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