Russia's air force has confirmed its selection of the Yakovlev Yak-130 over the RSK MiG-AT for its advanced trainer requirement. It has also chosen the Sukhoi Su-49 over the Yakovlev Yak-152 for a piston-powered basic trainer requirement.

"Yakovlev with the Yak-130 did a better job in meeting the air force requirements for a combat trainer than RSK MiG with the MiG AT," says Gen Anatoly Maksimov, Russian air force head of training.

He adds that the selection committee has "recommended to the Russian air force commander the selection of the Su-49 for screening and initial training, and the Yak-130 for advanced training, combat training and weapons release training. This will also include the use of guided munitions."

Sukhoi and Yakovlev are due to receive money from the 2003state budget in order to proceed with the Su-49 and Yak-130programmes. Maksimov says that "$80-150 million" is needed to build "a sufficient number" of Su-49s for "all our training regiments", and service introduction will be "fairly quick".

Yakovlev plans to continue Yak-152 development using company funds. It is aiming to build a demonstrator this year and two more airframes in 2003.

Although the Yak-130 has been selected, no firm orders will be placed as the existing fleet of Aero Vodochody L-39 trainers "will be sufficient until 2010".

The air force intends to fund Yak-130 development so production can start "between 2006 and 2010" with the trainer becoming operational "in 2010-15".

Source: Flight International