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Universalnye Trenirovki Kompleks [UTK]
Universal Training Complex

In 1961 the Czech-made L-29 jet trainer was selected over the Soviet Yak-30 and Polish Iskra in a competition for the future trainer for the Warsaw Pact air forces. The Czech-made trainers became the mainstay of the air force academies in many countries. In 1974, the L-29 was superceded by the more-advanced L-39, which was powered by the Soviet-built AI-25TL turbofan jet engine. By the time the Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1989, the Soviet Air Force had had about a thousand L-39 in its inventory. In the early 1990s, the Czech Republic ceased to supply new aircraft and spares.

With the in-service trainers growing old, and their service life nearing expiry due to their being used heavily, a replacement was needed. The fourth-generation Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters had radically novel flight characteristics, and the L-39 was less able to provide adequate training to advanced fighters' pilots.

These considerations prompted the Soviet Air Force in 1990 to begin the development of a new tactical flight crew trainer. The need for replacing the L-39 with a brand-new trainer was voiced by the Soviet Air Force's commander-in-chief, Air Marshal Yefimov, on 20 April 1990. In the summer 1990, the first official document was issued.

The resolution by the State Military Industrial Commission, dated 25 June 1990, tasked the Mikoyan design bureau with developing the future trainer. The specifications requirements was approved in October 1990.

The new aircraft was to be powered by two jet engines, have a landing speed of within 170km/h (92kt), run and roll measuring no greater than 500 meters (1,640ft), the ability to operate from unprepared airfields, a ferry range of 2,500km (l,350nm) and a thrust-to-weight ration of 0.6-0.7. Reprogrammable stability and controllability of the aircraft was to enable training pilots from all branches of the Air Force. The trainer was also required to be made of only Russian parts. According to Air Force estimates, at least 1,200 advanced trainers were needed to replace the L-39 fleet. The first new trainers were to be received by users in 1994.

To reduce technical risk and obtain the best aircraft, the military called for a trainer aircraft competition among major Soviet aircraft developers. In January 1991, specifications requirements for a trainer for future tactical aircraft pilots were sent to MiG, Sukhoi, Yakovlev and Myasishchev. On 25 November 1991, Air Force CINC Col.-Gen. Pyotr Deynekin ordered a commission set up to review the conceptual designs submitted by the four bidders. The outcome of the tender was to be made known on 15 January 1992.

Requirements that were put forward before the designers:

  • ensure high flight safety, including during landings at high speeds;
  • The TCB should be universal: training and education of pilots could be carried out at each stage of training of flight personnel, including initial training and advanced training courses;
  • the possibility of providing comprehensive training for pilots. Flights on the TCB should alternate with classes in training classes, on ground simulators. In the future, a training complex (UTK) should be built on the basis of the TCB;
  • the ability to use TCB for training various types of pilots. This can be achieved by reprogramming the engine and aircraft control system, thanks to which the aircraft will be able to simulate a flight with varying degrees of static longitudinal stability, different throttle response and thrust ratio;
  • the aircraft should be equipped with modern information display systems, which were similar to the display systems of promising combat aircraft;
  • simplicity in ground handling and operation, low fuel consumption;
  • the possibility of understaffing with weapons systems, which was mainly demanded by foreign customers;
  • the ability to modify the aircraft to full-fledged combat versions, which in terms of armament and sighting system could be compared with attack aircraft, fighter-bomber and air force fighters.

Rather loose specifications requirements caused the bidders' different approaches to resolving the same problem. Each developer offered a concept of the complex as a whole and an aircraft in particular. In July 1992, the Air Force scientific and technical committee concluded that: "The trainer's initial designing shall be conducted on the competitive basis by the Yakovlev design bureau in cooperation with the Myasishchev experimental plant and Mikoyan design bureau." But the Air Force awarded only two contracts in late 1992 - one to Yakovlev and the other to Mikoyan. They were to submit their initial designs in the fourth quarter of 1993.

The MiG-AT is a direct-wing aircraft, and this is due to its aerodynamic capabilities. It cannot fly at high speeds and large angles of attack, but it also has advantages. The advantage of the direct wing is that it gives a higher lift coefficient at lower speeds, it has a smaller turn radius, it allows you to flip at a lower height. And the swept wing, like the Yak-130, makes it possible to fly with large angles of attack and use the increased M (Mach) numbers for the flight.

The mass of the MiG-AT is slightly less than that of the Yak-130, and as a combat variation, it lagged slightly behind its "brother" in terms of thrust-weight ratio. Nevertheless, since a bet was made on the electronic control system, the MiG-AT's controllability characteristics could be adjusted as would be necessary for the training of cadets.

Also, the aircraft of the Sukhoi S-54 Design Bureau and the Myasishchev Design Bureau M-200 participated in the competition. Aircraft design began in 1991 and was completed in September 1993. In the same 1993, Aermacchi (Italy) was involved in the project for financial reasons, which at the final stage of development departed from participation in the project.

The MiG-AT lost to the Yak-130 in a tender to select the main combat trainer of the Russian Air Force, after which work on it was curtailed. On April 10, 2002, the Yak-130 was declared the winner of the competition for a combat training aircraft for the Russian Air Force. The first flight of the Yak-130 made April 25, 1996 in Ramenskoye, the pilot - Andrei Sinitsyn. In 2003, the production of two prototypes of the Yak-130. On April 30, 2004, the first prototype Yak-130 manufactured by the Sokol aircraft plant - the second flying Yak-130 - made its first flight. In April 2009, the first stage of state testing of the Yak-130 with the basic armament was completed. State joint tests of the aircraft were completed in 2009 - the act of completion of state tests was signed on December 25, 2009.

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Page last modified: 25-10-2021 17:30:09 ZULU