On 23 January 2012, the Kommersant newspaper in Russia reported that Russia and Syria had signed an agreement to sell the latter 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer aircraft. The deal was valued at $550-million. Negotiations for sale were reported by Kommersant to have begun in December 2011. The United States, already critical of reported arms shipments to Syria, at the time experiencing a major uprising and resulting crackdown, said that it would look for clarification and confirmation about the sale.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said on 09 July 2012 that Russia will not deliver any new types of weapons or sign any military contracts with Syria until the situation there stabilizes. “Russia, as well as other countries, is concerned by the situation in Syria,” he said. “We are not talking about new arms supplies to that country.... Until the situation stabilizes we will not deliver any new weapons [to Syria].” He said in particular that Russia will not supply Yak-130 combat training aircraft to Syria until the situation there settles down.
The Yakovlev Yak-130 is an advanced military aircraft trainer. A 2-seat tandem intermediate and advanced jet trainer, the aircraft was designed to fulfill the Russian Air Force UTS portion of the UTK system (the Yak-56, a modernised Yak-54 was expected to handle basic training). The Yak-130 was designed to fulfill a Soviet/Russian requirement for a new generation trainer supplanting the widely used L-29 and L-39 Albatros.
Yak-130 combat trainer is a dual use aircraft. Its design, systems and avionics allow handling various types of guided and non-guided weapons. The maximum external load on eight under wing and one under fuselage stations is up to 3 000 kg, including weapons, auxiliary fuel tanks, weapon guidance, electronic intelligence and electronic countermeasures pods. Yak-130 exceeds existing and prospective overseas trainers and combat trainer aircraft by its key operational and technical characteristics, price and training efficiency.
Simplicity of the structure and high reliability of the airframe, power plant and aircraft systems, long service life and full self-sufficiency of the aircraft as well as its high maintainability together with low life cycle cost and high flight performance provide high-quality pilot training in the shortest possible time and meet different military challenges. Yak-130 features classical configuration of a monoplane with mid-mounted swept wings and a tandem two-seat cockpit. Specific design of the leading-edge wing extensions and air intake provide for stable and controllable flight at angles of attack up to 40 degrees. High thrust-to-weight ratio (0.81) enables the aircraft to withstand significant operational g-loads and ensures excellent take-off and rate-of-climb characteristics. Other important features of the combat trainer, including protection of air intakes by the landing gear designed for operation from natural-surfaced airfields and excellent take-off and landing characteristics permit operation of the aircraft from small rough airfields.
As the Yak-130 has to perform maneuvers typical of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters, Yakovlev chose a moderately swept wing that made it possible to fly at angles of attack up to 35 degrees. To improve takeoff and landing characteristics, the aircraft had been equipped with leading-edge slats and 3-position Fowler flaps. All-moving tailplane and wing high-lift devices permitted flight at large angles of attack. Perfect aerodynamic configuration is combined with a full-authority 3-channel 4-time redundant fly-by-wire system with a hazardous mode restriction facility.
The Yak-130 is powered by two ?I-222-25 turbofan engines each having 2,500 kg thrust manufactured by FSUE “Omsk Engine Association n/a P.I. Baranov” [or two RD-35 turbofans each 2,200 kilogram-force, developed under an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Slovakia], which provide better takeoff/landing characteristics on soil airfields compared to those of similar aircraft, and feature good fuel efficiency. In addition, high thrust-to-weight ratio provides for maneuvers at large angles of attack with speeds never lower than a minimum permissible level. The aircraft also features an auxiliary power unit.
The Yak-130 next generation jet trainer developed by Yakovlev design bureau won approval of the Russian air force' leading flight test institute. The aircraft demonstrated its high flight performance, proving that it fully complied to the specification. In particular, the aircraft demonstrated stable and controllable flight at high alpha (up to 42 degrees), a unique future for airplanes of its class.
The Yak-130 is able to provide quality training for trainee pilots, enabling them to master in a short time flying on any forth- or fifth-generation fighter, including the Su-30 and MiG-29, Mirage, Harrier, F-15, F-16, Eurofighter, F-22, and F-35. It is the only trainer available anywhere whose aerodynamic layout is similar to that of modern agile fighters. The effective wing with high-lift devices, extensive root extensions, and all-moveable stabilizer allow aerobatics in a wide angle-of-attack spectrum. The fly-by-wire flight control system with redundancy factor of four allows, for training purposes, changes in stability and controllability parameters of the airplane accoring to these of a simulated aircraft type ("re-programming"), while also serving as an active flight safety system.
The crew is housed in a two-seat tandem cabin fitted with ejection seats. Yak-130 is equipped with integrated fly-by-wire control system allowing, for training purposes, to change the stability and controllability characteristics depending on the simulated aircraft and perform functions of an automatic control system and active flight safety system. The aircraft can use its integrated radar or an electro-optical station. The aircraft cockpit is equipped with electronic displays and indicators completely identical in layout to those of fifth-generation aircraft. Each aircraft cabin has electronic indication based on three multifunctional LCD displays (6 x 8 inches) without electro-mechanical instruments.
Combat training on the Yak-130 includes simulated and real firing with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bomb dropping, gun firing, mastering use of the airplane's on-board self-protection systems. Onboard attack simulation system provides for simulation of air combat; missile launching; self-defense activation under enemy missile attack and electronic countermeasures; simulation of ground target attacks; release of bombs; gunfire and other training exercises. Yak-130 avionics complex complies with MIL-STD-1553 standards, making it possible to install new equipment without major redesign. The instructor can set and control "target behavior" from its seat in the aircraft. The automated on-board diagnostics and control system makes the aircraft easy to operate and maintain.
Fuel is contained in one fuselage tank and two wing tanks. It is also possible to install two under wing auxiliary tanks. A flight refueling system can also be installed for training purposes. The airframe has a design lifetime of 10,000 flight hours and 20,000 flight cycles during a calendar lifetime of 30 years. The airplane can operate from unpaved airfields.
Russian aircraft maker Irkut is planning a sensor-package upgrade program for the Yak-130 advanced jet trainer, including the installation of radar and electro-optical systems, Irkut head Alexei Fedorov said in July 2012. "We plan to 'grow' the capabilities of this aircraft, fitting a radar and electro-optical, thermal and laser systems," Fedorov said. The upgrades are primarily to enable the aircraft to be used for advanced weapon training, he said, as well as combat roles. "Increasing the Yak-130's combat potential also allows it be potentially used in local conflict situations," he said. The Yak-130 is an advanced jet trainer, suitable for converting pilots to flying advanced fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft. It has advanced "glass cockpit" multifunction cockpit displays, and is highly maneuverable.
The aircraft is currently in production for the Russian Air Force, and a number of export customers including Algeria. The deputy head of Russia's military-technicial cooperation commission, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, said in July 2012 that Irkut will take part in a Malaysian tender for delivery of 18 advanced jet trainer aircraft which is likely to be announced later this year. Irkut has an advantage in that competition, Fedorov claimed, because Russia has previously delivered aircraft to that state and "we have an after-sales system there," he said. "We also intend to improve our offer with an offset program, and technology transfer," he said.
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