The Russian air force has selected the Yakovlev design bureau's Yak-130 to serve as its new advanced jet trainer, and has placed an initial order for 12 examples from a potential requirement for 150. Chosen in preference to the RSK MiG-AT, the twin-turbofan-powered Yak-130 has a 9t maximum take-off weight, including a 3t external payload.
First deliveries are expected to be made to Russia this year, despite a brief programme setback caused by the crash of its third prototype aircraft last July following a malfunction with its digital flight-control system.
Yakovlev has expanded its flight-test activities using its remaining two prototypes and an initial production example to make up for lost time, and the company still expects to deliver its first of 16 Yak-130s to launch export customer Algeria in the second quarter of 2008. Additional export prospects include Ghana, Libya, Syria and Venezuela, according to Yakovlev.
The Yak-130 effort was initially run as a joint project with Italian industry, and the Russian design formed the basis for Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 platform, which is now in the running to meet the training needs of the United Arab Emirates and also favoured for the nine-nation Eurotraining programme.
The Yak-130 is also being promoted by Russia's Rosoboronexport export agency as a light combat aircraft, while Yakovlev is considering the platform's potential as an unmanned air vehicle.
Source: Flight International