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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Irkut Plans Yak-130 Sensor Upgrade

RIA Novosti

12:37 18/07/2012

IRKUTSK, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - 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 on Wednesday.

"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.

Fedorov said Irkut would be ready to carry out a previousy signed contract with Syria for delivery of the Yak-130, if and when political approval was given. Russia has a $550-million contract with Syria for the delivery of 36 Yak-130s.

"We'll be ready to fulfil the contract when we get an indication from the government," he said.

Last week, on the sidelines of the Farnborough Air Show in Britain, the deputy head of Russia's military-technicial cooperation commission, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, said Russia had decided to suspend the Yak-130 contract to Syria while the country was in a state of internal conflict.

“Until the situation stabilizes, we will not deliver any new weapons [to Syria],” he said.

Irkut will also 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.

Irkut has previously delivered Su-30 MKM multirole fighter aircraft to Malaysia.

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