Yak-130 for In­dia?

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With the JSC IRKUT Cor­po­ra­tion re­cently hand­ing over an ini­tial batch of six Yak-130 com­bat train­ers to the Rus­sian Air force, the com­pany is weigh­ing in­ter­est from In­dia in the trainer that’s be­ing moulded into a light-weight fighter. The Rus­sian con­tract signed in 2011 in­volves the de­liv­ery of 55 train­ers to the Rus­sian Air Force by 2015. On Oc­to­ber 5, pi­lots of Borisoglebsk train­ing cen­tre of the Rus­sian Air Force fer­ried three Yak-130s from Irkutsk avi­a­tion plant to the Borisoglebsk base.

Oleg Dem­chenko, Pres­i­dent of JSC IRKUT Cor­po­ra­tion, noted: “Our com­pany will con­tinue in­creas­ing the pro­duc­tion rate of com­bat air­craft within the state de­fence or­der. Now, to­gether with the Sukhoi De­sign Bureau we are test­ing new Su-30SM multi-role fight­ers with pi­lot’s train­ing func­tions. In 2012 IRKUT plans to trans­fer the first batch of air­craft this type to the Rus­sian Min­istry of De­fence”.

Rus­sian De­fence Min­is­ter Ana­toly Serdyukov, who was re­cently in Delhi, said, “Equip­ping the Air Force with Yak-130 air­craft al­low achiev­ing a de­sired level of pi­lot’s train­ings to han­dle new gen­er­a­tion com­bat fight­ers, which are to be mass pro­cured by the Mil­i­tary De­part­ment.” It is not clear just where in­ter­est in the Yak-130 could pos­si­bly spring from in the In­dian con­text.

It is well known that the Yak-130 air­craft was of­fered for an IAF re­quire­ment for jet train­ers in 2008, but was ren­dered in­el­i­gi­ble as it hadn’t com­pleted eval­u­a­tion tri­als in Rus­sia (the IAF sub­se­quently de­cided to or­der more BAE Hawk Mk.132 ad­vanced jet train­ers). The Yak-130 has since com­pleted all tri­als and is now fully op­er­a­tional with the Rus­sian Air Force.

Ac­cord­ing to a com­pany spokesper­son, “Yak-130 new gen­er­a­tion com­bat trainer pro­vides top-class pi­lots train­ing to han­dle Rus­sian and for­eign-made com­bat air­craft of the “4+” and “5” gen­er­a­tions. Cur­rently IRKUT Corp. is work­ing on im­prove­ments to Yakovlev Yak-130 com­bat jet trainer that may turn it into a light at­tack air­craft. The first stage of mod­erni­sa­tion in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of an in­flight re­fu­elling sys­tem and op­tronic pod. In the next stage, de­sign­ers plan to equip the air­craft with radar. The radar in­stal­la­tion will pro­vide the Yak-130 with tar­get de­tec­tion for airto-ground mis­siles.”

He adds, “We hope that the IAF will be in­ter­ested in the Yak-130 new gen­er­a­tion com­bat trainer as well. The Yak-130 of­fer for the IAF will in­clude li­cence pro­duc­tion as it was planned in 2008.”

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