Algerian Air Force Yak-130A: from a trainer towards a light combat aircraft
Up to the end of 2011 the Algerian Air Force will get from Russia a batch of Yak-130 trainer-combat aircraft. Since April 2011 these planes had been used by the Russian Air Force for training future pilots of combat aviation. The pilots, who at the moment undertake an active phase of flying program, speak in favor of high maneuverability, stability and controllability of the aircraft.
Algeria has ordered these state-of-the-art trainer-combat planes in order to have a high-quality training of Su-30MKI(A)'s pilots. Both planes are manufactured at production facilities of IRKUT Corp. Algerian pilots have already completed their training in Russia and nowadays make preparations for getting new aircraft at home.
This way Russia has taken the lead over its main competitors on a wide market of subsonic jet trainer-combat aircraft for advanced training. An expected growth of the market is reasoned by the fact that the trainers of previous generation (like the British Hawk) in their characteristics lag behind considerably after fighters of «4+» and «5» generations.
Consumers expect from trainer-combat aircraft of new generation a higher maneuverability and thrust-to-weight ratio, capability of flight at high angle of attack, IT software of the pilot's cockpit.
The Yak-`130's real competitor in the niche of subsonic trainer was developed on the base of the Yak-AEM-346 technology demonstrator, which was worked out in mid 90s by Yakovlev DB (nowadays it is called "Yakovlev Engineering Center" of IRKUT Corp.) with the participation of Italian specialists. Experts believe that this competitor is characterized by a bigger price, more moderate combat characteristics and includes a considerable part of US-made components in its construction.
Russian Air Force requirements for more than 250 aircraft
The armament program of the Russian AF envisages a purchase of the considerable batch of Yak-130. The contract is expected to be sign-up till the end of 2011. The Russian Air Force's complete requirements in the trainer are assessed as 250- 300 aircraft.
Alexei Fedorov, CEO, IRKUT Corp, opines that the enhancing of the Yak-130's combat performances will seriously expand its market. He says that many countries, who are involved in local conflicts or anticipating such potential development, are keen to have in their inventory attack plane, which is armed with three tons of armory and capable to use guided weaponry.
Nowadays Yak-130 is fitted for using guided bombs with caliber up to 500 kg, aerial bombs and rockets. For engaging air targets, Yak-130 is armed with the R-73 short-range guided missiles with up to 20 km range of engaging targets.
For enhancing the Yak-130's armory an option of its equipment with the optic-electronic aiming system is being considered. It will enable to use thermal-imaging and laser weaponry. As Mr. Fedorov says, on the next stage of the trainer's development, the radar may be installed. Combat capabilities of Yak-130 could be enhanced by installing the in-flight refueling system.
Experts believe that light combat aircraft will be in demand because of increasing number of low-intensity conflicts and anti-terrorist operations worldwide. Being equipped with modern aiming systems, these aircraft will be efficient enough for fighting helicopters, transport planes and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Source: 11 Nov 2011 - Elena Fedorova / JSC IRKUT Corporation - Frédéric Aragon /Aero3A agency (http://www.zawya.com)
Photo: Algerian Air Force Yak-130A (http://imageshack.us)