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Belarussian Yak-130s

Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut Corp has delivered four Yakovlev Yak-130 jet trainers ordered by the Belarussian MoD. The first, wearing the serial '71' (c/n, was transported on April 14 in a partially disassembled state by an II-76MD transport aircraft from Irkutsk to the 116th Attack Air Base at Lida in Belarus.

The other three had all been delivered by April 27, when an induction ceremony was held for the type. Aircraft '71' took to the air for the first time on February 27, with '72' following on March 15, '73' on March 27 and '74' on April 6. The newly-delivered Yak-130s will be operated in the advanced training role, supplementing and eventually replacing the L-39Cs currently used, which were procured secondhand from Ukraine in 2005-2006.

During the Yak-130 acceptance ceremony, Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Maj Gen Oleg Dvigalev, said there are plans to order four more. I le also indicated that further Yak-130 orders are likely to be placed after 2020, when the service life of the current L-39C fleet is due to expire.

Alexander Mladenov

Source: Air International, June, 2015, p.20

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