Moscow: The Russian Air Force is planning to commission over 200 Yak-130 combat trainers, its commander said at the beginning of the week.
"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 trainer for fourth and fifth generation fighters and also as a light strike aircraft. 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. "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.
According to Russian sources, 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 weapons.
When inducted, the new aircraft will replace the L-39 Albatross trainer currently in service with the Russian Air Force.