Irkut’s aircraft and advanced pilot training
Irkut Corporation have expanded the deliveries of one of its bestsellers, the Yak- 130 supersonic combat trainer aircraft, across the world. In December 2017, the first six aircraft of this type were inducted into the Myanmar Air Force. With this, the number of countries operating the Yak-130 now is five, which includes Russia, Myanmar, Algeria, Belarus and Bangladesh.
According to the Russian MoD, the Russian Air Force currently operates more than 80 Yak-130s which are slowly replacing their outdated L-39 jets. Irkut has continued to deliver a long- term contract of Yak130s to the aviation training centres of the Russian Air Force. “In terms of its flight and performance characteristics at subsonic speeds, Yak-130 is closer to the latest ultramanoeuverable fighters of the Russian Air Force such as the Su-30SM and Su-35.”
The Yak-130 is equipped with a wide range of weapons weighing up to 3000 kg, that includes R-73E short-range missiles, precision air bombs with the KAB-500Kr guidance system and a wide variety of unguided aircraft weapons, enabling the aircraft to take on various targets at the same time.
Irkut is also working on increasing the combat performance of the aircraft. At the MAKS-2017 airshow, the Yak-130 was demonstrated with a modernised structure that enables the installation of a laser range finder. It is equipped with ‘Talisman-NT’ which is designed to significantly improve survival rate of the Yak-130 while carrying out strike missions. It should be noted that a number of Yak-130s operators also use this aircraft for combat missions. For example, Andrei Ravkov, the Belorussian Minister of Defence, stated that the Belarussian Air Force uses the trainer as a “light attack aircraft.”
While developing this aircraft, the designers relied on the great experience of ‘ Yakovlev DB’ ( part of the Irkut Corporation) in development of light training aircraft. Since 1935, more than 22,000 training piston aircraft (UT-2, Yak11, Yak-18, Yak-52) have been produced in Russia and abroad. The new ‘Yak’, like its predecessors, is focused on fulfilling the requirements of wide range of customers, both public and private.
The Yak-152, which is currently in flight testing mode, has higher capabilities than most of the existing competitors. With maximum takeoff weight of 1490 kg, the aircraft is fitted with a diesel engine of 500 hp which operates on aviation kerosene. The Yak-152 is designed for over 10,000 flight hours and is a rugged design.
A unique feature of the Yak-152 is the SKS-94M2-152 ultra-light catapult system, which is a newly installed technology for emergency escape. The escape system is triggered when the handle of the bailout is pulled, the pilot shoots the container with a parachute stacked in it, allowing for the breaking of the cockpit glass and opens the parachute within 0.2 seconds.