Warplanes: July 17, 2005

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Russia has decided to standardize on the Yak-130 jet trainer, and will buy over 200 of them. This aircraft first flew ten years ago, but the Russian air force could not afford to buy it. When money became available in the last few years, there developed a further complication. Another Russian manufacturer had a trainer, the MiG-AT. Political influence was deployed and it wasnt until this year that the air force generals were able to get permission to go forward with the Yak-130 purchase. This aircraft is capable to performing many of the tricky maneuvers of Russias top fighters (like the Su-27, MiG-29 and many modern Western fighters). The Yak-130 can also perform as a light bomber. The 8.5 ton aircraft has a max speed of 1,000 kilometers an hour and a flight lifetime of 10,000 hours. The Yak-130 can carry an external load of three tons (of bombs, missiles or fuel tanks). Max range, on internal fuel, is 2200 kilometers. Russia is selling the aircraft to foreign customers for about $15 million. The Yak-130 replaces the 1960s era L-29 (and a 1970s upgrade, the L-39). The Russian air force will receive its first twelve Yak-130s in 2007.

 


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