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Belarus signs up for next batch of Yak-130 trainers

Irkut has received a contract to supply Belarus with a second batch of four Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainers, with the commitment to increase the nation's inventory of the type to eight. The follow-on order, which covers deliveries during 2016, was signed during the MAKS air show in Moscow on 26 August.

Belarus placed its first Yak-130 order in 2013, with the four aircraft delivered in April 2015. In Belarus air force service, the Yak-130 can prepare pliots to operate its RAC MiG-29 fighters and Sukhoi Su-25 ground-attack aircraft. Flightglobal's Fleets Analyzer database records these as totalling 3 7 and 68 aircraft, respectively.

"Mastering of [the] Yak-130 by personnel at Lida air base is scheduled by the end of this year," notes the service's chief, Maj Gen Oleg Dvigalev.

Other current operators of the Yak-130 are Algeria and Russia, with the type also on order for Bangladesh and Syria. The twin-engined type can also be employed as a light combat aircraft, with a useful payload of 3,000kg (6,600lb). At the show, Irkut for the first time exhibited the type with a laser rangefinder installed, to support the use of air-to-surface weapons.

James Drew

Source: Flight International, 8-14 september, p.21

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