Russia is planning to hand over the first batch of Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft to the Syrian Air Force by the end of 2014.
A source close to Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport was quoted by Kommersant newspaper as saying that a total of nine aircraft will be delivered to Damascus by the year end, followed by 12 and 15, respectively, in the next two years.
"Thus, we will fulfill obligations under a previously signed contract for the supply of 36 Yak-130 jets," the source added.
Syria had already made an advanced payment of $100m to Moscow for the first batch of six Yak-130 fighter jets under a contract signed in December 2011, as reported earlier by the news paper.
However, the delivery schedule might be altered in the wake of the worsening political situation in Syria and the US and Nato’s efforts to prevent arms shipments to the war-torn country.
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Russia has constantly maintained that it supplies only defensive weapons to Syria, which has been facing an internal armed conflict since March 2011, without violating international law, reported RIA Novosti.
Developed by Yakovlev design bureau, the Yak-130 is a subsonic, swept mid-wing advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft and is designed to provide basic and advanced training to pilots for flying fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as Sukhoi T-50.
Capable of carrying a combat load of 3,000kg and operating from unpaved runways and airfields, the twin engine aircraft can also conduct light-attack and reconnaissance missions at subsonic speeds of 600mph, in all weather conditions.
Currently operational with the Russian and Algerian air forces, the aircraft has also been ordered by Bangladesh, Libya and Vietnam.
Image: A Russian Yak-130 fighter aircraft at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show in UK. Photo: courtesy of Adrian.