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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Air Force to procure new Yak-130 trainers

RIA Novosti

21/05/2007 15:30 MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Air Force is planning to commission over 200 Yak-130 combat trainers, the Air Force commander said Monday.

"The Russian Air Force has selected its [future] combat trainer, namely the Yak-130," the new Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Alexander Zelin said. "We will need over 200 aircraft [of this type]."

The Yak-130 single-seat aircraft can be used as a light strike aircraft or as a trainer for fourth and fifth generation fighters. With a production line launched in May 2003, the plane is also being marketed for export.

"It is an excellent combat trainer with superior performance features," Zelin said, adding that the plane is now undergoing joint state tests.

"There are still some problems with the engines, but I think we will receive the final assessment on this aircraft by the end of the year," the commander said.

On July 26, 2006, a Yak-130 crashed in the Ryazan Region, about 150 miles southeast of Moscow, after a failure in the flight control system. But the Russian Defense Ministry later reaffirmed its plans to buy new Yak-130 planes regardless of the crash.

The Yak-130 is a highly maneuverable aircraft with an extended range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and a maximum speed of 1,060 km/h (600 mp/h) in level flight. It can carry a combat payload of up to 3,000 kg (6,600 pounds), consisting of a variety of Russian and Western developed weapons.

The new aircraft will replace the L-39 Albatros trainer currently in service with the Russian Air Force.

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