Yak-130 jet

Irkut has signed a contract with the Belarusian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the production and delivery of the Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft.

Covering the delivery of four aircraft, the contract forms part of the agreement on the development of military-technical cooperation signed between Russia and the Republic of Belarus in December 2009.

The milestone also makes Belarus the first among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to acquire the Yak-130 combat aircraft.

Developed by Yakovlev design bureau, the Yak-130 is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft designed to train pilots in flying advanced fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, including the Sukhoi T-50.

Capable of carrying a maximum combat payload of 3t, the aircraft can also be configured to carry out light-attack and reconnaissance missions at subsonic speeds of 600mph, in all weather conditions.

The aircraft is equipped with advanced digital avionics, full digital glass cockpit, quadruplex-channel digital fly-by-wire system (FBWS) and instructor controlled and variable FBW handling characteristics and embedded simulation.

Additional components include head-up-display (HUD), helmet-mounted-sighting-system (HMSS), with a double GPS/GLONASS receiver, as well as a combat training suite featuring simulated and real air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bombs, guns and on-board self-protection systems.

The aircraft initially entered service with the Russian Air Force in July 2009, and has also been ordered by the air forces of Algeria, Libya, Syria and Vietnam.

Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to complete by 2015.

The Belarusian Air Force also operates other Russian-built aircraft, including MiG-29 fighters, Su-25 bombers, as well as the Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 attack helicopters.

Image: A Yak-130 combat aircraft during its flight. Photo: file image.