Warplanes: Russia Places The Big Order

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December 13, 2011: Six years after deciding to adopt the Yak-130 as its new advanced jet trainer, Russia has finally placed a substantial order for 55 of the aircraft. Three years ago, Russia ordered a dozen and said it was going to order a lot more. But the global recession intervened and a shortage of money delayed the big buy until now. The new Yak-130s will be delivered over the next four years. This is just in time because the existing Cold War era L-29 and L-39 trainers are rapidly falling apart. This big order also means that Russia is serious about increasing pilot quality.

The Russian Air Force received its first Yak-130s two years ago. Deliveries to the first export customer, Algeria, began last year. Production of the Yak-130 began four years ago. So far, the Russian Air Force has bought 67. Algeria has ordered 16. The Russian Air Force says it will eventually buy another 200 of them to equip four regiments of light attack aircraft. That pledge is still unconfirmed.

The Yak-130 is capable of performing many of the tricky maneuvers of Russia's top fighters (like the Su-27, MiG-29, and many modern Western fighters). It can also perform as a light bomber. The nine ton aircraft has a max speed of 1,000 kilometers an hour and a flight lifetime of 10,000 hours in the air. The pilot instructor and trainee sit one behind the other and two engines make it a safer aircraft to fly. The Yak-130 can carry an external load of three tons (of bombs, missiles, or fuel tanks). Max range, on internal fuel, is 2,000 kilometers. Russia is selling the aircraft to foreign customers for about $15 million.

 


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