Yakolev Yak-130 Light Combat Aircraft for Vietnam

 In ASEAN, GDI, Russia, Defense, Air

MOSCOW/HANOI: Vietnam has signed a $350 mil­lion deal for the pro­cure­ment of advanced multi-pur­pose jet train­er air­craft from Russia, reports from Moscow said.

The con­tract covers at least 12 Yak-130 jet train­er air­craft, busi­ness daily Vedomosti quoted Russian defence indus­try exec­u­tives as saying. They did not indi­cate when the air­craft would be deliv­ered to Vietnam.

Intended for train­ing pilots of advanced fight­er air­craft, the Yak-130 can also be equipped with air-to-sur­face and other weapons to turn it into a light combat air­craft.

Vietnam would be the sixth coun­try to import the Yak-130, accord­ing to Vedomosti on the deal which was inked late last year.  Russia has pre­vi­ous­ly sold the jets to Algeria, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Belarus. It would be the third Southeast Asian coun­try to oper­ate the type, which has also attract­ed the inter­est of other coun­tries in the region includ­ing Malaysia, which is look­ing at get­ting new light combat air­craft.

The jet train­er con­tract paves the way for the pur­chase of more advanced combat air­craft from Russia, includ­ing the Su-30SM and the Su-35, mil­i­tary expert and Arms Exports mag­a­zine editor-in-chief Andrei Frolov was cited as saying in the Jan 29 report.

Russia is the biggest arms sup­pli­er to Vietnam and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s defence assets com­prise Russian-made fight­er jets, naval sur­face ves­sels and sub­marines, accord­ing to TASS news agency. The air­craft is mar­ket­ed for export by Yakovlev, an Irkut com­pa­ny, and by Rosoboronexport.

Backed by a boom­ing econ­o­my which is cur­rent­ly the fastest grow­ing in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has been one of the world’s most active arms importers in the region in recent years. This is  amid China’s increas­ing­ly aggres­sive ter­ri­to­r­i­al claims in the South China Sea, where the neigh­bors have long-stand­ing rival claims.

The Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF) oper­ates 22 Yak-52 and 34 L‑39C/Z for train­ing pur­pos­es although the status of ser­vice­able air­craft is not known. The VPAF has announced its inten­tion to set up a new divi­sion ded­i­cat­ed to Yak-130 sub­son­ic advanced train­er and light fight­er. It appears they are going to be equipped with air-to-sur­face weapons includ­ing guided mis­siles and bombs. It was also report­ed that the new air­craft will be assigned to the 915th avi­a­tion train­ing reg­i­ment.

The Yak-130 (NATO report­ing name: Mitten) is a sub­son­ic two-seat advanced jet train­er and light fight­er orig­i­nal­ly devel­oped by Yakovlev and Aermacchi. It has also been mar­ket­ed as a poten­tial light attack air­craft. Development of the plane began in 1991 and the maiden flight was con­duct­ed on 25 April 1996. In 2002, it won a Russian gov­ern­ment tender for train­ing air­craft and entered ser­vice with the Russian Air Force in 2009. As an advanced train­ing air­craft, the makers said that the Yak-130 is able to repli­cate the char­ac­ter­is­tics of sev­er­al 4+ gen­er­a­tion fight­ers as well as the fifth-gen­er­a­tion Sukhoi Su-57. It can also per­form light-attack and recon­nais­sance duties, car­ry­ing a combat load of 3,000 kg.

Source: Asian Defence Journal

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