The Russian defence ministry's Valery Chkalov main flight-test centre, GLITs, has cleared the Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer for service entry with the Russian air force.

The loss of the third Yak-130 prototype during flight testing on 26 July 2006 resulted in a six-month delay to the aircraft's certification, which was originally scheduled for May.

The flight-test programme did not reveal the need for any modifications to the Yak-130's airframe or systems to meet the air force's specification for its future fighter trainer, says GLITs chief Gen Yuri Tregubenkov.


©Vladimir Karnozov 
 No modifications were necessary


The approval enables the Russian air force to accept two production Yak-130s as planned in 2008.

The next step in the flight testing will be to achieve Russian defence ministry certification of the Yak-130 in the combat trainer role, which calls for use of guided and unguided weapons.

Trials are due to start early next year at GLITs. Both surviving aircraft have been ferried from the GLITs base and firing range in Akhtubinsk, southern Russia to Zhukovsky near Moscow for modifications.

Combat trainer certification is unlikely to be achieved before 2009 as it requires flights using Russian air force aircraft, which will not be available until late 2008.

Both surviving prototypes belong to the Yakovlev design bureau and differ from the air force standard in having no weapons aiming systems. The aircraft lost last year belonged to the air force.

The NAZ Sokol plant in Nizhny Novgorod aims to deliver two production Yak-130s to the air force in 2008 and further 10 in 2009. They are earmarked for the Kachinskoye fighter pilot training school.

Source: Flight International