Meet Russia’s Yak-130, the Killer Light-Combat Jet You Never Heard of (Until Now)

    TNI Staff


    And it has Italian DNA. 

    Developed in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Yakovlev Yak 130 is one of the best advanced trainer and light combat aircraft available on the international defense market.

    The requirements for the aircraft were originally laid down during the late 1980s for a new trainer to replace the Soviet Air Force’s massive fleet of Czech-developed Aero L-29 Delfín and L-39 Albatros jet trainers. Five designs including the Sukhoi S-54, Myasishchev M-200, Mikoyan MiG-AT, and Yakovlev Yak-UTS were submitted. However, by the time of the final disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, only the Mikoyan and Yakovlev designs remained under consideration. With a newly independent Russia in an economic and social meltdown, funding was scarce and development proceeded slowly.

    In fact, while the Yakovlev design bureau had more or less completed the basic design of the Yak-130 by 1993, the funding situation forced the company to look for outside investment even though the Russian Air Force selected its jet for continued development. As such, Yakovlev entered into a partnership agreement to co-develop and market the Yak-130 with Italian airframer Aermacchi that same year. As development continued, the first Yak-130D test aircraft made its maiden flight from the Gromov airfield on April 25, 1996.

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