Celebrating its first export order–to Algeria–the Yak-130 is displayed here at Farnborough International as a multirole advanced trainer that can also be employed to destroy ground and some aerial targets when frontline fighter bombers and strike aircraft are not available. A subsidiary of Irkut Corp., Yakovlev (Hall 1 Stand E8) is to supply the Algerian air force with 16 of its advanced jet trainers as part of a $7.5 billion package that includes 36 MiG-29MT fighters, 20 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter bombers and affordable defense systems. Deliveries to Algeria begin in 2008 and as it is a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue program for joint exercises, their Yak-130s will presumably be equipped accordingly.
Designed for basic and advanced training, the Yak-130 can be used for delivering up to 80 percent of the skills required by the military pilot training program. This reduces the number of aircraft types required and therefore the time needed for learning to fly other trainers, while considerably simplifying pilot combat training. Nine hard points can carry up to three metric tons of ordnance, enabling top-class pilots to receive training at a minimal cost. The Yak-130 aircraft is a key component of a training system, which includes integrated independent monitoring, computer-furnished classrooms, navigational and special-purpose simulators.
First flown 10 years ago, the Yak-130 was designed to replace Russian air force’s L-29 and L-39 jet trainers and for some time became a joint venture with Aermacchi. However, collaboration ended as the Italian company continued development of the M-346 (also here at Farnborough) as a separate venture.
The Yak-130 is fitted with a digital fly-by-wire system with four-fold redundancy, which simulates control algorithms in all modern fighters. This, along with the aerodynamic design of the aircraft and the powerplant’s performance, enables pilots to quickly learn how to control all modes of modern combat aircraft such as Su-30 and MiG-29 as well as their foreign counterparts.
The cockpit instrumentation for each crewmember includes three multifunction full-color liquid crystal displays (LCDs) measuring six-by-eight inches. The front cockpit features head-up display and can be equipped with a helmet-mounted target designation system. Avionics open type architecture allows integration of new equipment.
In April 2002, the Yak-130 was chosen as the main aircraft type for basic and advanced training of the Russian air force pilots and 12 of these aircraft are in series production at the Nizhniy Novgorod Sokol plant. The first Yak-130s are scheduled to go into service on completion of state flight trials involving three aircraft.
Intensive flight tests have confirmed the main tactical characteristics of the aircraft and weapon release trials have started. The delivery of this batch of aircraft will be completed in 2008.
It is estimated that the Russian air force has a requirement for around 250 Yak-130s and with production now underway, Irkut is aiming to secure more export sales, particularly from countries equipped with Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters.