Belarus has reportedly ordered an additional four ultra-modern Yak-130 Jets from Russia, as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s air space capabilities.
According to Belarus Air Force and Air Defense Forces commander major general Oleg Dvigalev, the country has signed two contracts to acquire Russian Yakolev Yak-130 Mitten trainer / strike aircraft, the BelTA news agency reported.
In addition, Dvigalev confirmed an order for 12 Mil Mi-8MTV-5 Hip helicopters.
With these new deliveries, the country’s fleet of Yak-130 jet will expand to eight.
Belarus received four combat and training aircraft in April under a contract signed in 2012.
Dvigalev was quoted by IHS Jane’s as saying: "Four instructor pilots are already preparing the 116th assault air base to fly the Yak-130.
"About 10 pilots will be prepared this year."
The new Yak-130s are expected to replace the entire Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross in Belorussian service by 2020.
Around 12 L-39ZA aircraft are operated by the Belarusian Air Force’s 1/12 Training Squadron for different stages of pilot training.
Developed by Yakovlev design bureau and manufactured by Irkut, Yak-130 is a swept mid-wing advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft designed to provide basic and advanced training to pilots for flying fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as Sukhoi T-50.
The twin engine aircraft is capable of carrying a combat load of 3,000kg and operating from unpaved runways and airfields.
It can also conduct light-attack and reconnaissance missions at subsonic speeds of 600mph, in all weather conditions.
Image: Belarus will expand its Yak-130 fleet to eight to replace its fleet of L-39 Albatros aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Adrian.